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Three Seasonal Curiosities You Did Not Know on Oregon Coast

Published 11/26/21 at 11:32 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Seasonal Curiosities You Did Not Know on Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – The unforeseen and the surprising: those are the true delights of discovery when you're wandering the Oregon coast. But that's not always obvious, unless you know what you're looking at.

Case in point: three areas of this shoreline that cloister something rather remarkable, sometimes hiding in plain sight. You may actually be walking over these oddball wonders that change with the seasons and not even know it, in Netarts, near Arch Cape and near Yachats. (Above: Cape Falcon)

Cape Falcon's Secret Beach. As you're zipping along through Oswald West State Park, keep a lookout for a small, obscure road just south of the Arch Cape Tunnel and a sign that says Falcon Cove Road. There, hidden behind a thick forest and a fairly dense neighborhood, is one of the Oregon coast's oddest beaches.


It's a cove-like area comprised mostly of sizable cobblestones which are difficult to traverse. Often, the tide carves these into strange tiers, which makes it a tiny bit easier to walk on. At higher tides, the waves wash over these stones and make a weird rattling noise, which has given it the nickname Magic Rocks Beach. This happens much more consistently in winter, but you'll need to stay clear of that tide and watch from far above. Part of a family lost their lives during one winter storm here a few years back.


During summer, when the tide is decently distant from the rocks, there's a nice tract of sandy beach to stroll on, which takes you either to the garden of boulders at the north end (near the community of Arch Cape), or to a barren, surreal landscape of rocky structures at its southernmost end.

In these rocky cliffs, however, can be found fossils embedded – millions of years old. This can only be found in summer.

Be extremely cautious and polite when visiting this spot, as it's surrounded by private homes. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler Maps and Virtual Tours


Tillicum Beach Campground. It's a favorite campground with those in-the-know, yet not quite everyone knows about this little Oregon coast gem. Sitting about halfway between Waldport and Yachats, it features miles and miles of what can be endless sand and a rather cool metal and concrete walkway going down to the strand.

It has its seasonal secrets, however, which can be an eyeful.


In winter, if sand levels get low enough, you'll encounter the rarely-seen 4,000-year-old ghost forest stumps. They're the product of sand encroachment (meaning over a few decades or so sand simply closed in around them), which killed them by cutting off their oxygen. Yet that same lack of oxygen also preserved them for four millennia.

They show up as gnarled tree chunks, extra tide-worn in appearance, and often at odd angles as if they are no longer rooted in anything (which is quite possibly the case).


If you look carefully, you can see the space between this body of water and the waves: that's the two tidelines at Tillicum

When summer comes, sand levels get much higher as they do anywhere on the coastline, and this can bring a curious double tideline to Tillicum Beach. You get these sand bars near the tideline, causing part of the ocean to go around it to the east and then the actual tideline going into the ocean. This can create truly oddball sights like waves going the wrong direction.
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Netarts. Along the Three Capes Tour, just south of Oceanside, sits one tiny village with some gorgeous wonders.

The beach at Netarts (and its “subdivision” of Happy Camp) is calmer than most because it's technically part of Netarts Bay, enclosed by the Netarts Spit (that juts out for miles from Cape Lookout State Park). It's primarily all sand, meandering a few hundred feet to the south before it dead-ends at the bay, and wrapping around a few bends to the south a half mile or so until reaching the tiny community of Happy Camp.

Its seasonal surprises are bountiful – but some of it is off limits during stormy periods or high tides. Head down to the bottom of the main road in “downtown” Netarts (turn at the general store). There, you'll find a funky little trail that meanders through the brush, eventually connecting up to a ragged, metallic stairway that's embedded in the ground and looks like it was ripped from an old seafaring vessel.

Sometimes this is not traversable in rougher weather or tides.


The 80,000-year-old ghost stump at Netarts (courtesy Tom Horning)

During calmer weather of winter, when either the tides are way out or the sand levels are much lower, you may find an extremely ancient set of secrets. One is a newly-discovered ghost forest stump See New Ghost Forest Found at N. Oregon Coast's Happy Camp a Chilling Reminder. Even more eye-popping is a ghost forest stump that's about 80,000 years old. Hotels in Oceanside - Where to eat - Oceanside Maps and Virtual Tours

 


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