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Curiosities of Manzanita: What You Haven't Seen on N. Oregon Coast

Published 05/17/21 at 7:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Curiosities of Manzanita: What You Haven't Seen on N. Oregon Coast

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – At Manzanita there's a constant looming, even overwhelming presence. First peoples here thought of it as a god, and maybe there's some amount of truth to that. Neahkahnie Mountain is this north Oregon coast town's most massive feature, its centerpiece, and there are chunks of it and nearby Cape Falcon that are chock full of striking finds you probably haven't noticed before. (Above: mysterious tip of Neahkahnie)

From legends of Sir Francis Drake and mysterious objects found here, possible treasure, to even the purported existence of a “pirate bar” lurking around one dangerous corner, the intrigue and wowing sights abound.

One intriguing secret can be seen from a distance every day, however, but few probably notice. In fact, many regulars to the sleepy Oregon coast hotspot likely don't even see it at all.

If you look closely at the end of Neahkahnie Mountain's farthest edge you'll see a mysterious arch. But you have to look close. When you do, you'll notice it looks a lot like some ruin of an ancient cathedral, or perhaps a Roman structure from antiquity.

It's a fascinating little chunk of rock; a feature that can send the imagination into overdrive. Yet it does not appear to have a name. Other very secret structures nearby do, such as Pulpit Rock or Cube Rock (which can be seen by wandering up to the bluff that overlooks Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park, just north of Manzanita).

This engaging feature is quite a ways away from even the closest points to Neahkahnie Mountain, and in order to see it clearly you have to use some zoom optics. It completely disappears behind the tip of Neahkahnie after you get closer to the mountain.

This shot was taken at night, which makes the ocean look like a surreal mist, giving the arch more of a vibe of a creepy castle.

You can't see the arch from any other angle, either.

The photo above is of the other side of that tip of the headland, and the arch is not visible.

However, stand in this ruddy, untamed and certainly dangerous spot and look to the right and you'll see another arch with a similar look. It too is craggy and surreal, and somehow resembling some sort of ancient ruin. It's ancient alright: geologically that rock is about 16 million years old or so.

Curiosities of Manzanita: What You Haven't Seen on N. Oregon Coast
Cube Rock

Right about here are the trails heading up to the top of Neahkahnie Mountain, or you can hike a longer trail downwards to Short Sand (otherwise known as Smuggler's Cove). Yet walk just a little to the north without heading down the trail and you'll encounter the giant chasm known as the Devil's Cauldron. Also from here and another nearby trail descending down a bit you can fully see Cube Rock as well as the jagged, pointed spires of Pulpit Rock.

Then there is that which you can never see from just a regular visit to this part of the north Oregon coast. An aerial photo of this area just south of Cape Falcon shows some of the intriguing geology of the place and its numerous features, hidden from view from the average visitor. Bundles of large, cavernous sea caves dot the headland here.

Below is the other arch, with the tip of Cape Falcon (the northern border of Short Sands Beach) jutting out just beyond the ragged shape.

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