Four Oregon Coast Places of Wild, Hypnotizing Drama
(Oregon Coast) – Some spots along the Oregon coast will take you by surprise at times. Some hide the unexpected wonders of wild and wide-eyed sights that are thoroughly engaging – to the point of being downright hypnotic. Even frightening at times, as well.
Here's a look at four places along this shoreline that host especially crazed and chaotic crashing waves, the kind of oceanic fireworks that belie the laws of gravity as you know it, at least fairly often. At least one you won't know about, while the others have aspects you likely haven't heard of. See the links for maps and more about those spots.
Rodea Point, Depoe Bay. While the Depoe Bay area is well known for its oceanic monsters, one spot just south of town is especially incendiary. Rodea Point, under the right conditions, can create tall, towering waves that crash with startling intensity – not just visually, but the booming noises this place makes is even a bit frightful. It is probably the unsung hero of wild wave-watching spots on the Oregon coast – rather unknown.
They can reach a good 50 feet high, soaring over you.
At night, they are a thrill ride to watch. Here is a vivid quote from a 2009 article on Rodea Point at night from Oregon Coast Beach Connection:
“Enormous swells rumbled into existence less than 100 feet from the edge of the rocks. They would rise in an ominous fashion to an imposing height, making that slightly thunderous noise – and they hadn’t even hit anything yet. These were monsters. Seriously.
Then suddenly they would get frothy on top, and that line of foam would slither forward as the rumbling decreased, giving way to a tinier sound as the waves folded over on themselves, forming big curls.”
Yaquina Head, Newport. A looming lighthouse and a giant former quarry are not all the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area have to offer. Indeed, there's bundles of basalt fun to be had here, along with hiking trails, a surreal beach full of “magic rocks” and plenty of birding.
Some of the biggest thrills are the gargantuan waves that come crashing in from a distance. In these deeper waters, they haven't yet lost all of their power and those equally-massive basalt structures straight out to sea get slammed with ferocity on a regular basis. The resulting oceanic explosions can tower over the rocks they hit.
It's even a bit alarming to watch at times.
Hit the north face of the parking lot and you'll find viewpoint of bird-stained basalt structures and vast stretches of ocean and beach. This is a birding hotspot, and a funky little cove that also creates drama.
Yachats 804 Trail. The vast majority of Yachats is one jaw-dropping moment after another, really. But the 804 Trail and Smelt Sands never ceases to amaze, plus they give you a front row seat to savage sights – quite literally.
A little over half the time the tides are manic and wild here, creating some awe-inspiring spouting horn action. Sometimes, it's not too wild and you can get surprisingly close to these otherwise very dangerous watery pryotechnics. But mostly, you want to keep your distance.
You will be rewarded, however, with not just with spouting horns that fire water into the air but rocky shelves that make for constant battering ram target practice from the tides, which then can turn upwards into mesmerizing combinations and shapes.
A stunning secret: the very southern edge of Yachats, on the other side of the bay, hosts a mini-cove of incredibly powerful tidal displays as well.
Columbia River South Jetty. Part of Warrenton's Fort Stevens State Park, it's the only manmade structure on the Oregon coast that gets battered this hard. Stretching out to sea a good quarter of a mile, these boulders make for anger-inducing barriers for the waves, which then respond with soaring feats of watery tantrums. These can be 20 or 30 feet more in height at times.
It's also not a place you should be wandering, even though there's nothing to keep you from hopping onto the jetty. That's what the viewing platform is for. And one heck of a view you will get – almost guaranteed.
Also notable are the long stretches of ancient railroads that sit raised high in the air, a little bit inland. This is how the massive boulders were delivered to their places in the jetty during its construction decades ago.
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