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Oregon Coast Places That Don't Always Exist - Part II

Published 04/03/2020 at 7:04 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Places That Don't Always Exist - Part II

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – In part one of this mini series, Oregon Coast Beach Connection explored two places with starkly different sides, enough so that they actually kind of completely disappeared – or in the case of Devil’s Punchbowl it changed so drastically it was really a different animal. The other spot was Cape Cove Beach near Yachats, which is sometimes nothing but a seascape and other times it’s actually a beach uncovered by the tides. (Above: the arch at Arch Cape).

Part two looks at two spots around Cannon Beach and another aspect of a Yachats landmark that just isn’t the same year-round.

Other Side of Arch Cape. About four miles south of Cannon Beach, just as you get into the Arch Cape Tunnel, the tiny village of Arch Cape sits snuggled between the highway and a short stretch of beach, all within a dense canopy of trees. The reason for its name is really quite hidden: on that southern side with the rocky point there’s an arch on the other side. Normally, you can’t even see it with the tides here not giving you permission to walk out far enough. In fact, many stormy days this whole beach isn’t very hospitable to humans.

However, during extreme low tide events or those faux low tides caused by high sand levels in summer, you can suddenly get around that point and see the arch. There’s just one there, now. There used to be three, really a large, open cave-like structure with three arches. They were big enough that ambulances used to drive through there in the ‘30s or so back when the beaches were the only coastal highway.

At some point in the ‘40s or so two of the arches crumbled, leaving the one. The massive boulders lying around the arch are left over from the now-forgotten rock feature.

From here southward it’s all part of a beach called Falcon Cove, a very secret spot that you can normally only get to from a road near Oswald West State Park. Much of that beach is completely untouchable during much of winter as tides just get too high here and the beach is a sliver at best. During summer, especially if sand levels pile up, it’s calmer and larger. However, its northern section – closer to the arch – really doesn’t exist during much of winter and the shoulder seasons as it too is far too wild and unruly, like the tip of Arch Cape. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

End of 804 Trail, Yachats. The northern edge of Yachats’ 804 Trail used to have a somewhat smoother access, where you could get down to the sandy stretch somewhat easier – that rather striking area where the town turns from basalt to beach. Over the last decade or so, the downward slope became more and more abrupt thanks to erosion, and these days it’s really almost impossible. (Above: this what the 804 end used to look like. Now it’s much more jagged and unfriendly with some big drop-offs).

These days, a temporary stairway of sorts gets set up during the calmer seasons and then taken down when storm season arrives on the Oregon coast, mostly cutting off easy access from and to the 804. State Parks has to remove it or it will get wrecked.

Moral of the story: unless you’re a bit of a daredevil you can’t move past the barrier here during winter. Then again, during storm season you don’t want to be down on that small beach to begin with. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Yachats Maps and Virtual Tours

A Safe Hug Point. This famed spot near Cannon Beach has more remarkable character changes than just about any beach on the Oregon coast, with winter lowering sand levels quite a bit and showing off all sorts of new things, but summer sands filling the place up and hiding recognizable features.

A little more than half the time Hug Point is mostly accessible, with the tides low enough to get around the first point so you can get to the old road and Hug Point itself. There are plenty of times that’s not possible, however. Rule of thumb: if the tides are touching that first promontory don’t try and go around it. You’ll likely get knocked around a bit by the tides – or maybe even stuck.

Photo courtesy Steven Bash

Crazier still, there are moments that whole first section of Hug Point fills up with stormy waves and becomes a chaotic, swirling cauldron of death. It’s astounding to encounter this, with sometimes as much as ten or twenty feet of water whirling around in there. Thanks to Steven Bash for that incredible photo. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

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