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Weird, Craggy Cliff Shapes of N. Oregon Coast: Manzanita Travel, Hiking Tips

Published 02/19/2019 at 2:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Weird, Craggy Cliff Shapes of N. Oregon Coast: Manzanita Travel, Hiking Tips

(Manzanita, Oregon) – You could call it the forbidden part of Neahkahnie Mountain. It’s an area that begins with mysterious sights which only get more so as you amble along, part of the hiking trails around the famed Oregon coast landmark.

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In many ways it is a secret place near Manzanita - and for good reason. It's dangerous as hell. It is one of the stranger and more startlingly beautiful places on all of Oregon's coast. Wild and untamed barely describe what's happening here. Surreal shapes spike up from the ocean in odd places. A giant – and rather sudden – hole appears out of nowhere.

Then there are those wild, intricate arches of blackened basalt, that look like cathedrals after a nuclear apocalpyse.

All of it begins at a truly unassuming gravel pullout just north of the main Neahkahnie overlooks. It’s not far from the northern Neahkahnie mountain trailhead.


Above: Cube Rock

First, you wander down a slope via a trail that's rather secretive all by itself, walking through a placid grassy plain that's at times reminiscent of Ireland. You eventually come to a sudden drop into the ocean, where the cliffs have an abrupt end, looking straight down some 50 feet into boiling, tempestuous surf. There are no barriers here to keep you from falling, so stay well clear of the edge.

Look around and you'll take in something truly extraordinary. Craggy, jagged basalt structures rise on either side of you, covered in greens, foliage and trees at their tops, but hosting strange shapes that resemble wasteland wreckage of the original "Planet of the Apes" flicks. To the south, the basalt resembles crumbling, aged columns, as if now their contours no longer even vaguely held the lines carved into them by those who constructed this mythical cathedral. Instead, they plunge into a swirling mass of angry sea in a half circle of a writhing, churning bay that is hungry to further destroy the columns' aesthetics. It's creepy and beautiful all at the same time.

To the north, it's as if this cathedral had been mostly eroded away at this end, with one rather surreal arm of rock stretching down to form a tall sea cave - complete with mesmerizing openings in back. You naturally strain to see what's inside or to see through the gaps.

This spot is not always accessible anymore, sometimes grown over by loads of vegetation so large it does not allow passage.

See more Hiking Neahkahnie Mountain: Manzanita's Marvel, Oregon Coast's Landmark

Walk a bit north and you’ll encounter a massive hole in the Earth that suddenly appears: this is Devil’s Cauldron. Really, it’s a semi-circle of rock that juts out from the cliffs, plunging a few hundred downwards. A bench here provides scenic splendor to relax by. As you wander around you’ll also see Cube Rock: a gargantuan structure that looks like a Roman column made by giants. Nearby is the mysterious, cajoling and pointed edges of Pulpit Rock.

From here, it’s a mile hike down to Short Sand Beach, then to more trails ambling over Cape Falcon. See the Manzanita / Rockaway Beach Virtual Tour for more. See the full photo spread of these places below. Lodging in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat -





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