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A Different Look Near Cannon Beach - N. Oregon Coast Beach Changes

Published 02/06/22 at 9:03 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

A Different Look Near Cannon Beach - N. Oregon Coast Beach Changes

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – What a difference a year makes on the Oregon coast, especially at a couple of magical spots immediately south of Cannon Beach. (Photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium, unless otherwise indicated)

Last year about this time, strong winter storms and king tides took out massive chunks of many spots up and down the entire Oregon coastline – which they have as well this year. But in early 2021, the undercutting had a bit more of an even hand. Just about everything was leveled. Indeed, some areas are still showing eyebrow-raising erosion, such as down south at Bandon. In late January, however, ancient ghost forests were showing at Arch Cape and Hug Point, and Silver Point had seen one of the biggest sand drains in years, with actual bedrock revealing itself. You could see the same rock bottom, basement floor that was beneath the rest of Cannon Beach. You could glimpse what that area looked like under all that sand.

This year, however, is different up north. Hug Point shows no ghost forests, and Silver Point – that eye-catching spot beneath the famed viewpoint south of Cannon Beach – looks more like it does in summer. Things are curiously different, in fact. Thanks to these photos provided by Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe, you get a sense of what's going on there right now, and it may provide a few surprises.

On this particular day in late January, the tide was well out at Hug Point and Silver Point, allowing more access to some spots, but higher-than-usual sand levels allowed for this as well.

Case in point: the little cave inside the blob at Silver Point was just barely accessible. See the Silver Point cave.

Photo Jesse Jones of CoastWatch

The most striking difference is the high sand levels here. Last year, seen above in this shot by Jesse Jones of CoastWatch, you can actually see the bedrock (which is millions of years old). The article last year got nearly 100,000 people reading it in a week.

This cave is not normally near accessible, and this spot is often covered completely by tidal action Do not attempt walking here unless it's clear like this.

Now, sand levels are high enough to actually keep the tides back a little bit.

At Hug Point, Boothe's photo (at top) show not only a complete lack of bedrock, gravel beds or any ghost forests visible (they're under there), but sand levels are higher than usual for winter on the north Oregon coast.

The cave just before the little road has a much clearer access due to low tides and higher sand levels combined. The height of the cave opening is taller than summertime to some degree – an experienced frequenter of Hug Point will notice that. But the calm conditions make it all feel summer-like.

The road going around Hug Point is also another curiosity during these calmer conditions. Tides are farther out than normal and not butting against the road, splashing against its edges. Instead, there's a large pool below and plenty of space between there and the tideline.

In winter, this is an exceptional sight, as the rocks visible in that pool are full of funky colors, and some may actually be agate sources. If these conditions are present, make sure you peek into the pool – the colors are engaging.

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What Hug Point normally looks like (photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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