Oregon Coast Beach Connection - lodging, dining, news, events and more

North Oregon Coast Beach Reveals Ancient Ghost Forest Again


Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.


Secrets of the Season

North Oregon Coast Beach Reveals Ancient Ghost Forest Again

(Arch Cape, Oregon) – The mysterious chunks of wood have shown up periodically over the last few decades, sticking out of the sand like doomed creatures trying to make their last, desperate escape from a dreadful fate beneath the rest of the world. They make momentary impressions on passersby, who have no clue to the real meaning of these muted witnesses to an age practically before Mankind. They are unintentional memorials to the grandiose forest that once stood here, now reduced to twisted, tortured shapes that scream silently from another epoch.

Arch Cape Property Services. Dozens of homes in that dreamy, rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the sea.
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces, decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com 866-436-1607.

The little village of Arch Cape, on the north Oregon coast, is the latest place where some weird remnants of prehistory are showing themselves again. Ancient forests – nicknamed “ghost forests” because of their gloomy look and their age – periodically appear on parts of the coast, the most famous and regularly seen of which are the prehistoric stumps at Neskowin.

But in Arch Cape, they’re a real rarity, and likely much older than many of those that show up sometimes on the coast. Some are twisted, ragged structures that jut out of the sand in a dramatic manner. Others are tiny objects with just the tips visible. At other times, they’re long slabs of something brown; occasionally so soft and flaky their texture is a bit like cooked fish, and it’s easy to scrape off chunks of them.

Wild wave action reveals these things all across the Oregon coast, as it scours the beaches of sand and takes away layers of sand. The deeper you go, the further you’re going back in time.

“We’ve got a really weird winter around here,” said resident Bob Shaw, whose parents own Shaw’s Oceanfront B&B in Arch Cape. “They show up in winters, when the waves wash away the sand and leave a lot of rocks. Then they disappeared. But they came back a couple months ago. You should’ve seen them then. They were all over the place, and you could see a lot more of them.”

The Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun (nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies. 888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.theoceanlodge.com

That kind of sand movement is unusual for the spring, as normally winter storms bring that kind of action. This year, some areas of the coast were so heavily scoured the sand levels were as much as ten feet lower than usual.

Roger Hart is a geologist with the State of Oregon based in Newport, and is considered the foremost authority on these stumps of mystery. He’s studied them extensively over the years, and a decade ago came up with the main theories about their origin – theories that came into wide acceptance. But he later retracted those findings. Many of those in the geologist community still cling to his old theories and haven’t caught up yet.

He says these stumps are almost 4,000 years old.

“Curt Peterson and I published a radiocarbon on a sample taken from the Arch Cape stumps in 1998,” Hart said. “The age is 3,660 with an error of 70. This means these trees died at that time, were buried in sand, and have been preserved under a cover of sand until now. From the photos it appears that the stumps are more extensively exposed now than in 1998.”

Regular tourists, on the other hand, have no clue what to make of it, and often don’t even notice them. But when they do, Shaw says they’re puzzled. “They don’t know what it is,” Shaw said. “They just kind of look at them.”


THE TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.

This sort of wave action revealed similar stumps in Newport this winter – also about 4,000 years old – as well as remnants of a forest in the Hug Point (near Cannon Beach) area that could well be a whopping 80,000 years old.

Originally, one of Hart’s main theories was that many of the stumps showing up in the El Nino years of the 90’s were the result of a massive earthquake some 300 years ago that suddenly and violently dropped the ground some 25 feet or more, inundating these forests in sediment, sand, sea and water, thus preserving them.

Slab of ancient forest peeking out in the sand

Since then, Hart has retracted those findings and put forth that the Newport stumps and others were in fact more around 4,000 years old, and sand levels gradually rose to engulf and then preserve them, rather than the violent quake he theorized earlier.

“In my opinion, exposure of stumps are evidence that sand is being progressively being lost from the southern ends of littoral cells on the Oregon coast,” Hart said.

Indeed, the Arch Cape stumps are found at the bottom of Ocean View Road, about a quarter mile from the southern headland. A littoral cell is the tract of sand between headlands or major outcroppings. The littoral cell where Arch Cape sits begins at that southern headland, and runs all the way through Hug Point and Cannon Beach, until the headlands of Ecola State Park.

Tom Horning, a well reknowned geologist on the north Oregon coast, looked into the Hug Point ghost forest this winter. He believes those are about 80,000 years old, dating back to the Pleistocene era. His initial thought was that the Arch Cape ghost forest was also about the same age, partially because Arch Cape and Hug Point are just a few miles apart.

Inn at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms. Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly. Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.

“I have seen the Arch Cape stumps in the past,” Horning said. “They are buried in clays and silts with spruce cones that the trees were dropping at their time of life. Also, there are cedar stumps.

“I have been told that a forester, now deceased, who lived at Arch Cape, identified redwood cones from the same layers. If redwoods were growing here, that adds weight to the Pleistocene stump origin, because none grows here now.”

Horning also addressed how these 4,000-year-old stumps got where they are today.

“They represent a stand of forest trees that moved out onto the old beach when the land lifted up somewhat or the seas dropped, forcing the shoreline to retreat westward,” Horning said. “Now that it is coming in, the surf has exposed the stumps of the trees once again. This latter hypothesis seems to work down in the central coast."oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

Right now, the Arch Cape stumps are disappearing quickly as the weather turns nicer and the wave action lessens. Shaw led a small tour of the area and pointed out how much of one structure was visible before. Now, it’s just a patch of flat brown mystery material lying in the sand.

“This whole area was covered with these things,” Shaw said. “It was really spectacular.”

A1 Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses – from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces, beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers. Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.

D Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River. Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players; movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa, and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com. 171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.

Weiss' Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside

Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites, 1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people. Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway St.
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families. All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com

Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

Inn At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities. 4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161. www.spanishhead.com

STARFISH POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com


Prepare for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they run across your feet

Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Structures Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug Point

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Gearing Up for Summer Camping on Oregon's Coast There are dozens of campsites, providing exceptional opportunities for beachcombing and recreation

Back to Oregon Coast Beach Connection


oregon coast weather
oregon coast mileage chart & map
day trips, suggested itineraries
Oregon Coast Lodging Specials
Search BeachConnection.net's 1,000 pages
Oregon Coast Real Estate
Oregon Coast Pictures

Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history

The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches

A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca

Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway

Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town

The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City

Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses

Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks

Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale

25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders

A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes



Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.


17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.


Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the Promenade