Scenic Highway 53, Just Outside Nehalem
Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, Wheeler, Nehalem Bay Virtual Tour, Oregon Coast
Between Nehalem and Wheeler sits the junction of 101 and Highway 53. Take this road for a shortcut (albeit a winding one) to Highway 26, bypassing the slightly longer drive northward on 101 to get to 26.
On 53, you'll find an incredible array of pastoral, rural sights, with tightly-clumped mountains, and deep, lush forests. It is reminiscent of Europe, especially Germany's Black Forest, as much as it is pure, rugged Americana.
Below, you can see the snow-covered top of Onion Peak, a favorite landmark in the Manzanita-Nehalem area.
Bottom photo: the road-cut forest bluffs alongside the highway sometimes reveal mysterious geologic features lurking below the trees. You get a cutaway glimpse into layers of time. The forest is thick here and actually slightly on the magical side.