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Surreal Constructs of N. Oregon Coast's Neahkahnie Mountain

Published 08/29/21 at 5:08 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Surreal Constructs of N. Oregon Coast's Neahkahnie Mountain

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – Up on the north Oregon coast, as you're heading north from the Nehalem Bay or south from Cannon Beach, you cruise around a half dozen bends, winding along stunning cliffs that enter a lush, forest canopy, only to reemerge along more and more stunning viewpoints. The ocean explodes in front of you all over. Separating you from the beaches (a 300-foot-plunge below) are various manmade barriers constructed of stone, sometimes gray and other times black basalt - like leftovers of a castle. (Above: Cube Rock)

These are the Neahkahnie Viewpoints above Manzanita, and they're among the most famous on the Oregon coast. Yet even with their unique vantage point looking down on a wriggling mountain outline and shoreline below, this is only the beginning to the wild shapes and natural constructs to be found in the area.

If you've come from the north, you may have noticed one already. A sizable dip in the landscape just before the main Neahkahnie viewpoint gives you glimpse of a large rock structure looming, poking its head just above the grassy cliffs.

This is Cube Rock, which apparently has had that name for at least 100 years, and it's really only fully viewed by walking down the pathway from a gravel parking pullout that takes you down the cliffs, with one path going all the way to Short Sands Beach. When you get to see its entirety, you'll find it's a long shaft of basalt rock jutting up from the ocean, separated from the land by a few hundred feet. The thing is enormous, and resembles a massive Roman column ruin of some sort.

You can easily see the whole object by simply walking down towards another striking geologic structure of the Neahkahnie Mountain area: Devil's Cauldron. Nowhere is it marked as such. You simply have to discover its name elsewhere.

This is one weird and rather frightening feature, with a giant hole in the cliffs leading straight down to a scary, broiling cove. It's dangerous, too, so keep clear of it. Some have died here in the past, including the creator of the TV show COPS back around 2001.

Also seen from this spot and from the trails in the area is another strange structure rising from the sea: the rather disjointed, jagged Pulpit Rock. It's not as towering or impressive as Cube Rock, but it is interesting to find it lurking there on a wave-smacked ledge.

Still more surreal surprises lie if you veer left from that trail from the parking lot and head towards the open cliff facing southwest. This is also one touchy spot so don't ever take children or pets here. On both sides of you are parts of Neahkahnie you can't normally see – expect for the arch-like feature to the south, which is barely visible from the beach if you're looking at the tip of Neahkahnie Mountain. See Forbidden Cliffs Near Manzanita

Continue hiking in the area and down around Cape Falcon and you'll encounter the sights of massive sea caves you did not know were lurking on this part of the north Oregon coast. There's a stunner every few minutes of walking here on the outer edges of Neahkahnie Mountain.

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