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Four Unique to Bizarre Aspects of One Chunk of Oregon Coast: Between Yachats and Florence

Published 2/24/24 at 5:35 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Four Unique to Bizarre Aspects of One Chunk of Oregon Coast: Between Yachats and Florence

(Yachats, Oregon) – Between Yachats and Florence is one of the more complex chunks of Oregon coast around, with a good dozen of separate and distinctly different accesses and layouts that each hold their curious secrets. It's not even quite 20 miles of awe and amaze-balls lurking here, with so much to do in this stretch there's no way to compact it into one day. (Above: pathway at Stonefield Beach / Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

In that spirit of further exploration, here's four really curious aspects of the area.

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Weird Basalt Steps. Three of the coolest sights you'll ever find on the Oregon coast are at Depoe Bay, Strawberry Hill access and at the northern half of Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint. They look like steps in the rock that are there either there naturally – or maybe left over by some civilization, like ruins. (Above: the steps at Strawberry Hill) Mysterious Rocky Steps Along Oregon Coast Explained

Geologists call them cordwood joints, because they look like stacked fire wood. The short answer about these is that they came from lava flows that hardened, cracked, and then other lava flows on top of them injected themselves into the harder rock, making these shapes. They were then whittled down by time to look like this and be exposed. Cave at Neptune Beach, Geology

Bob Creek Wayside is one of the more adorable yet engaging wee accesses on the Oregon coast, really a small cove of sorts where agate hunting is prime. Sand levels affect this spot greatly, however, especially when summer comes bringing more of it.

Most of the time, Bob Creek is a semi-circle of water smacking against a shore of rounded stones, and with some sections featuring a host of tidepools. Major storms make it absolutely inhospitable to human life, but the way it's structured make normal waves often pile in sizably calmer than many beaches. It's a bit of a dreamy experience.

When sand levels of summer get really high, those waves have much farther to travel: more sand has accumulated around the breakers so it slows them even more. It can greatly extend this rather short beach.

In that case, oddities can pop up. Like this sort of “ramp” for example: a sandy slope appears between basalt slabs that normally hold all that tidepool life. This can acquire a curious ruts-like effect, looking like manufactured grooves. You can see the difference between regular sand levels and high sands in the photos here. The top one is normal sands, and the second is the same stretch of slabs with higher sand levels and the ramp.

Volcanoes of Yachats to Florence. All that black rock you see in this area – from Yachats down to Heceta Head – is frozen lava some 35 million years old or older. Scientists think there may have been more than one volcano back then, but the main one appears to be Cape Perpetua itself. Inside Heceta Head / Cliffs Near Florence: All Come from Oregon Coast Volcano

That grand and towering feature was once a volcano, spewing out dozens to hundreds of eruptions way back then. Those basalts may be as deep as hundreds of feet down. There's other things mixed in those rocks on occasion, which is why you get the black basalt and then basalt with other colors tinting it.

Stonefield Beach, sitting astride Ten Mile Creek, is really a pair of beach accesses and one them hides a splendorous little wonder. There is the main access to Stonefield – the state park with the signage. This one, on the south side of the bridge and Ten Mile Creek, hosts all those soft, inviting sands. The other side, on the north side of the bridge, is not as well marked but it's a kick.

Park there and you go through an atmospheric, forested trail. Then it gets thicker and even slightly claustrophobic as you pass through a section with rather high bushes. Soon, however, you emerge onto an open area by the side of the creek, with a grassy lawn-like area and possibly two comely little benches (one may not still be there). They plant you in front of the spectacle, allowing you to gaze or gawk at the stream drifting quietly past as well as the sometimes-raging ocean.

You can't miss, either way.

From here, you make it onto the the curious basalt half of Stonefield, possibly where it got its name. These are fascinating blobs of rock that sometimes come in wild colors.

Stonefield Beach's main access is a downright ethereal section of Oregon coast, where sand levels really do change from season to season. You can see the grassy dunes get undercut by storms and then restored in summer. Magical, Time-Tripping Stonefield

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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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