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Lincoln City's SW 35th St. Access: Oregon Coast History and Tidal Surprises

Published 01/31/21 at 7:56 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Lincoln City's SW 35th Street Access: Oregon Coast History and Tidal Surprises

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – One tiny spot - a whole lotta stuff. That’s what you’ll find in one corner of Lincoln City, as Highway 101 bends, twists and rises abruptly. Just before you enter Taft on your way south through the Oregon coast town, you’ll whiz past a street by the name of SW 35th. Take a quick westward turn and you’ll bump into the SW 35th Street Access, where there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. There are layers of history here, wild to curiously odd tidal and sand action, and gobs of space.

One thing you won’t find a lot of, however, is people.

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The parking lot here helps ensure that: there’s only about two real spaces, plus some parking available on the nearby street.

Perhaps the most glaringly different feature here is the statue of a sea lion, dedicated to Joe the Sea Lion. He’s an historical oddity on the central Oregon coast, a remarkable and touching tale of a stray, one-eyed pinniped that wandered up on these sands when it was still a little village called Nelscott back in the 1930s and stayed because he liked it. He befriended locals in a heartwarming way, who fed him and housed in him in a ramshackle pen (which he managed to break out of just about every morning). He loved having his back scratched, and comically he’d sometimes wind up in someone’s kitchen in the morning if they forgot to shut their doors, surprising the hell out of the homeowner.

For about a week or two he became a phenomenal tourist attraction – perhaps the first of its kind on the Oregon coast. He drew thousands to the area. He was taken away at the behest of the jealous village next door under sad circumstances. The whole story feels ripe for a movie. See the Joe the Sea Lion story

The statue of Joe was vandalized quite a bit for a time and had to be replaced.

Joe stands guard over an interesting beach, one where sand can pile up extraordinarily high in the summer and create small dunes. This also alters the tideline a bit, creating a steeper slope into the ocean. And this in turn causes the waves to come in fast and hard, then suddenly dissipate quietly. It’s rather unique for Lincoln City.

The beach at SW 35th St. access is small enough that winter storms can really create some gnarly conditions. Some years have seen debris take out the white picket fence of the home right up against the parking lot. This spot is definitely one of the more dangerous in all of Lincoln City during storm activity or extremely high tides.

During winters, sand gets scoured out and the beach is flatter and quite entrancing on those calm, clear days of the season.

The place changes its look often. You can see that by the different layouts visible in the photos here.

Take a walk to the south and you’ll encounter a bit of tidepool action and some sizable rocky blobs to play around on. These are a non-stop kick in the pants, actually – if the tides permit it.

Keep on walking and you’ll come to the end of Lincoln City beaches in less than a mile, as the sands turn the corner into Taft and the bay.

North of the SW 35th St. access is the SW 33rd St. access and then nothing but cliffs for a mile or two, where you become even more alone. During lower sand level times of the year you may encounter really wild blobs that have agate veins in them, one of the sources of all the agates found in the area. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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