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Short Beach is Long on Engaging Finds on N. Oregon Coast

Published 09/24/21 at 5:26 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Short Beach is Long on Engaging Finds on N. Oregon Coast

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(Oceanside, Oregon) – Right along the Three Capes Tour on the north Oregon coast, in a tiny sliver of land between Oceanside and Cape Meares, you'll bump into this stunning hidden spot. There's just a brief opening in the trees here, allowing a quick flash of beach and sea as you zip along towards the lighthouse. If you blink, you'll miss it.

Short Beach (which once boasted an actual radar station) is chock full of scenic yumminess and surprises, starting with the large, bulbous rock structure plopped at the tideline, sporting a small patch of trees on top. You can't climb the structure, except perhaps at its base at low tide, but it is a beauty.

If you're thinking it looks familiar, it does somewhat resemble another Oregon coast landmark not far south: Neskowin's Proposal Rock. This one is full of angular rock configurations, tilted masses of land inside and altogether boasting a geologic story that must be told someday.

On one end of this exceptionally cool cove, the familiar rock structures near Oceanside poke out from behind the cliff. At the other end sits the Cape Meares lighthouse. You can just barely see it from here.

There, a massive waterfall sometimes spills gently into the ocean - just out of reach of the beach, and there's a rocky cove within this cove, also unreachable. Short Beach has a lot of mysteries like this: teasing with spots you can't get to, formations and features cut off by invading ocean waters.

There's another giant waterfall-like feature, really a drainage pipe from waters up the hill and rainwater. With a sizable walkway surrounding it, it's an unusual manmade feature on the Oregon coast, allowing both awesome ocean views and a close glimpse of this structure.

Access to Short Beach became much easier 20 years ago. Once, it was a steep and slippery slope that resulted in lots of injuries: reportedly quite a few of them to people's heads. In the early 2000s, local volunteers got tired of the rescues and visits to the local ER and banded together to create an engaging, rustic and meandering stairway. It's a leg cramp-inducer but it's well worth it.

There's another little viewpoint and stop about halfway down that allows you to rest and check out the kooky ocean action.

Short Beach seen from above at Cape Meares

For a serious dose of history, note that Radar Road is right here, really your only signage to the place. It's so named for the World War II radar bunker that still sits on a hill across the highway and a few hundred feet north of the gravel parking. It's a spooky find, with its hollow eyes for windows and dilapidated but utilitarian, cold design - and generally impossible to get to. Discovering it even from afar is a kick, however.

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