Layered and Rugged Beauty of Strawberry Hill Wayside, Oregon Coast
(Florence, Oregon) – Somewhere between the classic rock tunes of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Blueberry Hill" lays the name of this lovely little place, but geographically it sits between Yachats and Florence on the central Oregon coast.
Strawberry Hill Wayside is indeed a place to find your thrills – in the form of tide pooling, bouncing around the beach, wildlife viewing and agate hunting, that is. It’s also a favorite for geology field trips, with all the fun and funky ancient stuff laying around.
There's a lot to this place, which is technically part of an even larger state recreation spot called Neptune State Park. There’s a cove contained here, a series of rocky ledges and objects interspersed with sandy spots. There are high vantage points, low spots for romantic walks and beachcombing, and an interesting mix of crazed waves and calmer ones.
It’s really a microcosm for this whole ultra-dramatic and varied area between Florence and Yachats – a kind of beach sampler.
It all begins with a semi-circle driveway that acts as a parking lot, including some grassy spots for lounging around and picnicking, as well as restrooms facilities. From here, you find a nice walkway down to the basalt structures that typify this spot, allowing you tall views of this diverse beach.
Look to the north and the cove stretches out in front of you, where the waves in the distance can do some stunning things as they knock against large rocky platforms. Up against the back end sits bundles of storm debris, and an area that’s walkable during all but the stormiest of conditions. This jumble of large driftwood and rocks is a reminder of the ocean’s power, however: only massive waves could have brought those heavy objects to rest there.
Just below the bluff you’re standing on, you’ll notice a small archway cut into the basalt, and the beach in this cove – if the tide allows – is filled with a kind of labyrinth of sandy stretches and rocky blobs. All this, of course, means awesome tide pool watching.
Curious formations and colors occupy this area, such as odd step-like structures in the basalt rock, which is from lava flows over two million years old.
The area is also well known for its proliferation of birds, seals, sea lions and tide pool critters.
The tide is king here, however, and keep an eye on it. It can rise quickly and cut you off from safe escape back to the parking lot.
Look to the south and you may see waves doing mighty stunts as they hit this rocky bluff, and you’ll see a long stretch of cobblestone beach disappear into the distant, all the while enclosed by tall cliffs. This is sometimes accessible at lower tides – but again extreme caution should be exercised.
It is an awesome spot for agate hunting, however.
Near this large and varied beach access is the Cummins Ridge Trailhead and its trails, which take you on the quite the scenic hike above the beaches.
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