Cannon Beach & Spectacular Oregon Coast Scenic Drive
Ecola Creek & Tillamook Head
Drive the Oregon Coast approaching from the North and take the first exit to Cannon Beach which gently winds down to Ecola Creek. Along the creek’s shores, was an Indian village and nearby, a beached whale, when Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery visited the area nearly 200 years ago. Follow the signs to Ecola State Park for some of the best views of the coast. The road winds through coastal rainforest to an impressive viewpoint on Tillamook Head.
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse & Indian Beach
From the viewpoint at Ecola State Park, you can look south to Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, and the Coast Range. The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse can also be seen offshore to the west. The Park offers hiking trails and picnic tables. You can also drive to Indian Beach in a secluded cove. The view, even from the parking lot, is good and hiking trails retrace part of the route taken by William Clark, Sacagawea and a small party of the explorers on their historic visit to the area.
Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock & Tolovana State Wayside
A drive through Cannon Beach on Hemlock Street will return you to Highway 101 south of town. Cannon Beach offers several outstanding choices for fine dining, unique cafes, bakeries, shopping and art galleries. Just south of the downtown area, Midtown Cannon Beach offers public parking and beach access near Haystack Rock. Spring and early summer at Haystack Rock offers views of tufted puffins, which nest on the rock. Low tide exposes easily accessible tide pools at its base. Just south of midtown, past Haystack Rock, is Tolovana State Wayside, which also offers parking and beach access just south of Haystack Rock. Continuing south on Hemlock Street, the road rejoins Highway 101.
Scenic Overlooks Along Historic Highway 101
Just south of Cannon Beach, a roadside turnout at Silver Point offers views of the Pacific Ocean and a great view of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock, and Tillamook Head. Just a few minutes further south and you reach Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area. The small parking offers scenic views, there are a few picnic sites and beach access. The beach features rock formations and tide pools. A few minutes further south is Hug Point State Recreation Area. There is beach access with caves, a waterfall and the remains of the old roadway, which skirted the cliff face.
Oswald West State Park
A few minutes after passing through the Arch Cape tunnel, you enter Oswald West State Park. This beautiful park has several hiking trails through scenic rainforest to Short Sand Beach and another to the end of rugged Cape Falcon. Short Sand Beach is a favorite of surfers from around the world. Another trail climbs Neah-kah-nie Mountain, excellent for wildflowers in spring. There are many picnic sites near the main parking area and a paved trail winds through coastal rainforest to the beach.
Nehalem Bay State Park
As you continue south on Highway 101, climbing the edge of Neah-kah-nie Mountain, several cliffside turnouts offer vast views of the Pacific and the coastline to the south. From here, the highway drops down to the small towns of Manzanita and Nehalem. Nehalem Bay State Park is nearby with access to ocean beaches and Nehalem Bay. The park offers hiking and bike trails. Views of the Nehalem River estuary are offered as you drive toward the town of Wheeler. Birdwatchers should keep their eyes open for heron, shorebirds and birds of prey including bald eagles and osprey. Nehalem Bay Winery is just off 101 on Highway 53.