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Two Oregon Coast Mystery Beaches with Something to Hide

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By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Two Oregon Coast Mystery Beaches with Something to Hide

(Oregon Coast) – Sometimes, beaches on the Oregon coast are not what they seem. Like a sandy version of Jekyll and Hyde, they may have two faces in a way, hiding from you a part they don’t want you to see. Or maybe they lead a double life, in a manner of speaking. (Above: Bayocean, the ghost of a ghost town).

Two such spots on the Oregon coast fit just that category: they have their deep mysteries. In one instance, the discovery is the history behind the beach. In another, one little spot has a big surprise awaiting you, depending on conditions. It’s also a deadly surprise.


Mysterious Cape Cove Beach: As you’re zipping through the Yachats area and past Cape Perpetua, if you’re looking carefully you may spot a trailhead you haven’t seen before, perhaps 200 feet south of Cape Perpetua Lookout Road. A small patch of gravel and a wooden ranch-like fence surrounding it, you may not give it a second glance.

Indeed, depending on the time of year, you may not eve bother. This is Cape Cove Beach and the Cape Cove trail, and if it’s wintertime it may not exist in the first place.

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A mostly paved path winds its way down, where a few hundred feet of beach lines the southern face of the Devil’s Churn area. A labyrinth of rocky slabs dots these wet sands. This little cove runs a ways into the cliffs, ending at a stream that pours from the Earth. On good days, you can see the tide has come up far, close to the entrance way. You should also take note of the gigantic logs piled high farther back from the access point, towards the cliffs: the frightening supremacy of the sea is clear here.

If you come down here in winter – well, you just can’t a lot of the time. Cape Cove Beach seems to exist only a little more than half the time, as waves often fill it up. The cove becomes a bay and there’s no way you can set foot here when that happens.

It’s not unusual to wander from the Devil’s Churn, over the rocky outcropping and to its southern side, and see nothing but raging ocean water stretching all the way back to where Cape Cove Beach would be. Luckily, this south side of Perpetua hosts a bench where you watch the wild waves.

When this tiny Oregon coast wonder does exist, however, it’s mounds of fun. You can saunter up to the base of the rocks that form the Devil’s Churn area on that southern side and check out the marine life growing in masses. Walk a ways south and the beach an engaging stretch of basalt blobs and lovely, soft sand. Interesting colors are found embedded in some of the rocks. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Yachats Maps and Virtual Tours

Ghost Town Bayocean: These days, the north Oregon coast’s Bayocean Spit caps Tillamook Bay and makes for a gorgeous hike that's several miles round trip, eventually taking you to habitats of seals, sea lions and birds that can't be seen anywhere else. Aside from the stretch of flatter, harder sand by the tideline, it's mostly fat, puffy dunes.

Yet it wasn’t always this way. In fact, for a time about 100 years ago, it was flatter – a lot flatter. And there was a town there. Thanks to several factors, the town of Bayocean is a ghost of a ghost town: one that you no longer can see.

It all began about 1906, when a man named Potter started the town of Bayocean on the spit, having its grand opening in 1912. Miles and miles of roads were packed into the place, along with 100's of home sites platted. Bayocean hosted a salt water bath (natatorium), at least one grand hotel and a music hall, setting its sights on being the “Atlantic City of the West,” as the slogan went.

Construction of the north jetty of Tillamook Bay in 1914 began to change the landscape. Erosion started eating away at Bayocean soon after, but just as quickly Potter's dealings and investments began to sour. By the '20s and '30s, the resort had closed and reopened a few times as erosion started eating away more and more of the spit.

The Great Depression and then wartime finally killed off all hopes of restarting the sprawling Oregon coast resort, and by the '40s numerous buildings had fallen into the sea. Yet the town did not completely cease to exist until 1953 when the post office finally closed.

The following year, a major storm tore through the spit and for a few years it was an island and a smaller spit. Nature reconnected them eventually, but by the 1970s the last remnants of Bayocean were bulldozed by the government – which was less than ten years after the south jetty was constructed. Oregon Coast Hotels in these areas - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

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