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Striking Rocky Curiosities Near Manzanita, N. Oregon Coast's Stranger Things

Published 10/30/2018 at 3:59 PM PDT - Updated 10/31/2018 at 7:59 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

The Striking Rocky Curiosities Near Manzanita, N. Oregon Coast's Stranger Things

(Manzanita, Oregon) – The famed Neahkahnie Overlooks of Manzanita are one of the more famous attractions on the entire Oregon coast, and arguably its best viewpoints. But they hide some wild and fascinating secrets.

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Just a few files north of Manzanita sits sprawling, forested Oswald West State Park. Somewhere between that town and the state park, it's impossible to miss the striking vistas of Short Sand Beach (not to be confused with Short Beach near Oceanside) and the cliffs that form half of this crescent-shaped cove. This is where the craziness begins.

There’s a big gravel pullout just north of all the paved overlooks at Neahkahnie. Park yourself there and get ready for a trippy set of surprises. From here, there's a one-mile-and-then some hiking trail down to Short Sand. Walk down this trail a bit, veer to the left - instead of going down to Short Sand - and you'll encounter a totally different set of inclines and cliffs. Giant basalt structures form the various headlands here, with craggy shapes jutting up from the ocean and bundling together.

In one area, the sea boils and tumbles against a hidden cove, with black, jagged spires forming something akin to a creepy, post-apocalyptic cathedral (sort of reminiscent of the "Planet of the Apes" films). Another spot visible from these dangerous cliffs showcases more of the jagged shapes, this time with enormous holes and arches in them. Through these, you can see other headlands to the north.

Directly west of the gravel parking lot is a hillside capping the headland, and there sits a bench. This viewpoint is one wild and striking place, with a gaping hole in the ground that allows you a dizzying view to the grumbling surf some 400 feet below. It’s enough to initialize a fear of heights in anyone, but it is awe-inspiring and memorable – and certainly an oddity.


In fact, this place is called Devil’s Cauldron. It’s aptly named for a number of reasons.

Be extremely careful here, however. The drop-offs are sudden and deadly. In fact, it was near here where a famed Hollywood writer and producer – the creator of “COPS” - died in the early 2000s, after falling off a cliff.

From these spots you can see cool rock structures like Pulpit Rock, which is a jagged spire-like chunk of basalt that sits just to the south of the Cauldron area, and is really mostly just visible from that spot. Even before you spot that, however, you run into the gargantuan visage of Cube Rock, which is a curiosity somewhat visible from the road. This massive basalt column juts up from the sea a few hundred feet from the cliffs, and looks a bit like an ancient Roman ruin, imposing and puzzling at the same time.

There’s much more to the Manzanita and Oswald West areas, however. You can see more of these at the Manzanita / Rockaway Beach Virtual Tour. More photos below: -- Lodging in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

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