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Famed Globs and Blobs of Oregon Coast - and Not-So-Famous

Published 08/13/21 at 6:29 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Famed Globs and Blobs of Oregon Coast - and Not-So-Famous

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(Bandon, Oregon) – Oh to be a rock and bask in the limelight for all eternity. That is is the fate of some rock structures on the Oregon coast, to become actual “rock stars” of the beaches, and yet other fascinating ones go unnoticed. (Above: Bandon's Face Rock, photo courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts )

The soaring structures and globs and blobs of this coastline are innumerable and vast in size and shape, but here's a few with the some interesting background bits you're probably unaware of.

Bandon's Face Rock and Kittens. So loved and so well-known is the southern Oregon coast's Face Rock that the Bandon landmark barely requires mentioning. But did you know the surrounding rocky chunks and shapes are known as the Kittens?


Courtesy Donna Belt

It all stems from the original native origin stories of the rock, who was known to them as Seatka, a beautiful princess who was turned to stone by a mean otherworldly power, but has gazed peacefully up at the sky since. She had with her a basket of kittens and a dog, which were also turned to stone, forever set in the sea.

If you're wondering how a native tribe knew about cats – which came from the Middle East and Europe – according to the story her tribe had traded for them with a trapper from Montreal.

The actual geologic origin of Bandon's Face Rock is a wild, trippy one, a strange bit of time travel. They're actually composed of different things from different epochs, all fused into one rock structure, starting millions and millions of years ago. South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


Mysteries of Winema, Neskowin. At Neskowin, one of the more famed Oregon coast landmarks is Proposal Rock, which has a tradition of actual marriage proposals surrounding it, the origins of which seem to go back more than 100 years.

What isn't well known about the blob is that it's a geologic “orphan:” it was originally part of Cascade Head but separated over millions and millions of years. The headland itself was once a massive undersea volcano, somewhere in the vicinity of 50 million years ago and probably towered 1,000 to 2,000 feet high beneath the waves before it petered out.


Just north of Neskowin, an unassuming sign declares Winema Road: if you blink you'll miss it. Follow that to the bottom and a tract of sandy beach that nearly no one knows about. There's another blob of a rock structure that looks a bit like Neskowin's Proposal Rock as well as Cape Kiwanda to the north – like its mini-me. This features a flat stretch at the top that's perfect for lounging. Hotels in Lincoln City / Neskowin - Where to eat - Lincoln City / Neskowin Maps and Virtual Tours

Short Beach Blob. Between Oceanside and Cape Meares, along the Three Capes Tour, you may have passed a small beach with a blob-like rock, looking not too dissimilar to Neskowin's Proposal Rock. This is Short Beach, a seriously secret beach that is bordered by outcroppings north of Oceanside and the cliffs of Cape Meares.

The glob here isn't climable or really there for anything but checking out, yet the top has an intriguing stretch of greenery on top that is likely a mini-biosphere for regional wildlife.

Look for the sign for Radar Road and park near there. Hotels in Three Capes - Where to eat - Three Capes Maps and Virtual Tours


Three Haystack Rocks. Yes, Virginia. There are three Haystack Rocks on the Oregon coast and not just one.

The Haystack Rocks at Pacific City and Cannon Beach are the best well-known, and they often get mixed up. There are some newbies to the coast that will even argue there is only one (as the uninformed are wont to do on the net these days). However, there are three, and the third lies in Bandon. It's not so famous, and it arguably does not look anything like the other two. Hotels in Pacific City - Where to eat - Pacific City Maps and Virtual Tours

Cape Kiwanda's Haystack Rock seems as if it's guarding the headland – and that is literally true. Geologists in the ‘70s noted that the softer sandstone cliffs of Kiwanda would be eroding even faster if not for the presence of Haystack (or Chief Kiawanda, as it was originally known). Its harder material – believed to be basalt – sets off some of the heavy wave action.

Up north, Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock for decades had the misnomer title of the “third tallest monolith in the world,” but Oregon Coast Beach Connection deflated that one in the late 2000s. After talking to regional geologists, including Seaside's Tom Horning, it was discovered that is not possible – and there really is no such designation. Haystack Rock, while beautiful and precious to local wildlife, is not really a monolith, for one thing.

The tagline was eventually dropped by the city.
Three Different Rocks With One Name on Oregon Coast: Bandon, Pacific City, Cannon Beach 

Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours


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