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Five Nearly Aerial Viewpoints of N. Oregon Coast – and Their Secrets

Published 05/08/2017 at 6:03 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Five Nearly Aerial Viewpoints of N. Oregon Coast – and Their Secrets

(Manzanita, Oregon) – Along the north Oregon coast – specifically Tillamook and Clatsop Counties – there are numerous sensational spots to catch an eyeful from above. The high vantage points can be the most memorable, more so than those moments wriggling your toes in the sand. (Above: Cape Meares).

There are, of course, more than five. But these five in particular have some interesting aspects not always obvious to even the regular beachgoer. If you're a first-timer or an old-timer to these soaring sections of coastline, there's lots to discover.


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Cape Meares. These days, it's a longer drive to the final cape along the Three Capes Loop than it used to be: you can no longer get there from northern tip of the loop that sits near Cape Meares the village. It's barely a mile from there, but thanks to a road closure at that junction you have to drive the nine miles from Tillamook to Oceanside, then another few miles north along Meares Loop Road.

Here, it's miles and miles of ocean vistas, primal rockface, and of course that stately lighthouse. But perhaps the most interesting view comes from a tiny spot in the park's northeast corner, about where the Octopus Tree resides. This spot overlooks not just a different and striking view of the famed Three Arch Rocks (an angle where their shapes abruptly change), but you can see down into two deliriously wondrous hidden beaches. One is Short Beach, with its blob-like rock that resembles other famous structures at Neskowin or Cannon Beach. The other is Lost Boy Beach, appropriately named as getting there usually causes you to get lost to the waves.


Anderson's Viewpoint. This one is also along the Three Capes Loop (well, technically it's no longer called a “Loop” now because of that road closure listed above – it's referred to as the Three Capes Route). You'll find it a mile south of Cape Lookout State Park: a simple gravel pullout, really. Yet this is a place with a slightly dizzying view of that park below, and an apparently endless horizon of sea. It's also where plenty of hang gliders launch themselves from. It's not well known, so it's a bit of a clandestine attraction in itself.


Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach. There's way too much going on here to encapsulate quickly, with astounding views of Haystack Rock and other sea stacks to the south, as well as the closest you can get to the mysterious Tillamook Rock Lighthouse a mile offshore. Below you on the southern tip is the hidden spot known as Crescent Beach (only accessible via a mile-and-a-half hike from the road going to Ecola). A soaring, ancient tree dominates this view with elderly elegance – and has done so from photos going back at least one hundred years.

To the north of you is the trailhead that meanders several miles over Tillamook Head to Seaside.


Silver Point, near Cannon Beach.One of the most famous viewpoints of the entire Oregon coast, this is the big one that most gravitate to on a southward swing from famed CB. These manicured walls and rails are the most popular, with their striking angles on Hug Point and Haystack Rock, but another stunning spot sits at an unassuming gravel pullout just south of there.


One wild little secret here: during more active ocean days, take a look at the blob rock sitting directly west of Silver Point. You'll notice some strange wave action, where one tiny area has waves darting south to north and back, instead of coming in from the west. It resembles a strange, frantic creature in the breakers. It has to do with the reefs there, however.


Neahkahnie Mountain. Also one of the big favorites along the whole of the Oregon coast, this serious stunner above Manzanita may leave you more breathless than any other. On a clear day you can see all the way down to Oceanside's Three Arch Rocks, some 40 miles away, and Rockaway Beach's Twin Rocks are often visible. Below you is the rough, rocky shoreline at Manzanita's northern edges, giving way to its celebrated softer sands. In the distance, the Nehalem Bay is another blue body of water just inland from the ocean.

Insider's Secret: head to the gravel pullout just north of the main lookouts, then walk down the grassy slopes to witness some astounding rock structures, such as the soaring Cube Rock. Even crazier – but be extremely cautious – head to the westernmost bluff where a giant “hole” of sorts lets you peek way down to the vertigo-inducing ocean a few hundred feet below.

For even more insider's tips about these spots, follow the links. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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