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Wildly Surreal Structures Found Between Two Oregon Coast Towns

Published 10/26/22 at 8:23 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Wildly Surreal Structures Found Between Two Oregon Coast Towns

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – Striking, even otherworldly rocky monuments can pop up in the most unexpected ways at times on the Oregon coast. Sometimes it's a mix of mankind's interference and Mother Nature's surrealist aesthetics, too. They can defy description, it seems. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Above: the hidden cliffs just north of Manzanita)

Such sights are almost hidden in plain sight between Manzanita and Cannon Beach on the north Oregon coast. They're generally not viewable if you're just whizzing by on the highway, and if they are it's only a tantalizing, puzzling hint.

It all starts just a tad north of Manzanita, after you've passed the grand Neahkahnie Overlooks. Before you've entered Oswald West State Park – in fact immediately before that boundary – you'll see a gravel pullout as the views open up in a uniquely almost cavernous way. It's impossible to miss this sudden but brief ocean vista, where the cliffs form a kind of crescent shape.

Looking outward from the gravel parking spot, there's the one-mile-plus hiking trail heading down to Short Sands Beach, the famous surfing spot. Walk down this trail a bit, veer to the left - instead of going down to Short Sands - and you'll encounter a totally different set of inclines and cliffs. Giant basalt structures form the various headlands reside here, with craggy shapes jutting up from the ocean and bundled together as if trying to protect each other from the ocean's onslaught.

You'll also quickly notice the bulky presence of an odd, almost-square shape over the cliffs. As you approach the edges you see it's like a giant column coming up from the ocean. You're looking at Cube Rock, one of the wonders of the Oregon coast.

In another area, the sea boils and tumbles against a hidden cove, with black, jagged spires forming something akin to a creepy, post-apocalyptic cathedral (a tad reminiscent of the old school "Planet of the Apes" films). Another spot visible from these dangerous cliffs showcases more of the jagged shapes, this time with enormous holes and arches in them. Through these, you can see other headlands to the north.

Be extremely careful here, however. The drop-offs here are sudden and deadly. Staying Here: Where the Cushy and Beachy Collide at N. Oregon Coast's Manzanita: Ocean Inn

A bit more towards the north and Cube Rock, you run into the Devil's Cauldron. Here, you peer down into a wide hole in the cliffs. It's startling. A couple people have died here in the past, so finally Oregon coast officials secured fencing around it.

Head through Oswald West State Park, through the Arch Cape Tunnel, and a couple of miles up you'll pass the sign to Hug Point. Don't pass by. A waterfall, several sea caves and a raised, cave-like tidepool are all just a precursor to one of the Oregon coast's most fascinating spots. Not to mention that always-engaging remnant of a road going around the rocky point.

As you first enter, you'll spot the waterfall just north of the access (and around a bend) and a large sea cave. Inside, it's mostly debris and cobblestones, but there are strangely shaped cracks and shapes meandering into its far end. Even creepy bugs that look prehistoric. Staying Here: Distinctive N. Oregon Coast History Lies Beneath Oceanfront Tolovana Inn

Next to the waterfall is a towering, semi-pointed structure, and then around the next bend is that ancient road built into Hug Point, left over from when the beaches were still highways 100 years ago. A large sea cave hides here, and it's a spectacular place where the sunlight can create an ethereal glow on some surfaces.

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