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That Place That Rumbles on Central Oregon Coast

Published 10/16/21 at 4:56 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

That Place That Rumbles on Central Oregon Coast

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(Depoe Bay, Oregon) - A strangely beautiful spot that's tucked away behind the more well-known features of Depoe Bay, there's something distinctly different about this place.

For one, this wild, untamed hidden spot on the central Oregon coast goes by two names: North Point and Depoe Bay Scenic View Area. Giving the whole thing an even odder take, there are two places in town called Depoe Bay Scenic View Area.

This one, however, is the stunning little secret where an amazing span of puffy, bubble-like basalt cliffs create an almost alien world-like vibe, like you've just stepped onto the transporter on the Enterprise and been whisked away somewhere entirely new.

Take your gaze straight out to sea and you'll notice you're high above the crushing, crashing waves and a captive audience member to some awe-inspiring oceanic power. At the park's northern end, you can spot intricate coves and sea caves and walk along some truly odd shapes and features.

They're all the result of ancient lava flows in this area, apparently dating back to roughly 15 million years ago, when Oregon's coastline was actually tens of miles inland. They're the same basalts that created wonders like Neahkahnie Mountain, Yaquina Head and even Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock, but here some very different geologic action took place.

For whatever reason, this area was of a much different elevation, resulting in lava flows that hit the water and then immediately cooled here. When it does that, it creates the “bubble” basalts that Depoe Bay is known for. Lava oozes into the ocean with explosive action and then is smoothed over, instead of becoming jagged and rough like much of the basalt you see along the Oregon coast. You get these rounded shapes. Indeed, if you look at video of Hawaiian lava flows crashing into the sea in recent years, that's what Depoe Bay looked like millions of years ago.

Depoe Bay is unique geologically when it comes to the Oregon coast, even though its old lava flows are the same ones that came from 300 miles to the east.

Walk southwards along ways and you'll encounter more craggy structures, including a natural oddity that looks like a mini Stonehenge.

As you tread this stunning spot's length, there's a constant vegetation line just above, providing pleasant shades of greenery. There's a picnic bench here to take in the wild, chaotic splendor; or you can plop yourself down on one of the smoother chunks of basalts and watch with a little more front row view.

Do not go where it's still wet, however: that means waves have hit there and you could be in the next wave's sights.

At the far south end of North Point, a large, blackened formation juts out into the sea, sometimes allowing you to climb up and walk out even farther out over the ocean. However, much of the time its access point is so soaked by seawater it's not a good idea to go ambling up these rocks. A spectacular sight here is the ocean spraying this section with either small waves or a constant stream of thick, salt-water mist.

Even more spectacular: if you're lucky one of Depoe Bay's resident whales may be feeding right near this spot. They're extremely curious and may be checking you out as much as you're gawking at them.

One of the more entrancing aspects of any Oregon coast spot is how you can feel the ocean's power in these cliffs. You can actually feel the ocean rattle the rocks: they vibrate with the slamming of the waves at times.

The same effect is one thing Shore Acres near Coos Bay is famous for as well.

Look for Vista St. along the northern part of Depoe Bay, and this will lead you down to a charming, weather-beaten neighborhood and a sign that reads "to the rocks."

Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours


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