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When Views Explode on Oregon Coast: that Bend Above Baker Beach, Florence

Published 06/13/22 at 7:15 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

When Views Explode on Oregon Coast: the Bend Above Baker Beach, Florence

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(Florence, Oregon) – Along the Oregon coast, sometimes incredible views seem to just jump out at you from absolutely nowhere. They're like miracles of scenery: simply appearing, even startlingly so, as you jaunt along the lengths of the winding highway. (Above Baker Beach north of Florence, all photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

One such place is a bit north of Florence. It comes at you if you're heading south, having just left the already-ravishing landscapes and seascapes of the northern parts of Lane County and landmarks such as Bob Creek, Ocean Beach Picnic Ground or the intensely varied cove of Strawberry Hill. You've just left a wondrous, almost fantasy land of amazing beaches. Now prepare for more heady surprises.

Past Heceta Head Lighthouse, as you round the twisting, winding corners of 101 that hover above the sea, and even passing the Sea Lion Caves, you come across an astounding view of the northern parts of Florence. Baker Beach literally explodes into view, with its vast sands and fluffy blobs of dunes, trailing off so that it melds seamlessly with Florence in the far distance. You can't help but slow down. Your jaw may even drop.


This shot was snapped at the beginning of one summer years ago, with the downward-sloping hill in the foreground. And yet this is only the beginning of this stretch.

The best way to get these shots is by stopping at a gravel pullout at the apex of the hill. Next to that pullout is a semi-secretive headland and a half, capped by the enigmatic Cox Rock. This little Oregon coast wilderness and landform is thick in brush and foliage, and part of a tract of land that's still for sale after many years, even decades. It's a pristine chunk of Oregon coast bluff, rugged and primitive still, and adorned with magnificent views of the ocean. Like a secret spot hidden in plain view, there's much more to it than meets the eye.

It's also unsafe to go to the outer edges. There are no fences here, just steep drop-offs into oceanic nothingness. Stay away from the edges. Don't take children or pets here. There have been periodic rescues here over the decades because people ignored just basic common sense. The place is perfectly safe if you follow those groundloor rules. There's plenty of room to wander without killing yourself.

From here you can see those glorious dunes and tree-lined beach paths of Baker Beach in full glory, and to the north you can see the outside of the Sea Lion Caves. It's not uncommon to see the great beasts lingering just outside the cave entrance. They've made it quite high on that steep cliff and it all makes you wonder how they got there.

While you can't really see it from this headland, there is Cox Rock sitting right outside it. You can, however, see this clearly from the north around Sea Lion Caves. Also made of basalt, something cracked here early on in the headland's 15-million-year-old life, and it eventually eroded away so that the two parts were separated. It's honestly one of the more fascinating rock features of the Oregon coast, especially when you consider how much power it must've taken over millions of years to crack in two that area of normally sturdy basalt.

Geologists say Cox Rock was probably still attached to the main basalt by an arch for quite awhile, and that arch broke as well. It's entirely possible in a few million years that another will be eaten away out of the whole of Cox Rock, and it will follow the cycle.


Pathway at Sea Lion Caves

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