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Historical Wows Along the Oregon Coast Just S. of Cannon Beach

Published 12/14/20 at 4:55 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Historical Wows Along the Oregon Coast Just S. of Cannon Beach

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – That inimitable drive between Manzanita and Cannon Beach is chock full of scenic wonders and wowing moments. Yet look a bit deeper and you’ll see and experience some fascinating history of this part of the north Oregon coast. In fact, just by walking around some of these spots you’re diving into the past. (Above: Arch Cape)

As you approach Cannon Beach from Manzanita, first you encounter the Arch Cape Tunnel. This elongated beauty was built just after Highway 101 was finished up and was actually the last piece that completely connected the Oregon coast, way back in the mid ‘30s. Look for a cool little pullout and viewpoint at its south entrance.

The tunnel had the same lighting for over 60 years, until 1998. (Above: Arch Cape Tunnel in the mist)

Arch Cape pops into existence immediately after the tunnel opens again to daylight. The main access is right there, to the left, and isn’t always a good idea to tread upon if the tides are too unruly. However, conversely, during summer’s calmer waves and higher sand levels you can sometimes gain access to the point to the south.

There, you’ll encounter the arch – part of a series of three arches that Arch Cape was named for. The other two crumbled in the ‘40s and now there’s colorful tidepools in their stead.

More wild history: in wintertime, if sand levels get low enough, you’ll get to see something 4,000 years old. Both at Arch Cape and Hug Point, if conditions are right, eerie ghost forest stumps pop up here.

Further north, you'll find the varied treasures of Hug Point. You’ll discover its sea caves, a waterfall, the remnants of a road going around the headland and the occasional leftovers of a wooden structure still embedded in the cliff face that no one has really been able to confirm the purpose of. For a small Oregon coast state park there is gobs packed inside.

The road around the point goes back more than 100 years, as the beaches were the actual highways of the coastline back then. This allowed vehicles around the point more often. Want to go back farther in time? There are fossilized bits of wood dated at millions of years embedded in some parts of the cliffs.

Just north of there, Aracadia Beach provides a great vantage point to watch storms hit this beach and its rocky structures.

Or at lower tides, venture around the point to see tidepools, a huge sea cave, and glimpse the vast stretch of sand between you and Cannon Beach's rocky landmarks in the distance.

Silver Point. It’s here you know you’ve just about entered Cannon Beach. One of the most popular viewpoints on the Oregon coast gives you a clear line-of-sight to Haystack Rock in the distance.

Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium

Legendary About Silver Point. The area below is even more fascinating. That sea cave in big rocky blob is fun to look at (though you can’t usually even approach it), and the cliff walls tell wild geologic tales going back millions of years.

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


Beachcomber Vacation Homes.  Numerous vacation rentals in the Cannon Beach area, including Falcon Cove and Arch Cape. Depending on the home, you may find amenities and luxuries such as a barbecue, claw foot tub, a ship's ladder. 115 Sunset Blvd. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 855-219-4758. 503-436-4500. Website.

Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals.  About 60 vacation homes to choose from: ocean view, oceanfront and very close to the beach, all in Cannon Beach or in Arch Cape. All are either oceanfront or very close. Homes sleep as many as 12. 164 Sunset. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 503-436-0940. 866-436-0940. 

Sunset Vacation Rentals  About 100 homes to choose from in north Oregon coast hotspots like Manzanita, Neah-Kah-Nie, Rockaway Beach, Nedonna Beach and the secretive Falcon Cove. 186 Laneda Ave., Manzanita, Oregon. 503-368-7969. 800-883-7784.

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