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Sand Levels Currently High on Oregon Coast, Broader Beaches, New Access

Published 07/20/020 at 4:54 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Sand Levels Currently High on Oregon Coast, Broader Beaches, New Access

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – All across the coastline, sand levels are doing some intriguing things at the moment. However, it’s not as spectacular as many years. (Above: Oceanside during some summer sand level events)

Summer always brings a new, higher level of sands on beaches. The lazier, less intense waves of this season bring in more sand, dumping it rather than scouring it out as winter’s more chaotic wave action does. Various reports show different things, as do photos from visitors on Instagram and elsewhere. These fatter sands and larger beaches create new means of having fun.

Oceanside is normally one of the more amazing spots for this on the Oregon coast (see top photo), but so far nothing extraordinary has happened there. Many years, sand levels get so high you can easily walk around Maxwell Point without having to go through the tunnel.

However, according to Marcus Hinz, head of the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, not this year. It still takes a fairly low tide for this to happen. Otherwise, the point is not accessible.

CoastWatch, the volunteer group that keeps an eye these beaches, has members that make constant reports on each mile of the 362 miles of coastline. Summer is living up to most of its expectations in terms of sand levels.

At Nehalem Spit, the beach has widened quite a bit, according to one report from CoastWatch. Another from Oceanside shows Lost Boy Cave is very shallow about now (the cave is found at the end of the secret side of the tunnel). Photos look as if it’s less than ten feet high, while most of the year it’s well over that in depth.

At Rockaway Beach, the northern edge (Nedonna Beach) has expanded. According to the CoastWatch report: “The tide seemed much lower than 1.7, and had created a sand bar forming a large shallow ‘lake’ just at the shore south of the jetty.” Hotels in Manzanita, Rockaway Beach - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler Maps and Virtual Tours

Around Pacific City, there’s a much wider beach as well. Hotels in Three Capes - Where to eat - Three Capes Maps and Virtual Tours

Down at Lincoln City, the area of Roads End normally just out of reach – where the God’s Thumb trail dumps you off – is much wider around those rocks. Hotels in Lincoln City - Where to eat - Lincoln City Maps and Virtual Tours

Farther south, between Yachats and Florence, Ocean Beach Picnic Area has quite the elevated sand levels, covering up the majority of the large rocks that normally inhabit that middle ground of the beach between cliff and tideline.

On the southern Oregon coast, CoastWatch reports Bandon State Natural Area has quite an enormous of sand. Pictures from the organization’s site show an almost dunes-like appearance in some areas. Both creeks are at their minimum right now, and that blackened section of cliff with the enormous scratch-like markings is probably ten feet shorter or more.

Many spots on the coast are showing large enough sand levels to have those enormous “crab holes” around the tideline, such as around Humbug Mountain and Manzanita. These are something to look for as they’re the hidden danger of summer on the beaches. See the video.

Where Else to Look Out For

Hug Point, Cannon Beach. Normally, that old road carved out of the point is just a bit above the waterline, and unless there’s a very low tide you're stuck using the road. However, higher sand levels are indeed currently creating an effect where the waves are far from this, and you can gaze down on vast tidepool areas and shallow water just beneath the road. You also don’t need to use the road to get to the other side of Hug Point.


Arch Cape, near Cannon Beach. During summer, the arch that gave the little village its name may become accessible at its very southern tip. You can easily walk around the point and see the arch, which was originally an intriguing mammoth structure comprising three arches. That fell apart in the ‘40s. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours


Cobble Beach, Newport. That stretch of large, polished stones beneath Yaquina Head makes some mighty wacky noises, nicknamed “magic rocks” because of it. If summer conditions are right, that stretch expands greatly and the waves don’t reach those cobblestones much. Instead, sand bars keep the tide out well beyond a gouged-up chunk of basalt that is unusual to see. Hotels in Newport - Where to eat - Newport Maps and Virtual Tours

Sand Levels Currently High on Oregon Coast, Broader Beaches, New Access

Basalt Gateway at Yachats. There is a point within Yachats that all those black, rocky shelves begin, and that’s about Spindrift St. or so. Normally, the only way up or down that basalt gateway is via a rather steep trail that has a stairway for most of the year, but not all of it. However, during high sand level events this keeps the tide away and you can easily walk around the basalt shelves. The section is full of colorful tidepool life. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Yachats Maps and Virtual Tours




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