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Anger and the Beauty on Central Oregon Coast: Yachats Trail Also Wheelchair Accessible

Published 02/15/23 at 9:29 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Anger and the Beauty on Central Oregon Coast: Yachats Trail Also Wheelchair Accessible

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(Yachats, Oregon) – That old line from Seinfeld: β€œthe sea was angry that day, my friends,” never ceases to be relevant on one central Oregon coast wonder. In fact, there's rarely a day the 804 Trail at Yachats completely calms down, displaying meager, rather listless waves. The other 364 days of the year it's a raging maniac to varying degrees. It's some place you don't wanna be caught dead interacting with on stormier days – because death is exactly what you'll get. (Photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

The 804 is anger and beauty all rolled into one: the ultimate drama queen or king along the Oregon coast. It's dangerous but it's intoxicating to gaze at, and it's full of a range of intriguing finds and scenic epiphanies.

Anger and the Beauty on Central Oregon Coast: Yachats Trail Also Wheelchair Accessible

Among its biggest features: it's one of the longest stretches of Oregon coast beach land that's wheelchair accessible.

Where it starts or where it ends is all about perspective, but for most it's right about Smelt Sands State Recreation Site, where a parking lot actually gets you into the trail's southern end. Yet in reality the trail begins a hundred feet or so to the south, just about where Adobe Resort hasn't quite ended yet. A comely bench and a charming little bridge welcome you to the 1.3 miles of fun and wonders. See The Adobe Resort, Yachats.

Right away you'll encounter long slabs of basalt rock (born some 36 million years ago and going perhaps a mile or so deep) bordered by abrupt cliffs that range from one foot to a few feet down. It's got plenty of open paths down, but they're sometimes slippery and you may have to briefly walk around to find a better footing.

There are times these soil-like overhangs almost create little caves. See Yachats 804 Trail History

Packed along the way are a handful of small pocket beaches, usually made up of huge, coarse grains that border on tiny rocks rather than sand. In fact, some of them are just tiny pebbles, which is pretty ouchy if you're wandering in sandals and such.

These are compelling, however, especially if tides are calm and cool. Then it's even a slightly oddball experience as there's virtually no other similar beaches on the Oregon coast (except maybe some south of Bandon).

Basalts get more captivating the farther you go, with funky little holes in some where water abruptly squirts up out of nowhere, or maybe the rocks form a kind of mini bridge.

Then you come to the big boys of the 804's spouting horns: especially the major one that exists along a sizable cut in the rock. Tides plow in, get squeezed together and the water can fire up some 20 feet or so in the air. It's the gigantic clap sound these make that really gets your attention.

All along here the basalts jut out in one way or another, but don't be fooled into a sense of security by that and think you can just wander to the edge and linger. That's where the 804 gets truly dangerous. People get swept away occasionally. There's a memorial to some kids who were lost to just that situation years ago, which also serves as a safety reminder.

Stay back from those ledges. A good rule of thumb is if there's a pool of water there, the ocean has swatted it numerous times. You could be next.

Some curiosities used to reside here, including this gigantic, skull-like driftwood, which had been there for decades (and that shows how powerful storms are here). It took off with the tides sometime in the 2010s.

The real surprise can come at the northern edge of the trail where you suddenly find Yachats has changed from black rock to sand. Many just know the Oregon coast town as those black rocks, but there's a long stretch of sand here. It's a bit of a secret spot, really.

You can find this faster by heading down NW Spencer St. from Highway 101, but then you have to be that annoying person who parks in front of someone's home. However, there's no wheelchair access to the northern end.

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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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