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Video: Zooming in on N. Oregon Coast's Neahkahnie Overlooks, Its Details

Published 09/16/2017 at 7:47 PM PDT - Updated 09/16/2017 at 8:07 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Manzanita, Oregon) – The Neahkahnie Overlooks on the north Oregon coast are some of the most amazing views of the entire region. And there's more than meets the eye to them.

They sit about 300 feet above the ocean, a small portion of the entire 1600 feet of Neahkanie Mountain. That makes them among the the highest viewpoints on the Oregon coast, and certainly among the most inviting and generous with their parking spots.

You'll get an enormous, nearly 180-degree view, with considerable blockage to the north (depending where you are) but an incredible, clear line of sight to the south. You can see Oceanside’s Three Arch Rocks from these spots – about 40 miles to the south. You can also glimpse Rockaway Beach's Twin Rocks and the small sea stacks around Bayocean and Cape Meares.

To the north, it’s mostly ocean and then a rustic headland covered with trees, blocking your view to places like Arch Cape. Still, it’s an awe-inspiring favorite for sunset watchers and those who simply like that feeling of their jaw dropping to stunning views of Manzanita or the Nehalem Bay.


The big highlight of Neahkahnie is the numerous viewing spots, not just the main, larger one. Three smaller pullouts line this winding stretch of road, all surrounded by those charming, atmospheric rock walls that are just a tad reminiscent of a European castle.

Take a peek downward from the main lookout and check out the boulder-laden stretch that hugs the base of the mountain. A pointed rock juts upward from the trees and brush, which – when seen from below on those rocks – apparently looks like a young woman (and has the local nickname of Indian Maiden).

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You can even get a sense of the changes over time from the set of small steps hidden on the other side of the rock wall at the main access. They're tucked away, and in order to see them you have to be right up against that rock wall. Obviously, at one point there was an access here that allowed people to explore this headland a little farther out. That has been removed – for good reason.

Another spectacular highlight is the gravel parking lot around the bend from the main access, a tad to the north. Here is a one mile-long trail heading down to Short Sands Beach, as well as trails to a couple of secret viewpoints, such as spots that let you see odd rock structures like Pulpit Rock or that strange hidden cove that is seen through a funnel-like configuration as you’re looking down into the cove. It's called Treasure Cove, and the funnel is called Devil's Cauldron.

There's also the intriguing Cube Rock, which looks like something from a lost civilization. It's largely hidden from view, although just slightly visible from the highway and trail.

Building this road around this area was no small feat. All of that began in the '20s, when what was then called the Oregon Coast Highway started construction. Blasting tons of rock from the mountain safely was just enormous challenge. This resulted in the rather legendary landmark of that pyramid-looking rock. Rocks still periodically slide from the mountain face onto the highway to this day, although this seems to be happening with less frequency. As recent as the early 2000’s, landslides would periodically block off access to the road here until they were cleared. Manzanita Hotels in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

Though the majority of Highway 101 from end to end was finished in 1931, the long, zig-zagging stretch of Highway 53 was still the only means between Nehalem Bay and Cannon Beach. A few years later, the road from Manzanita to Short Sand was created; and finally, in 1942 the Arch Cape Tunnel was finished, fully opening up Highway 101 on the north Oregon coast. More on these spots below:




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