Yachats, Oregon Coast: Where the Wild Waves Are
(Yachats, Oregon) – It's not hard to imagine Maurice Sendak getting inspired here, on this particularly insane part of the central Oregon coast. Perhaps there could've been another imaginary land penned by him that had startling resemblances to this place of fiery water antics. The bustling breakers here seem to have a life all their own.
Even in the calmest of conditions, Yachats puts on a show. The reason is the area is one long set of basalt shelves that jut out into the ocean in one way or the other, with no gentle upward slope typical of a sandy beach. So the waves have choice but to come crashing in hard against these ancient barriers, firing off in an endless variety of complex configurations and shapes that constantly cause the jaw to drop.
The most obvious points of enjoyment for this furious and wet ballet are right along the Yachats Scenic Recreation Area, located right in back of downtown. It's here you can stay in safety up on that viewing platform if the waves are hurling objects on the rocks – as they do fairly often – or in calmer conditions you can get a bit closer. You can see the battering this area takes by just looking at the remnants of a cement stairway that was chopped into pieces about ten years after it was made.
A variety of cracks and crevices, some of them quite lengthy, cause the ocean to do some rather awe-inspiring things, as the waves race up these confined spaces, compressing their energy, and more wild things happen.
About a half a mile north of this spot sits the beginning of the 804 Trail, which wanders along more spectacular front row seats to all the oceanic action for about another mile. And there's plenty more to see there as well.
But for some less obvious treats, head across the bay, over to Yachats Ocean Road, where more surf surprises await. Like this bizarre little blowhole sitting just a ways back from the edge of one section of the basalt shelves on this side. This diminutive dude does quite the show sometimes, shooting a spray of ocean mist up into the air with a sizable hissing noise, sounding distinctly like a whale at times.
Other moments, it simply hiccups a small stream of water through its opening, looking a bit like someone shook up a beer underneath there.
Around the southern end of that road, another engaging cove-like area lurks. It's a bit hidden here, off the beaten path. If conditions are right, you'll see dozens of wave explosions at once all over this stretch of labyrinth-like rocky fingers and ledges.
Then there's that really fascinating spaceship-looking house in the distance.
Another section of rock here seems to funnel the wave energy into doing some distinctive acroabatics. It's easy to get hypnotized in this section, to get lost in the drama of the breakers.
For more on Yachats, see the Yachats Virtual Tour.
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Keywords: geology, Yachats, topography, geography, waves, Pacific City, Cannon Beach, Depoe Bay, Newport, Lincoln City, Oceanside, Astoria, Oregon coast, science.
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