Three Oregon Coast Spots with Seasonal Secrets
Published 07/05/2016 at 5:51 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) - It's amazing how the seasons can drastically change beaches on the Oregon coast. Summer and winter especially create some polar opposite situations. In winter, sand gets dredged out by storms and unique things get revealed from beneath. During summer, sand levels rise so high you can get access to things normally cut off the rest of the year. (Above: Tillicum Beach in summer).
You just never know what you'll get, season to season. Here's a look at three hotspots on the coast that change their faces in intriguing ways.
Tillicum Beach Campground. This well-maintained campground is a gem on the coast. Smack dab between Waldport and Yachats, it's a longtime favorite among those in the know. (Above: a rarely-seen ghost forest stump at Tillicum).
The campground has dozens of campsites, full amenities, and RV spots, all of which helps make this one of the coolest Forest Service campgrounds in existence. It's easy to make a beachy home away from home here.
You can count miles and miles of endless sand as one of the big attractions, accessible by a neatly kept, manmade walkway with metal railings. Once there, you'll find small dirt cliffs that sometimes form miniature coves in which to hide from the wind. You can also climb around some areas, or you may find tiny little paths ducking off into the brush for a short ways to explore.
In the winter, if sand levels get low enough, you may find some ghost forest stumps – 4,000-year-old remnants of a stand of trees frozen in time by being covered quickly by sand and sediment.
Secret Beach at Cape Falcon. If you're in the Manzanita/Arch Cape area, look for a small, obscure road on the seaward side of the highway between the Artch Cape Tunnel and Oswald West State Park. It's called Falcon Cove Road, and at its bottom is one of the more spectacular - albeit odd - beaches on the coast.
It's a cove-like area comprised mostly of sizable cobblestones which are difficult to traverse. Often, the tide carves these into strange tiers, which makes it easier to walk on. At higher tides, the waves wash over these stones and make a weird rattling noise, which has given it the nickname Magic Rocks Beach. This happens much more consistently in winter, but you'll need to stay clear of that tide and watch from above.
During summer, when the tide is decently distant from the rocks, there's a nice tract of sandy beach to stroll on, which takes you either to the garden of boulders at the north end (near the community of Arch Cape), or to a barren, surreal landscape of rocky structures at its southernmost end. At this spot, amble for about an eighth of a mile over all kinds of boulders, cobblestones and other structures that make walking a little more like climbing in some instances. It dead-ends with a series of untraversable rock structures.
In these rocky cliffs, however, can be found fossils embedded – millions of years old. This can only be found in summer.
Be extremely cautious and polite when visiting this spot, as it's surrounded by private homes.
Netarts. This one's more of a whisper rather than a secret - but it's a beautiful little one, lying near Oceanside. The main beach access is just north of its diminutive “downtown” at Happy Camp, and it's there you'll get to easily traverse
The beach here is calmer than most because it's technically part of Netarts Bay, covered by the Netarts Spit (that juts out for miles from Cape Lookout State Park). It's primarily all sand, meandering a few hundred feet to the south before it dead-ends at the bay, and wrapping around a few bends to the south a half mile or so until reaching the tiny community of Happy Camp.
The seasonal secret? If it's anything but high tide or stormy, head down to the bottom of the primary road in Netarts (turn at the general store). There, you'll find a funky little trail that meanders through the brush, eventually connecting up to a ragged, metallic stairway that's embedded in the ground and looks like it was ripped from an old seafaring vessel.
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