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Oregon Coast Headlands: Each One from North to South

Published 10/09/20 at 3:54 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Headlands: Each One from North to South

(Oregon Coast) – One of the favorite sights of all the Oregon coast is its numerous, wowing headlands. Sometimes massive, sometimes not, these promontories accentuate the shoreline and decorate it with intricate structures and hordes of marvels to play around on. (Above: Coos Bay's Cape Arago area. Photo courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast)

Headllands mark off sections of the coast known as littoral cells: in geology terms that means the stretches between them. Thus, this guide utilizes that definition of a headland, and not smaller rocky outcroppings.

Tillamook Head. Lying between Seaside and Cannon Beach, there are miles and miles of hiking trails over this forested wonder. Curiosities include outstanding views of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, a primitive campsite and the remnants of a World War II radar unit. Hotels in Seaside

Cape Falcon. Near Manzanita, an intricate latticework of trails trudge over and around this, with close access to Short Sand Beach and Neahkahnie Mountain. Parts of Neahkahnie jut out here as well, all part of the same basalt complex, so it's hard to tell the difference between this headland and all the other myriad finds, including the amazing overlooks. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler

Cape Meares. A soaring basalt blob that features a stumpy lighthouse – high enough that it makes the lighthouse the tallest in Oregon. A wondrous spot to watch birds attack each other or raise their young, and winter wave drama here is rather extraordinary. Hotels in Three Capes

Cape Lookout. Jutting out a couple of miles into the ocean, between Oceanside and Pacific City, the trails here provide insane views. There's a spot commemorating where a World War II plane crashed along the slopes. Hotels in Three Capes

Cape Kiwanda. 30 feet of leg cramp-inducing sand and you're at the top of the unique sandstone headland at Pacific City, where killer views and wild shapes await. The dune above it makes it even higher and there's some interesting ways to slide down this sandy monstrosity. Hotels in Three Capes

Cascade Head. An old volcano is now a gorgeous hike through wildflowers and breathtaking views above Lincoln City and Neskowin. Hotels in Lincoln City

Cape Foulweather. Dozens of miles southward and you reach this 500-foot wow-inducer. It's mesmerizing when fog comes zooming up the slope, firing up into the air. Whales abound here. Hotels in Depoe Bay

Yaquina Head. Sticking out not quite a mile into the sea and only a 100 feet or so high, the Newport promontory boasts a soaring lighthouse and oodles of craggy bits to explore. Even in calmer conditions waves often smash into the western point with wowing ferocity. Hotels in Newport

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Cape Perpetua. One of the tallest headlands at 800 feet, this beauty near Yachats extends outwards in the form of the Devil's Churn. Up top there's a famous lookout made of stone that once kept watch for World War II invaders, and the trails snaking through the area make for a surprise-filled jaunt. Hotels in Yachats

Heceta Head. Just north of Florence, it houses one of the world's most photographed lighthouses. Below is a beach with a funky cave that's occasionally accessible. The lighthouse keepers quarters is the only one on the Oregon coast that's a BnB.

Cape Arago. Near Coos Bay, it's a sprawling headland full of plenty to see and do, including spotting wildlife from a distance. Wildly intricate reefs below, a lighthouse nearby, a stunning stone viewpoint and arresting colors make this a can't-miss.

Photo courtesy Oregon State Parks and Recreation

Cape Blanco. The westernmost structure on the Oregon coast, there's yet another eye-popping lighthouse, campsites, and more than eight miles of hiking. Bring your horse or let your jaw drop along numerous viewpoints. Southern Coast

Port Orford Heads State Park. It's a small one but a doozy with gargantuan views, jutting out at a southern angle. A museum and Coast Guard buildings bring the area's history to life, and from there you can wander miles and miles of trails around the curious formation.

Sisters Rock State Park. A relatively small outcropping, it's geographically known as Sisters Rocks as there's a smattering of rocky peaks collected together. A short hike down to the beaches on the north or south and you'll discover lots of hidden bits. The northern stretch is a long and rocky one, while the southern side has a few surprise man-made discoveries. Highlights include an arched structure that looks like an elephant and another arch that feels like part of a cave.

Hubbard Mound/Otter Point. A small park near Gold Beach that's made of sandstone with some nifty trails to seldom-trod beaches. There is plenty to climb on, but be extra careful of the softer material the edges of the headland are made of. Southern Coast

Photo courtesy Oregon State Parks and Recreation

Cape Sebastian. 200 feet above the sea and panoramic views to the north and south are the highlight here (you can see to California on a clear day). 1.5 miles of hiking trails and gobs of jaw-dropping viewpoints await.

Crook Point. The southernmost headland along the Oregon coast, this largely grassy top area provides some striking views of a series of near-shore seastacks, including one very engaging arch (that looks a lot like Rockaway Beach's Twin Rocks). Southern Coast

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