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A Surplus of Surprising Facts About Cape Kiwanda, N. Oregon Coast

Published 12/16/2017 at 4:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

A Surplus of Surprising Facts About Cape Kiwanda, N. Oregon Coast

(Pacific City, Oregon) – There's lots you don't know about the sweeping, dramatic icon of Pacific City: the massive Cape Kiwanda. There is much that will surprise. As you meander up and down the slopes and angular shapes carved from millions of years of wind and sea, you won't believe what's really going on around you.

There is simply a lot happening all at once here. Different surfaces of the cape create different sights and interactions with the waves and sands. It can even make different, unusual sounds. This beloved cape is crumbling at a somewhat striking rate, yet there's something hypnotically eternal about it.

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The cape's relationship to Haystack Rock will surprise you as well.

Continue on below and hit the links for the full articles, showing you a variety of wild and eye-popping facts that will cause you to look at the place a little differently – and more intently – next time. (See the Cape Kiwanda Complete Guide for further hiking, geology, and surprise facts).

Oregon Coast Surprises: Sights and Sounds of Cape Kiwanda. How many millions of years old is the charismatic Kiwanda? It's true the famed north Oregon coast formation is showing its age. Weathered and sculpted in a myriad of ways, it's now covered in massive grooves, slithering lines and wiggly cracks all over its surface. It's crumbling, too, in various spots – sometimes drastically.

Still, nothing beats exploring this intricate place, examining its nooks and crannies. But there's more than just looking around here: there's also what you hear. ....More....


Haystack Rock Up Close - Pacific City. The monolith that visually best sums up Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City. But it shouldn’t be confused with the Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach to the north. Often, as you approach Pacific City on 101 just before the junction to town, you can see this rock in the distance, appearing as if it floats in the air. ....More....

Oregon Coast Virtual Tour: Up Against Cape Kiwanda, Tide Pools, Rocky Crevices. A variety of unusual features up against Pacific City's Cape Kiwanda are well known among the legions of devotees to Pacific City and this wild and strangely shaped chunk of land.

In winter, during really heavy storms, you can actually see giant waves smash on the other side of the cape – no small feat considering it is around 50 feet or higher in some spots near its western-most end. This means those are unbelievably enormous waves. ....More....

Lodging in Pacific City in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

Geology of an Oregon Coast Icon: Sweeping Cape Kiwanda. Sometime around 18 million years ago or so, a massive area along what would eventually become the northwest United States had already been carved out by various erosional processes. About then, it started filling back up with other rock debris, primarily sandstone and similar materials. Primarily underwater or around the tide line, it formed a layer of sandstone and mudstone that was eventually named the Astoria Formation, running from the central Oregon coast up to the north coast.

This was the very beginning of the headland now known as Cape Kiwanda – the iconic headland at Pacific City that's been known for decades as one “of the most photogenic places in North America.” ....More....

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