Cathedral Tree is a tucked-absent treasure in the urban forests of Astoria

People buzzed about the Astoria Column on a sunny summertime morning in September. With the column at this time closed thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, men and women stood beneath it staring up, ambled about the hilltop overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River and posed for photos just before the expansive views.

With so much else to see at the Astoria Column, it’s understandable that so quite a few could forget the other towering ponder discovered a brief hike away.

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The Cathedral Tree is a massive Sitka spruce, claimed to be some 300 yrs previous and quietly thriving in the city forest over Astoria. And though the hike begins in the Astoria Column parking large amount, the outdated tree draws significantly less notice than the human-produced beacon just uphill.

Cathedral Tree

The Cathedral Tree is 300-yr-aged Sitka spruce, identified in the forest on the north Oregon coast. A hiking trail to the towering tree commences at the Astoria Column parking ton.Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Cathedral Tree

The Cathedral Tree is 300-12 months-outdated Sitka spruce, identified in the forest on the north Oregon coastline. A climbing path to the towering tree begins at the Astoria Column parking ton.Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Cathedral Tree

The Cathedral Tree is 300-yr-old Sitka spruce, uncovered in the forest on the north Oregon coastline. A hiking path to the towering tree starts at the Astoria Column parking ton.Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

The forest all around the Cathedral Tree has modified in recent decades. A huge coastal gale in 2007 introduced hurricane drive winds to Astoria, uprooting a lot of trees as it tore alongside the coastline. The Cathedral Tree alone remained, while several of its higher branches were being dropped to the storm.

It’s not clear exactly how tall the aged tree in fact is, approximated to be roughly 200 toes tall, even though it remains one particular of the most extraordinary Sitka spruce trees on the Oregon coast. Apart from its peak, the tree characteristics massive purely natural openings near its foundation, where by it evidently grew up close to a nurse log that has considering the fact that rotted away.

The Cathedral Tree joins other major tree sights on the Oregon coastline, which include the Octopus Tree at Cape Meares, the Large Spruce at Cape Perpetua and the substantial cedar close to Rockaway Seaside.

The limited Cathedral Tree Path potential customers about a 50 % mile to the tree from a trailhead in close proximity to the entrance to the Astoria Column parking lot, primary by means of a dense, quiet forest previously mentioned a residential neighborhood. Quite a few other trails department off, but signals (both equally formal and unofficial) will level you to the namesake tree.

Cathedral Tree

The Cathedral Tree is 300-calendar year-previous Sitka spruce, observed in the forest on the north Oregon coastline. A hiking path to the towering tree starts at the Astoria Column parking ton.Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Astoria Column

A summer months early morning at the Astoria Column on the north Oregon coastline. The 125-foot column was erected atop a hill overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River in 1926. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Astoria Column

A summertime early morning at the Astoria Column on the north Oregon coast. The 125-foot column was erected atop a hill overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River in 1926. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Officially, the Cathedral Tree Trail operates in between the Astoria Column and a small community trailhead on nearby Irving Avenue. Though commencing on Irving avoids shelling out the $5 parking payment at the column, there’s very small place there to park properly. In the conclude, you might just wind up driving uphill in any case.

The path alone is relatively effortless, even though there are some limited hills, as effectively as some stairs. Footing could be difficult all over uncovered roots, and some wood walkways could get slippery in the rain.

The hike is a worthwhile addition to any vacation to Astoria, in particular for people already organizing on checking out the Astoria Column. Though checking out the tower on top rated of the hill, make absolutely sure to quit by the towering tree in the forest as effectively.

The Cathedral Tree Trailhead is in the northeast corner of the Astoria Column parking whole lot. The park is open from dawn to 10 p.m. day by day at 1 Coxcomb Drive in Astoria. Parking is $5 per automobile, with parking passes great for just one yr. The inside of the Astoria Column is at this time shut since of the coronavirus pandemic.

–Jamie Hale [email protected] 503-294-4077 @HaleJamesB