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A View to a Thrill: Some of the Most Killer Oregon Coast Views are at Cannon Beach's Ecola State Park

Published 3/04/24 at 6:05 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

A View to a Thrill: Some of the Most Killer Oregon Coast Views are at Cannon Beach's Ecola State Park

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – When it comes to views, this one is non-stop killer. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection unless otherwise attributed)

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At Cannon Beach, up on the northern Oregon coast, Ecola State Park is one place that does not quit. From its major viewpoint to Indian Beach – and then various trail lookouts in between – it's one of the biggest attractions in the region. That is so in terms of popularity and in size: Ecola State Park is nothing short of sprawling.

In fact, its main trail takes over a mile to get between two of its sections.

It's both beach and soaring cliff: the place comes with the pair, as if to compliment the other. Hiking, surfing and beachcombing are a big part of Indian Beach at one end of the park. At the other sits the endless, boundless views of the cliffs of Ecola Point.

The spot played a major part in a massively popular cult movie too: Goonies. Yet it's literally the views that steal the show here.

Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

Among these sights, of course, are the mysterious lighthouse well offshore. Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium took this wondrous snap years ago, but it's a classic pose for what is called Terrible Tilly. Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was named as such during its run as a functioning light from the 1880s until the late '50s. These were grueling conditions on top of the rock, a remote spot chosen for its ability to provide a guiding light even in foggy conditions (the actual headland was passed on for that because of visibility issues from the north or from the south.

Tillamook Rock, a place local tribes said was haunted, was picked because it could stand out.

That, it still does. It automatically drags the eye towards it, especially here at Ecola State Park as that's the closest you'll ever get to the ol' legend.

Behind you, Indian Beach presents these magnificent, golden cliffs, especially if the sun hits them just right. Also see Ecola Point's Pictorial Past: Old Cannon Beach up to Modern Oregon Coast Disasters, Goonies

From the picnic ground area and overlook at Indian Beach, this laidback little locale has quite the key to unlocking scenic beauty – in more than one sense of the word. That rock in the distance with a hole in it is known as “Goonies Rock” these days, because it looks like the keyhole rock featured in The Goonies. No, however, it was not the same rock near the end of that cult favorite. That one is actually in California.

These overlooks are arresting during any mood the seasons present here on the Oregon coast.

Ecola State Park 100 years ago: note the greater amount of forest coverage

The history of Ecola State Park – that's written, anyway – goes back as far as Lewis & Clark, but obviously the native peoples here had more ties to it for much, much longer.

In late December 1806, Clark and a few members of the Corps of Discovery, including Sacagawea, set off south from their Fort Clatsop in search of a beached whale they'd heard about from local tribes. This arduous journey took them over what is now Tillamook Head, ambling over heavy brush and steep inclines. It caused William Clark to proclaim it "the Steepest worst & highest mountain I ever ascended."

At least a few times the group stopped along the hills of Ecola State Park to admire the view. There was no lighthouse then – and no cleared out brush or felled trees to make way for visitors to see the sea. There certainly was no fencing or signage as there is now.

Then there are the massive, impressive views of the main overlooks, seen above, with that highly recognizable tree soaring high into the air.

This amazing spot still looks that way even at night.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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