Sixes River, Cape Blanco

Sixes River, Cape Blanco

by | May 7, 2019

The Sixes River flows about 31 miles (50 km) through coastal forests in southwestern Oregon and enters the Pacific Ocean just north of Cape Blanco, about 5 miles (8 km) west of the community of Sixes, Oregon. The Sixes watershed includes a rugged and remote region of the Klamath Mountains in the Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest north of Port Orford. The headwaters can be reached from a road that runs east along the river, and the estuary can be accessed through the state park at Cape Blanco.

The origin of the name “Sixes” has different accounts. In 1851, the river was called the “Sikhs River” after the Chinook Jargon word for “friend”. However, a more likely source of the name is from the local Kwatami Tribe, who were also called “Sik-ses-tene”, which is said to mean “people by the far north country”. The spelling “Sixes” was probably used by miners drawn to the Oregon gold rush. The current spelling was used as early as 1855 and established by the post office in 1888.

In 2009, the Copper Salmon Wilderness was designated along the north and south forks of the Elk River and the upper Middle Fork of the Sixes River. The area included 13,700 acres (5544 ha) with one of the largest stands of low-elevation old-growth forest in the U.S. and is intended to protect wildlife including salmon, steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, marbled murrelets, northern spotted owls, and Roosevelt elk. Read more here and here. Explore more of Sixes River here:

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