Sunday, February 25, 2024

A Day on the Oregon Coast

Ah the power of the internet!  One morning in late January, while perusing Facebook, I came upon a photo of a stunning ocean seastack and beach.  The caption said it was called "Short Beach" and was someplace along the Oregon coast.  A quick Google search located this place near Cape Meares.  That wasn't too far from home.  I immediately schemed a plan to go find it.

Mama elk giving me the stink eye

Another thing I learned from my internet browsing - the nearby Cape Meares loop road had just reopened.  Wiped out by a landslide in 2013, this scenic link between the town of Oceanside and Tillamook Bay had remained closed for over 10 years.  A second item to check out!

A kiss for junior

Leaving home one overcast, but dry morning, I pointed my car westward.  After driving through the coastal town of Tillamook (famous for its cheese) I located the north end of the reopened Cape Meares loop.  The roadway grades were steep, but boy oh boy were there some nice ocean views.  Passing by a recently revegetated road slope, I was surprised to see a dozen elk scattered about enjoying the tender, newly-planted grass.  A few of the beasts were right next to the roadway, so I was able to score some super close-ups from the comfort of my car.  I didn't even need to use my big zoom lens!  And luckily, there wasn't any traffic that morning, so no problem stopping in the middle of the road for a few minutes.

Short Beach

After the surprise elk photography session, I continued on a short distance until locating a tiny pullout with an even tinier sign indicating the trail to Short Beach.  A rickety wooden staircase led me down a steep bluff until the forest opened up to showcase a lovely, rocky beach.

The sun came out for a short while

Instead of sand, the beach was covered with millions of perfectly rounded stones.  Reminded me a lot of Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park.  A tall seastack stood prominently near the beach's north side.  I tried to walk over to it, but was blocked by a swift-running creek.  Having my rubber boots on, I considered trying to cross (and even tentatively ventured in a step or two) but the strong current dissuaded me.  I didn't want to risk falling in and getting my camera equipment wet!

Wave action

Instead, I hung out on the rocky shoreline and entertained myself photographing the waves.  The sun peeped out of the clouds for a few short minutes and I was able to capture the seastack and ocean in glorious full sunshine.

Steep cliff at Cape Meares

After enjoying this lovely beach for a half hour or so, I retraced my steps back up the staircase.  Knowing Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint was a short distance away, I decided to drive over and give the place a visit.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Cape Meares is mostly known for its lovely lighthouse, which sits at the very end of this prominent headland.  Built in 1890, it has the distinction of being the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast.  Open during summer months for tours, the Cape Meares lighthouse has been decommissioned since 1963.  From the parking lot, a paved trail takes visitors along the cape to the lighthouse.  Pausing at several viewpoints along the way, I couldn't help capturing some images of the stunning oceanside cliffs.


Another view of the lighthouse

Although the lighthouse wasn't open that day, I was able to walk nearly around it's perimeter.  One gets a nice view of the red and white Fresnel lens, lovingly preserved for visitors to enjoy.

The beach at Oceanside

After enjoying some sunshine at Cape Meares, I drove southward to the tiny town of Oceanside.  There's a gorgeous beach here, which I was looking forward to photographing.

Three Arch Rocks and frothy waves

Sadly, by the time I arrived at Oceanside's beach, clouds moved in and obscured the lovely sunshine.  The overcast, midday light was not the best for capturing this usually pretty coastline.

Cannon Beach from above

So after a quick walk in the sand, I returned to my car and decided to head northward to Cannon Beach.  It's a lovely drive along Highway 101 from Tillamook and I enjoyed the scenery as I motored along.

Haystack Rock

Another internet photo I'd enjoyed was one of the sandy dunes above Cannon Beach with Haystack Rock in the background and two elk standing on the dunes.  Although early afternoon wasn't the right time to catch the elk, I was hoping to scout out this location for future photographic opportunities.  Parking in a nearby lot, I walked a couple blocks down a side street before finding the area I was seeking.  Nope, no elk right now, but plenty of elk poop indicated they liked to hang out here.  And I was able to capture some nice images of Haystack Rock from a different viewpoint.

Another view of the iconic sea stack

Although the cloudy skies didn't give me the best light for photography, I had a nice trip to the coast, and was able to discover some new places.  Always fun to explore!


  1. I love your get up and go. Finding those gorgeous empty photographic beaches sounds a joy.

  2. We have visited the spots so often--- But it's great to see them as you see them. A great post.

  3. Beautiful photos of the beaches, sea stacks and the elk. Take care, have a great day and happy week ahead.

  4. ...Linda, these are fabulous images, thanks!

  5. Great shots! The rock features are dramatic.

  6. The Oregon Coast is definitely special. We love going there!


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