If you’re in the vicinity of Coos Bay or North Bend and have an inkling for a pond-in-the-park experience – that being walking and picnicking near water lilies and friendly ducks – then you can stop at Mingus Park.
Offering both a loop trail around a cultivated pond and a Japanese-style garden, Mingus Park is an above-average community park (although not quite in the same league as the likes of Hendricks Park). Paved trails, old-style lamp posts, ample benches, and of course the pond and flourishing vegetation make this an inviting walking venue.
The same few runners and walkers passed my husband and I several times as they repeatedly traversed the 1/3-mile loop encircling the pond at Mingus Park in order to log their desired total mileage. I was content to alternately walk and rest, taking advantage of several benches and a picnic table, spaced at no more than 150 steps apart. Pink and white water lilies bloomed on the pond’s surface. These lily banks serve as nesting grounds for some of the local waterfowl. Ducks of several varieties and colors dotted the water and surrounding lawn. It is a pleasant place to walk.
|Terrain: Broad pavement, cracked and irregular in a few spots. Mostly level but with a gentle incline toward the north end of the loop.|
|Seating: Several benches and a few picnic tables, placed at intervals along the walkway.|
|Fee: No fee|
|Restrooms: Yes, at south end of the pond, about 150 steps from the south parking lot.|
|Directions: Both parking lots are accessed from North 10th Street in Coos Bay. It’s a bit zigzaggy to get there, so use the driving directions to provide your starting location for an accurate route.|
Nestled under a hillside forest of old cedars and other evergreens at the north end of Mingus Park, Choshi Garden was created to honor the sister city of Coos Bay: Choshi, Japan. If you’re curious about other Oregon sister cities (I was), check out Wikipedia.
Choshi Garden definitely has a different ambiance than the pond loop section of Mingus Park, but whether it is reminiscent of Japan, or merely a nod to it, I could not say (although I suspect the latter). Choshi Garden does appear to have quite a history in the Coos Bay community. Some of its past is elaborated on a plaque attached to a rock near the shiny red arced bridge separating the two areas of the park:
Choshi Bridge Renewal Project 2003 – 2006
The Morning Song Bridge across Whispering Waters is the official name of the red bridge in Choshi Garden. This beautiful bridge, commonly known as Choshi Bridge, was built in 1988 and was regarded as a community treasure. The “renewed” Choshi Bridge design retains the beauty of the old bridge and is built with steel arches, pressure treated wood and brass finials that will last for many years. Choshi Bridge was rededicated on September 16, 2007.
|Terrain: Broad pavement, a bit steeper than around the pond. Also some dirt paths, a wooden bridge, and wood slatted path.|
|Seating: A bench under the trees along the path.|
|Fee: No fee|
|Restrooms: No, they are at south end of the pond. There may be some at the building for swimming pool access by the east parking lot, but we did not check.|
|Directions: Both parking lots are accessed from North 10th Street in Coos Bay. It’s a bit zigzaggy to get there, so use the driving directions to provide your starting location for an accurate route. Choshi Garden is nearest the east parking lot.|