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Video: N. Oregon Coast's Neahkahnie Viewpoints An Explosion of Ocean

Published 04/20/2018 at 4:16 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Video: N. Oregon Coast's Neahkahnie Viewpoints Explode in Front of You

(Manzanita, Oregon) – As you drive above Manzanita, on that curvy, lofty part of Highway 101 that stands hundreds of feet above the surf, the Oregon coast explodes in front of you. You're paradoxically still a few hundred feet below the tip of famed and brooding Neahkahnie Mountain. The Pacific Ocean is filling up the view, while on the other side that behemoth soars above and looms over all else.

This is the beginning of what's called the Neahkahnie Overlooks: the glorious viewpoints that send the mind reeling in awe. Guaranteed.

“Killer views” takes on a whole new meaning here, in this spot that is – rightly so – perhaps the most photographed locale on the Oregon coast (next to Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock).

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One after the other, these paved pullouts pop up, allowing you to park and soak in the magnificence. Each is surrounded by small stone walls, which are charming in their own right, and slightly reminiscent of old European castles.

Beside one of them, a pyramid-like rock is one of the more recognizable features of the Manzanita area – and one of the more often photographed structures on the coast. It sometimes shows up on TV commercials, especially RV ads.

The biggest of the lookouts lets you look southward as well as straight out west to the vast ocean. Unbelievable sights are regularly spotted while looking deeply into this seascape. Unusual waves dance and meander out there in the distance or even closer, sometimes colliding and making bigger waves. There are whales, sometimes lots of whales. Blobs of sunlight shine on the water and pulsate, changing shape in delightful ways. Or you'll see boats. Lots of boats at times. It's most impressive near dusk when they can be lined up like the lights of a small city on the horizon.


There's signage here at this big scenic stopover. Then there's also mysterious steps just beyond one section of the stone wall: apparently this viewpoint was different and bigger in the past.

It’s near this viewpoint where you’ll find the entrance to the hiking path up Neahkahnie Mountain, where more aerial views of this area are to be had.

That climbs up to a total of 1600 feet, making it the highest peak on the Oregon coast.

During stormier weather, this cliff top is the target of high winds, and it's not uncommon to feel them quite sternly while driving in your car. They knock you about a bit.

As you stand above all this awe-inspiring spectacle, you don’t need massive storm systems to make impressive waves below. They tend to happen on days that are simply a medium shade of unruly. It helps that the breakers have large, basalt land masses to contend with, and thus have no choice but to smack up against the rocks in a gleeful display of oceanic pyrotechnics.


Wintertime is a perfect time to catch these monsters of the surface plodding in towards the beach, however. It doesn’t have to be uncomfortably windy on the viewpoints to see these, either. Bring food to gobble in your vehicle and you have a dinner and a show.

Then, for a surreal treat, head to the Neahkahnie Overlooks at night. It'll take your eyes some time to adjust, but they do. If the sky is clear, the stars will be brilliant and immense here. Your chances of spotting a shooting star are not bad.

If you haven't visited this part of the Oregon coast yet, you might want to put it on your bucket list. There's even more to the area around the overlooks: plenty of secret sights. See these and more on this area at the Manzanita / Nehalem Bay / Rockaway Beach Virtual Tour. More photos below. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps.

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