The Mother of All Oregon Coast Viewpoints: Manzanita's Neahkahnie
(Manzanita, Oregon) – For perhaps a millennium or more it was a spiritual home to native tribes. Then when European settlers got their hooks into it, they changed the face of the mountain now known as Neahkahnie to their own needs, and created something of unequaled beauty along the Oregon coast.
The overlooks at Neahkahnie, floating above the north coast village of Manzanita, are definitely one of the more striking viewpoints along these 362 miles of coastline – if not the most spectacular. About 15 minutes from the busy hotspot of Cannon Beach, and two minutes from Manzanita itself, the overlooks sit around 500 feet above the sea, looking out over a vast vista of unforgettable skyline.
No matter what the weather, it's the first stop for shutterbugs who amble through, causing most to pull over in seconds and snap a few film or digital memories of this remarkable. Consequently, because of the stunning views and cars abruptly pulling off the road, it's the kind of place you need to be a little more cautious than usual when motoring through, no matter how cajoling the views.
A favorite for snapping pics is the daylight hours, of course, when the sun lights up all sorts of wonders, including turning the ocean a deep, inviting blue. On the right day, you can see Oceanside's Three Arch Rocks some 40 miles away, the small sea stack at Bayocean, and Rockaway Beach's Twin Rocks about 15 minutes to the south.
At night, there is still plenty to see, however. You may have to train your eyes a bit in the dark, but the ocean, the sky and the lights of Manzanita can reveal some awe-inspiring, surreal sights. It's a grand place to spot shooting stars as well.
In fact, with the right kind of camera equipment you can see a lot more up here. All sorts of new things come to light in the dark, when using long exposures.
Back during the daytime, cliffs and the mountain block the view to the north, so seeing Cannon Beach isn't possible from here. But immense, rugged basalt structures and the eye-popping massive Smuggler's Cove are visible from many areas up here.
Neahkahnie Mountain soars some 1600 feet above the world, and there are many miles of trails snaking their way around the area, even as far as Arch Cape, after some wandering through Oswald State Park. From the trailheads at Neahkahnie, the top of the mountain is about 1000 feet away.
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