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Craziest, Lowest Minus Tides Coming to Oregon Coast: When, What to Find

Published 05/19/21 at 3:25 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Craziest, Lowest Minus Tides Coming to Oregon Coast: When, What to Find

(Oregon Coast) - The lowest of the low are coming to the Oregon coast: the biggest minus tides of the year show up in late May, June and July. Beaches will be wildly elongated, major tidepool areas will open up that you've never seen, some ghost forests will appear, and some otherwise forbidden spots could abruptly be accessible – but briefly and in a dangerous way. (Above: dry sand around the road at Hug Point)

Minus tides hit the entire Oregon and Washington coastline in the five, six days on either side of May 26, June 25 and July 23.

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All the really low tides arrive in the early morning hours, between 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., with most around 6 a.m. or so. Some later in summer get close to 11 a.m.

The greatest minus tides this month are May 26, 27, 28 and 29, with some decent low minus tides on the day or two before and after these dates. Many NOAA tidal predictions have them at -2.5 feet on those four days, depending on the area, which is enormous.

In June, the greatest minus tides will be on the 25th, 26th and 27th. A decently-low group of them happen June 22 through 24, and then again on June 28 and 29.

Some smaller minus tides happen around June 11 and 12.

July 22 they start again, reaching as low as -2 feet in many Oregon coast spots on the 23rd through 26th.

For detailed tide predictions see the weather page links at the Oregon Coast Weather page.

Tide predictions are always listed according to a slightly inland body, mostly bays. So there is some offset of height in feet – what happens on the beach will be measured differently. However, minus tides mean low, low tides generally no matter what, and that minus foot or two can bring a world of difference. However, all that can be dependent on the terrain of a certain area, such as how a spot is sloped at the tideline. The more gradual the rise of a beach – such as at Manzanita, Bandon or Seaside – the greater the minus tide spectacle.

Manzanita can expand by a few hundred feet under these conditions. Seaside can seem endless on such days.

Safety First: Tide prediction times are an estimate and can be off by an hour. This doesn't mean relax and don't stop watching the ocean. It's a time to keep a much closer eye on the sea, especially if you're lurking around new and opened up tidepool areas.

However tempting, stay absolutely clear of areas close to the ocean that you've never seen wide open before. These spots are the most dangerous.

Treasures You May Find

Arch Cape's remaining arch is a good possibility to open up, and you could well have decent access for awhile.

Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock may have more sides visible. At Hug Point, you could get to see the old road carved out of the rock from below and actually be able to walk around the outside of it.

Oceanside's tunnel may not be necessary. Luckily, this one's a decently safe option, because even if you walk around the point and the water closes you off, there is still the tunnel that lets you get back.

Lincoln City could well be showing odd, brightly-colored rocks at the newly-opened stretches of sand: these are agate veins.

Sunset Bay ghost stump: photo courtesy Brent Lerwill

At Coos Bay's Sunset Bay, look for the ancient ghost forest stumps. These are thousands of years old.

There's a newly-discovered set of ghost forest stumps from three hundred years ago at Happy Camp that may be visible again.

Yachats will get much calmer with fewer big waves hitting those rocks, and some of those holes will reveal new sights. Be extremely careful here, however: again, don't go near those edges close to the waves.

The Devil's Churn at Cape Perpetua may be somewhat emptied out.

Places like Bandon or Meyers Creek Beach on the south coast may be vastly opened up and you can walk among those rocky giants. MORE PHOTOS BELOW:

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Oceanside at a low tide-like event

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