Our coast is full of natural wonders, from 300-foot waterfalls to ghost forests to giant, ancient rocks rising from the sea.
Located in Neskowin, Proposal Rock has a long history of romance, with many a visitor going down on one knee. The sea stack rises just off the beach where Neskowin Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. Proposal Rock is crowned with a scrubby Sitka spruce woodland, and bald eagles are often seen perched in the trees.
Neskowin Ghost Forest
South of Proposal Rock lies a 2,000-year-old drowned forest, or “ghost” forest, that can be spotted when the tide is right. It’s speculated that these trees wound up in the ocean as a result of a sudden subduction caused by an earthquake. The ghost forest became visible after a fierce winter storm and is best spotted at low winter tides.
A 327-foot-tall monolith rests just offshore from Pacific City—the iconic Haystack Rock is the backdrop of the town. Thought to be one of the largest sea stacks in the world, it can be seen from the Cape Kiwanda Natural Area and from other oceanfront spots in Pacific City.
Three Arch Rocks
Three large islands totaling 15 acres, shot through with tunnels and archways, Three Arch Rocks are part of a natural wildlife refuge that protects Oregon’s largest seabird nesting colony. The islands are closed to public access but make for gorgeous views.
Munson Creek Falls
One of the tallest waterfalls on the Oregon Coast at 319 feet, Munson Creek Falls is a short walk from the parking lot and is an important location for salmon spawning.
The bay is protected from the open ocean by shoals and a three-mile sandbar. It is surrounded by the Coast Range and the city of Tillamook on the southeast border. The many rivers that feed the bay are known for their prolific steelhead and salmon runs, and the mixing of freshwater with the ocean’s saltwater makes the bay an estuary.
A few miles south of Lincoln City, powerful waves crash against coastal rock formations during wild winter storms at Boiler Bay. The Bay is ideal for whale watching and panoramic views. In 1910 an explosion sank the ship J. Marhoffer, and at low tide the ship’s boiler can be seen.
A natural sandstone cauldron south of Depoe Bay sculpted into the headlands by the powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean. Beginning as a sea cave, at one point the cave ceiling collapsed, exposing the churning ocean at work. Watch tide surge in and out of the crater with awesome power. Seals and sea lions can be seen congregating nearby, as well as migrating whales.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
South of Yachats, the forest and ocean meet to create a coastal wonderland.
The pounding, exploding waters of Devils Churn are at their best during high tide and winter storms. At the Devils Churn you’ll find restrooms, an information station (summer only), coffee shop and wheelchair-accessible viewpoint. See the Churn from the viewing platform located alongside Highway 101, or on foot along the Restless Waters Trail.
A beautiful, but dangerous formation, Thor’s Well can be viewed by taking the Captain Cook Trailhead from the Visitor Center. When surf is up, water shoots upward from the bowl, and then drains back into the opening. Many photographers trying to capture the action report how dangerous it is to try to get close to the spouting horn when it’s active, so if you visit, be careful and keep your distance.
*Cook’s Chasm & Spouting Horn
The Spouting Horn is a salt water fountain driven by the ocean’s power. The Horn puts on its best show at high tide and during winter storms. Spouting Horn can be viewed from Highway 101 and from a wheelchair-accessible observation point along the Captain Cook Trail.
Sea Lion Caves
On the south side of Cape Perpetua sits America’s largest sea cave and the year-round home of the Steller sea lion. The main cavern soars to the height of a 12-story building and stretches the length of a football field. Descend 208 feet in a high-speed elevator down to the caves to experience one of the coast’s best natural wonders.