NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway,
Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe
Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Summer Cometh: Are you ready?
MEANS RUGGED, OUTDOOR ACTION ON OREGON BEACHES
- Outdoor activities really begin to come to life in Oregon in the
early summer – especially on the coast. From hiking and unusual
walking opportunities, to water sports of different kinds and a
variety other wacky hybrid activities, the coast isn’t your
average destination for the outdoorsy types.
boaters hit the lakes around the National Dunes Recreation Area
in great numbers, where 40 miles of enormous dunes are interrupted
by pristine, spectacular freshwater lakes. There's Devil's Lake
in Lincoln City, where water skiing and other marine sports become
de rigueur, while kayaks flood the waters of the Nehalem Bay and
its hidden waterways and marshes. There are also the opportunities
for kayaking along the sea in some areas and checking out sea caves
and monumental cliffs up close.
There are some
unusual hybrid sports emerging these days. There's surf kayaking,
which is a combination of both those activities. It’s an oddball
sport, but an interesting one, where a kayak is used a little bit
like a surfboard, just hovering in the waves as it bobs in out of
Beach: Surfers paradise in Cannon Beach
in the infant stages, sand boarding is becoming increasingly popular
on sand dune areas like the National Dunes Recreation Area near
Florence. It's largely a homemade thing still, where snowboards
are waxed a certain way and then ridden down the towering dunes
for a thrilling ride. The sport has just arrived at the gigantic
structure called Cape Kiwanda, in Pacific City, where the towering
dune gets turned into a makeshift snowboarding area. At Cape Kiwanda
RV Resort and Marketplace, you actually rent these boards –
made by a firm in Florence.
the most visible activity at various spots, but it only increases
in popularity as the kids get out of school. Seaside's cove area,
on the south end of town, is hugely popular. Other hotspots include
the crescent-shaped beaches at Oswald West State Park, Crescent
Beach in Cannon Beach, the south side of the Devil's Punchbowl at
Otter Crest, Oceanside and parts of northern Newport around Agate
gliding near Cape Kiwanda
is a favorite on the coast, with its many winds zipping around and
high places from which to launch. Oceanside, a spot just north of
Cape Kiwanda, another just south of Tillamook Bay and some spots
around northern Newport are common places to see these great, silent
birds of beauty and grace.
Hiking is something
you can't miss around here, such as the hike above Manzanita talked
about later in this article.
At Heceta Head,
just north of Florence, the trails meander in back of the lighthouse
on their way to "Hobbit Beach" a mile and a half from
here. Along the way are some stunning viewpoints.
features several trails zigzagging their way around the 900-foot
mini-mountain. There's the easy trail from the visitors center down
to Cook's Chasm, the one-mile trek to a 400-year-old giant spruce,
and the mile-and-a-half trail that wanders up the mountain to the
700-ft level, to the stone shelter and its insane, panoramic views.
there's the mesmerizing half-mile trail above Yaquina Head, with
several switchbacks taking you up to Salal Hill and some funky finds
awaiting the explorer.
On the North
Coast, Cape Lookout features three dizzyingly beautiful hikes. One
zips to the end of the cape in a five-mile loop, with astounding
viewpoints along the way. Another wiggles its way two miles down
to the secret cove, with its wild, weird black sands. From there
you can hike another four miles along seriously untouched sands
to the Sand Lake Recreation Area, where ATV'ers go bonkers in this
place nicknamed "the other Sand Dunes of the Oregon Coast."
things are a little on the cool side and you're looking for some
exercise, the three-mile roundtrip trail to the 1600-ft. top of
Neahkahnie Mountain can't be beat for incredible views. From there,
you can see the Pacific, Neahkahnie Bay and Manzanita in all their
glory. Not quite halfway up, you find the forest opening up and
incredible vistas jump out at you. A little ways further up, you'll
find a bench or two in front of these viewing points, allowing you
to sit back, relax and become overwhelmed by the beauty, with just
a hint of the sound of the surf lulling you from a distance.
trailhead lies off a gravel road marked on Highway 101 by hiker
signs. The road lies about a mile north of Manzanita, and the trailhead
is marked by a gray post.
Or, if things
are warm, you may want to play around the pristine beaches of Manzanita,
all of which are a short walk from the restaurants and shopping
of this charming, still noncommercialized town. You can duck in
from the rain if it comes, or if it's hot, spend the day splashing
in the waters and exploring the very edge of the rocky headland
as the sands dead-end into the sea.
Cliffs South of Depoe Bay
Newport and Depoe Bay, around the roads traipsing through Cape Foulweather
and Otter Rock, there are the wild and wondrous secret cliffs lying
just off Otter Crest Loop (the entrance of which is a ways south
of Depoe Bay). You'll have to enter at this southern end, because
it's a one-way road going south. Along the way, you'll catch sight
of magnificent cliffs and steep, grassy slopes which dump right
into the sea.
There are two
main entrances to this set of cliffs, both of which are where the
road turns into a one-way. The easier gateway, just beneath a gravel
parking area, is a fairly steep trail that meanders into a brief,
dark forest - where occasionally you'll find freaky mushrooms growing.
you emerge onto this whole expansive little world all its own, with
incredible vistas of the ocean before you and basalt cliffs that
sometimes form natural seats from which to watch the crazed oceanic
A trail allows
you to walk along one grassy slope to the next cliff.
Be warned about
this area, however: there are sometimes patches of poison oak lurking
here, which will definitely put a damper on your coast trip memories.
Also stay clear of the cliff edges, which are sheer and deadly without
Still, it is
one of the more breathtaking and rugged spots on all of Oregon's
Walking Winema Beach and Neskowin
magical beaches lay within three miles of each other, both between
Lincoln City and Pacific City.
North of Lincoln
City, Neskowin is the quiet little resort that's constantly threatening
to explode into something much bigger.
Hit the beach
and you'll usually find loads of people milling about. But cross
the creek, walk towards mysterious Proposal Rock, and the population
density gets less. You can actually walk around on top of the rock
and check out the views from the top (although be extremely cautious
of the tide so as not to get stuck.)
further beyond the rock and you'll definitely be more alone. Along
the way, note the stumps at the tideline, 5000-or-so-year-old remnants
of something rather ominous. Somewhere in the last few thousand
years, an enormous earthquake caused a chunk of forest to abruptly
drop some six feet into the surf. The result was the salt water
preserved them instead of allowing them to decay in normal ways.
At Winema Beach,
it's hard to get more hidden than this. Just a few miles north of
Neskowin, a small unassuming sign declares Winema Road. Follow that
to the bottom and a tract of sandy beach that nearly no one knows
about. There's another blob of a rock structure that looks a bit
like Neskowin's Proposal Rock, which features a flat stretch at
the top that's perfect for lounging.
interesting shapes and crevices present themselves as you walk northward.
Some spots in the cliffs seem to invite climbing and exploring.
And there's more than one hole in the rocks to huddle from the wind
and cuddle a bit.
The cliffs soar
high and become a striking gold, with some awe-inspiring homes up
top. After about a mile or so, the beach ends abruptly at the southern
end of Nestucca Bay, allowing you an unusual glimpse of the area.