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Delights, Surprises in the Details of Neskowin, Where N. Oregon Coast Begins

Published 5/07/24 at 5:25 p.m.
B Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Delights, Surprises in the Details of Neskowin, Where N. Oregon Coast Begins

(Neskowin, Oregon) – Tucked away behind a tract of forestland, not far from Pacific City, Neskowin sits just behind the border between central coast and north Oregon coast. So tiny, it's barely even a village: really more of a semi-incorporated grouping of homes, a smattering of lodgings, and maybe a restaurant or store. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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In fact, most of what you notice from the outside is a parking lot.

“Eh, not much there; keep on driving,” you may say to yourself.

Wander onto this magical beach, however, and you'll find more than simply a romantic place for a stroll or some scenic eye candy. Indeed, this diminutive place at the southern edge of the Tillamook Coast. has an abundance of curiosities hiding in plain sight.

Delights are in the details here – and there's an unusual number of them.

From the parking lot it's a short walk to the strand and its oddly dark grains of sand, plus enough driftwood to make yourself a decent fire. Right off the bat the little north Oregon coast spot shows there's something different in its sands. Grains get even darker and larger at the northern tip of town.

Proposal Rock is the intriguing blob-like structure dominating the view, boasting a small forest sitting on top. There's a sizable creek between you and it, however, and to get to the structure means crossing this cold body of water barefoot.

Why is Proposal Rock an orphan? And how Cascade Head above it was a volcano.

Atop the rock, hidden trails meander through the forest where the views are somewhat legendary. You can actually climb to the top, but it's not recommended. Watch the tide closely or you could get stranded, and be careful of the trail's slippery entrance.

There's a fascinating little detail hidden here. Near the entrance, look for a small, round brass plaque, an oddity embedded there early in the century. With the name of a power company on it, it almost seems to indicate there was a powerline attached to Proposal Rock once - but these are surveyor markers. They appear at random spots around the coast, embedded in rock, including Hug Point near Cannon Beach and a hidden section of Depoe Bay.

Between here and the looming cliffs of Cascade Head sit another major wonder: the Ghost Forest of Neskowin. This is an ancient stand of trees around 2,000 years old, preserved beneath the sands by some sort of event that covered them, thus hiding them from the decaying effects of oxygen.


They do indeed look a bit ghostly: slightly eerie shadows of a formerly glorious forest. How they got that way is a bit eerie as well, but it's not the dramatic tale of a sudden quake that's been circulating forever. It's been proven that the landscape changed slowly and covered them with sand, thus killing them, but paradoxically preserving them. It was not a quake. See Explanations of Neskowin Ghost Forest Wrong, Say Oregon Coast Geologists See video below

See the different story of the ghost forests at Coos Bay.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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