Cannon Beach Coast
Haystack Rock is one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks, home to colorful tidepools and diverse bird life. It rises 235 feet from the edge of the shoreline. At low tide, you can walk right up to it and find colorful sea stars and other fascinating tidepool creatures in its intertidal area. Puffins can be observed on Haystack Rock from early spring to mid-summer, offering the most accessible viewing of Tufted Puffins in the Northwest. Many other varieties of birds can also be seen, making it a great bird watching location year-round. It’s part of the Oregon Coast’s geological history, formed millions of years ago by lava flows that created many of the dramatic capes and headlands on the Oregon Coast. Haystack Rock is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and is a State protected marine environment.
Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is one of the most recognizable and popular attractions on the Oregon coast. Its intertidal area is one of Oregon's seven Marine Gardens, a designation indicating its status as a protected area. Above the high tide line, Haystack Rock is protected as part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, providing habitat and viewing of a wide range of seabirds including the most accessible colony of Tufted Puffins in the Northwest. Haystack Rock's tidepools are home to many intertidal animals, including sea stars, anemone, crabs, chitons, limpets and nudibranchs. The most colorful and visible creatures are the sea stars that are exposed at low tide and the large green anemones just below the water surface. Its protected status requires that no creature or material be removed from within 300 yards of Haystack Rock and climbing above the barnacle line is strictly prohibited to avoid disturbing marine life and nesting birds. Visitors are encouraged to responsibly explore this exceptional natural area, walking only on sand and bare rock to avoid destroying the sea life that can take years to recover and preserving this outstanding natural area for all to enjoy. It's best to plan your visit to Haystack Rock an hour or more before low tide. Always practice beach safety when exploring the intertidal zone, be aware of tides and never turn your back on the ocean.
Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park
Wrapping around Tillamook Head, between Seaside and Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park stretches along 9 miles of coastline and offers outstanding sightseeing and recreation opportunities combined with a storied past. Though the scenic and hiking opportunities may be the main allure, the diversity of outdoor recreation including picnicking, tidepooling, surfing and wildlife observation make Ecola State park a destination year round.
Sightseeing opportunities begin the moment you enter the park. The entrance road meanders through a lush Sitka spruce forest, eventually opening up to a grassy bluff offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. You may recognize the viewpoint south, a scene from many published photographs. Sea stacks punctuate the long sweep of shoreline south, backed by the town of Cannon Beach and ridge of coastal mountains above.
Ecola’s trails offer cliff side viewpoints of secluded coves, forested promontories and even a long abandoned lighthouse. The park’s network of trails include an 8 mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail, and a 2 1/2 mile historical interpretive route called the Clatsop Loop Trail. Part of the Clatsop Loop Trail and the trail over Tillamook Head follow in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery. Captain William Clark and 12 members of the Corps of Discovery traveled through what is now the park in 1806 in search of a beached whale near present-day Cannon Beach. After scaling the north slope of Tillamook Head and reaching one of its viewpoints, Clarke described the vista as “… the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed…”
Stop for a picnic before taking to the many miles of trails. Visit Indian Beach, a secluded sandy beach, popular with surfers and beach goers, offering tide pools and scenic splendor. Keep a watchful eye open for the park’s wildlife, such as deer, elk or eagles soaring overhead. You may even spot migrating gray whales throughout winter and spring.