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Two Enthralling, Semi-Secretive Coves of the Oregon Coast

Published 12/06/20 at 2:55 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Two Enthralling, Semi-Secretive Coves of the Oregon Coast

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Famously unknown: that’s what you could call two exceptionally fascinating little cove-like areas of the north Oregon coast. They now exist in a unique little category of Tillamook and Clatsop counties: they’re hidden yet popular. One spot near Arch Cape and another next to Oceanside have been discovered, perhaps even long ago. (Above: Falcon Cove)

Still, you won’t find many tourist guides going out of their way to mention these sometimes mysterious and diminutive half circles of beachy delights.

Falcon Cove

On the north Oregon coast, between Cannon Beach and the Nehalem Bay area, you'll find the Arch Cape Tunnel and tiny, unincorporated community of Arch Cape. It seems like all these beaches here are hidden ones, with hardly any souls wandering most of them.

Just south of the tunnel, you'll find the very clandestine Falcon Cove, nicknamed "Magic Rocks Beach" by some locals because this landscape of mostly ocean-polished cobblestones makes a funny, rattling noise as the tide disturbs them. This area is only acceptable to wander during calmer conditions and not in highly dangerous storms. A family was killed by a rogue wave here in recent years, so stay off even the edges during heavy tides. However, the main path down – if you stay 20 feet from the edge - makes a good, safe vantage point to watch the show.

During summers and more lulled conditions, this wild little Oregon coast spot often expands in width as sand levels pile up. Then you can visit intriguing little corners, such as the cliff face of Cape Falcon, where you’ll spot ancient fossils embedded in the rock.

Falcon Cove stretches all the way to about Arch Cape in the right conditions, filled with a variety of little wonders along the way.

Short Beach, by Oceanside

One of the Oregon coast’s more enthralling hidden spots lies right next to Oceanside, just west of Tillamook. Look for Radar Rd. along the back road between Oceanside and Cape Meares, and you'll find the refurbished entrance to this stunning beach. However, you won’t see Short Beach marked clearly. You’ll have to keep an eye out for the giant rocky blob at a beach below the highway – one that you only get a fleeting glimpse of as you pass.

Until about 2000, the way down here was precarious and slippery, causing many injuries. People were actually sent to the hospital with regularity. But some locals got together and created this "stairway of 100 steps," a long, rather arduous trip both up and down. Yet it’s safer than the alternative: which was once a slippery incline where you had to slide yourself down.

First, you'll find the bulbous blob at the tideline, resembling the sea stack at Neskowin to the south. Wander here a bit longer, and you may see the waterfall coming from the side of the cliff which hosts the lighthouse. Much of the year, you can see the manmade runoff pipe acting like a waterfall, and there’s even a spot to walk out on a platform above it.

Short Beach contains a lot of engaging little corners, but it’s not very safe during higher tide situations. It is indeed a short beach, and thus not forgiving.

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