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Five Wowing, Head-Scratching Features of the Oregon Coast

Published 05/11/2020 at 5:44 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Five Wowing, Head-Scratching Features of the Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – During this unusual and painful period that the beaches are closed, Oregon Coast Beach Connection is still providing information about the coast and artcles / images that serve as distraction or useful in the future.

Along these beaches, there’s always something new to discover. Sometimes, this is simply out in the open, hiding in plain sight. Other times, it lurks in an odd corner or maybe only happens at certain times of the year. The most surprising rock structures and features await the intrepid explorer willing to check things out in a little more detail. (Above: an oddity at Fogarty Beach)

Here are five such wowing features of the coast you likely don’t know anything about.

The Freak Zone of Fogarty. Near Depoe Bay, Fogarty Beach is more of a wonder than people think. The truely striking sights emerge in winter when sand levels get low enough, showing off bizarre ruts in the bedrock and downright surreal shapes that sometimes look like petrified dinosaur eggs. Then there are a shocking proliferation of fossils embedded in the rocks here.

Fogarty Beach is a wild little place visually in the first place, but it’s winter when the really wowing stuff happens. Explanations in the link. (Also see the Surfrider Inn and its Sirens Oceanfront Restaurant for a rewarding hangout that overlooks this beach).


Ocean Canyon at Cape Kiwanda. Ten years ago, this really didn’t exist. About 2011, a gigantic arch sitting at the northern face of the Pacific City wonder crumbled, leaving a vast graveyard of massive boulders around it. This accomplished two things: it somewhat sealed off the raging sea from escaping out that northern tip, and then the boulders interacted with the sands and tides and more sand was built up around them.

This enabled humans to peek into that rather mysterious area where the cape gets broken up into surrealistically-shaped islands, with a kind of ocean canyon in between. You could now wander to that edge, whereas before you couldn’t get near it. Now you see all the complex lines and intense colors of this part of Cape Kiwanda. Hotels in Pacific City

Alien Planet of Shore Acres. Few places on the Oregon coast are quite as dramatically alien and downright insane at the same time as Shore Acres State Park near Coos Bay. While the upper part is a serene garden and viewpoint to the oceanic chaos that fires off, it’s that area down below that is equally as striking as the sometimes 50-foot monsters that get created by the tides here.

So – obviously – don’t go down there when that stormy show is happening.

On that lower area of Shore Acres, it’s a dazzling other world of intricate shapes and downright head-scratching features. It’s highlighted by weird layers that jut upwards at a 40-degree angle, themselves covered in strange markings and vastly complex details. Some sections of this geologists’ dreamland are curvy and snaking in shape, twisting and winding in elaborate ways. Other parts feature darkened mushroom-like blobs covered in pockmarks; one of these is shaped more like an elongated elliptical and stretching at a strange diagonal.

Other areas host honeycomb shapes that seem to ooze along the landscape, often in shifting colors. Another chunk looks as if it sort of melted once, and yet another piece of this puzzle has remarkable ridges around it, like grooves on a container lid. Along the sandy cove that neighbors all thisyou may even find a green rock structure or two.

Puzzling Brass Signs at Hug Point, Neskowin. Sometimes the delights are in the details, and some of these are puzzling. Among them are two odd little manmade features embedded at Hug Point near Cannon Beach and at Proposal Rock in Neskowin.

At Neskowin, it has visible concrete around it. Whatever they are they’re eye-popping, stuck in the middle of an ancient natural feature. Both contain the inscription of Pacific Power and Light, and they seem to include an elevation.

Oregon Coast Beach Connection contacted Pacific Power in recent years and they had no record of these. However, a spokesman there theorized they were originally used by the power company in the '20s as survey markers.

This leads to more questions no one had the answer to: what was the power company surveying for? At Hug Point, it’s embedded in the old road that was blasted into the headland in the early 1900s. There’s absolutely no line-of-sight to anything useful nearby, such as an open space that could host power lines. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours


Cube Rock, Manzanita. Traveling between Oswald West State Park and the Neahkahnie Lookouts near Manzanita, you have to look carefully. Down a grassy slope near a gravel pullout, you may spot a rather angular rock structure. Not until you go down a ways do you realize it’s one big, basalt column jutting up from the ocean, like a small but soaring island.

This is Cube Rock, so named at least 100 years ago. It’s a spectacular oddity, looking a little like a gigantic Roman ruin of sorts.

Head to the viewpoints at the edge of the cliffs (do NOT take kids here) and you’ll also spot Pulpit Rock just to the south. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler



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