Curious South Central Oregon Coast Landmarks
(Florence, Oregon) – At the front door to the south coast, and the back door to the central Oregon coast, upper Lane County is a varied mix of clandestine, even forbidden beaches, soaring rock structures, and beaches that are a blend of both (photo above: Ocean Beach Picnic Ground).
There’s a 25-mile stretch of Highway 101 that meanders between Yachats and Florence, traipsing up and down gentle grades and the occasional not-so-gentle curve, with most of the way showing off dramatic ocean vistas.
This drama is previewed just as you head south, out of Yachats, and a massive headland with a high viewpoint suddenly dominates the view. It doesn’t take long, and a few scary curves in the road later, you’re at that untamed view spot. It’s quite the plummet from here, down to crusty, basalt rocks that are walloped by humongous waves.
Continue down the road and you’ll discover spots like Strawberry Hill, which contains a bundle of boulders and odd rocky structures to amble around on, as well as a stretch of sand that contain more basalt formations, forming a kind of labyrinth of craggy spots and tide pools.
Then, to one direction, this access seems to have its own bay, where sand and structures once again take center stage. The other direction features a long stretch of stone-covered beach that wanders on beyond the golden cliffs and out of sight, making it a bit of a mystery.
Ocean Beach Picnic Ground looks like it sits on a towering bluff, but it’s just the sign. Meander down this tiny road to a small parking area with a handful of benches, for – you guessed it – picnics by the sea. For many years, there was no official beach access as it had been washed away by massive tides. Now, it’s been rebuilt, and a stone stairway lets you down to the little bulb-shaped headland that has a curious dent in it (which serves as a place to get away from the wind).
Even on really calm days, the ocean can create remarkable sights at the very tip of this promontory (seen at the photo at the top).
Stonefield Beach is indeed aptly named, as it is literally made up of a stone-covered beach; one with wispy, loose sands, however, that are a bit more sand dune-like at times. Just beyond this esoterically beautiful beach is a small river that flows out to sea, and another beach covered thick in large, polished rocks.
Not far from Ocean Beach Picnic Ground is the tiny stop of Tokatee Klootchman. Look to the north, and if you’re well versed in bad movies, you’ll recognize a house that was part of the set for a goofy horror film made in this area back in the 80’s. They also used Heceta Beach extensively as well as the nearby tunnel. But this house was the home to one of the characters, which was ravaged periodically by some menacing native spirit (which was never explained, but whatever).
A ways south of Tokatee is a high bluff where dramatic views explode in front of you. Look to the south (below), and you’ll see the long, winding stretch of no man’s land filled with secret beaches you can’t access (except maybe by some of the lodgings perched on these cliffs). It’s about two miles of empty beaches and untouched territory until you get to Ocean Beach Picnic Ground.
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