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Popular Yet Layered on Oregon Coast

Published 07/04/020 at 12:44 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

The Cool and the Ultra-Cool on Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – They are popular and well known, but they have their secret sides. Like many locales along the Oregon coast, they each have their devoted following and almost everyone at least knows about them. (Above: the oceanic canyon at Cape Kiwanda)

But they don’t know everything. Like a beachy soap opera, numerous well-traveled landmarks have their secret sides, their own mysteries and deeper layers. It’s like a treasure hunt, really. There’s often more to your favorite spot than meets the eye.

Like Depoe Bay, for instance.

One spot to keep an eye out for is a hidden area known as Depoe Bay Scenic View Area, lurking behind the northern part of town, otherwise known as North Point.


Or is it called Depoe Bay Scenic View Area? Here’s where it gets kooky: there are two hidden spots called Depoe Bay Scenic View Area in Depoe Bay. Essentially, there are two parks with the same name.

The first is at Vista St., along the northern part of town – a street that will lead you into a neighborhood and a sign that bears that park name. This the chunk of secretive rock also known as North Point. There, you'll find an amazing span of puffy, bubble-like basalt cliffs where the ocean below crashes with enough power to sometimes make this area shake. Walk around a ways and you'll encounter various strange forms and craggy structures - including a natural oddity that looks like a mini Stonehenge, and an area that looks like a small, sunken basement with the basalt forming natural steps going down into it.


The other Depoe Bay Scenic View Area is along Graham St., which is sort of runs behind the visitor center office. This is a tiny spot, only about 30 feet wide and deep, mostly just a clearing cut in the brush with a bench. There’s a lovely view, although it’s slightly obstructed by brush.

A goofy side note: according to Depoe Bay City Hall these parks don’t officially have names. They simply somehow wound up with identical name plaques. One is simply referred to as the Graham St. park and the other North Point by locals and city workers.


A ways further north along the Oregon, near the beginnings of Tillamook County, there sit the tall, ragged and golden cliffs of Cape Kiwanda. On top, there are bundles of secrets and incredible views. Hidden coves beckon, often completely unreachable. From some angles, some structures resemble human fists, giant faces or maybe the surface of another world. Peek over the fences on the ledges to witness enormous, wave-carved cliffs getting battered by monstrous breakers.

Kiwanda is an insanely popular coastal spot, so not much is truly hidden. To find a part most don’t see, head down the northward slope of the dune to the other side of the cape, then peer into the “oceanic canyon.” This is the wild, chaotic section of the landmark where the craggy “islands” sit just beyond the main section, and the sea in between is mesmerizing to watch.

Even further north, between Seaside and Astoria, lies Fort Stevens State Park and its numerous manmade but abandoned wonders. There's the wreck of the Peter Iredale, a schooner that smashed here in 1912 and is now known as the world's most photographed shipwreck. For serious intriguing and slightly spooky fun there are the numerous concrete battlements, once used to guard the mouth of the Columbia, which housed huge guns and now look a little bit like an American version of an old castle.

To really watch some oceanic chaos, head to the north jetty and the viewing platform, where you can safely see gargantuan waves smack the hell out of the boulders. It's astounding.

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