Viewing Oregon's Coastal Rock Formations
By Gary Hayes
Published: 09/20/2017  Updated: 08/13/2019
Rock Formations at Ecola Point
Rock Formations at Ecola Point  Photo by Gary Hayes

Coast Explorer publisher Gary Hayes answers questions from travelers as Travel Oregon's "Ask Oregon" expert for the Oregon Coast.

Question:
We are driving down the coast on 101 and want to see the magnificent, giant rocks off the coast. What towns are they near and how do we get to them from 101?

Answer:
You will find sea stacks, intertidal rock formations and offshore rocks at many locations along the Oregon Coast. There are about 1800 of these formations that comprise the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. They are protected areas that provide habitat for seabirds, seals, sea lions and intertidal creatures.

On the North Oregon Coast, the largest grouping of rock formations can be seen in the Cannon Beach area. The most famous is Haystack Rock at the edge of the shore in Cannon Beach, but a large grouping of rocks can also be seen at Ecola Point (Ecola State Park). There are other interesting large formations as you travel south including Twin Rocks off Rockaway Beach, Three Arch Rocks off Oceanside, another Haystack Rock offshore at Pacific City and Proposal Rock at Neskowin. On the Central Oregon Coast, there are groupings off Yaquina Head at Newport, the town of Seal Rock and Heceta Head.

Some of the best rock formations can be seen on the South Oregon Coast. The beach adjacent to the town of Bandon has one of the best views of nearshore rocks and most accessible groupings of intertidal rock formations on all of the Oregon Coast. The area between Port Orford and Humbug Mountain also features some notable formations and groupings that can be easily seen from Highway 101 viewpoints. Another beautiful stretch of rock formations can be seen at Meyers Beach south of Gold Beach. The 12 miles of coastline within the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor north of Brookings also features prominent groupings, notably at the Arch Rock and Spruce Island viewpoint, Whaleshead Beach and the south end of the beach at Lone Ranch. Harris Beach State Park in Brookings is another great place to access the rock-strewn shoreline.

You can submit your questions for the Ask Oregon program at: traveloregon.com/ask-oregon
Viewing Oregon's Coastal Rock Formations