This is one of my favorite beaches along the Oregon coast. It offers everything you could want: sea stacks, a small cave, driftwood, surf and sand — oh, and a waterfall that pours directly onto the beach.
I was pushing my luck with this stop at Hug Point. I had a tight schedule to keep — I needed to get back to Portland, check into my hotel, then return my rental car in just a couple of hours. I really should have turned east at Tillamook, but instead I kept driving north on US 101. I couldn’t pull myself away from the Pacific Coast. “Just one more stop,” I told myself. And I knew the perfect place: Hug Point.
I had stopped here at least once, maybe twice before. It’s a great little beach with that classic Pacific Coast feel. It wouldn’t take long to say my goodbyes to the ocean.
Take just a few steps from the parking area, and you’re on the beach. I took this picture of a driftwood log, in front of one of Hug Point’s most notable features: a small cave at the north end of the beach.
That picture isn’t nearly as good as this one, which I took back in 2007. Different log, different spot. But you’ll notice, in the distance, those waves were coming way up the beach, practically all the way to the cave. On this (supposedly quick) visit, though, the tide was much lower, and I realized that I could, heck, I should, walk around that tiny bluff and see what was on the other side. Much to my surprise…
… I discovered an even more picturesque scene, that included a waterfall! Yes, a small creek drains directly onto the beach here…
… making one final tumble over a fantastic waterfall, just before draining into the Pacific. It turns out, this is Fall Creek, and the waterfall is commonly referred to as Hug Point Falls. Thanks to the recent rain (yes, I did find a way to appreciate all the storms I had endured over the past week), there was plenty of water flowing, creating a very nice cascade.
According to waterfallsnorthwest.com, the waterfall is about 15 feet tall. It also says that the actual Hug Point…
… is this protrusion of the state of Oregon, just to the north of the waterfall. It was so named, because the wagons of early settlers had to “hug the cliff” to stay out of the ocean.
And speaking of hugging the cliff, I’m pretty sure that it would be nearly impossible to reach this part of the beach at high tide. It would also be a bad idea to enter this area at low tide, then hang out for a few hours, only to discover that your return path was underwater.
Yeah, I would have loved to hang out here for a few hours. But, I only had a few minutes. I was already using up all of the “cheat time” in my schedule. I shot a few quick photos, and reluctantly headed back.
This, by the way, is the view looking south. The bird in your photo may vary.
I reluctantly left the Pacific Ocean behind, and set a non-stop course for Portland: north on US 101 to Cannon Beach (another of my favorite places), then east on US 26.
The Bottom Line
US 101 offers dozens of options for stopping and strolling on a dreamy, rugged beach. If you don’t have a lot of time, Hug Point is a great option. It’s free, it’s relatively small, and it offers all the scenery you could want in a Pacific Coast beach. As a bonus, if the tide is low, you can walk up to the waterfall, and beyond.
Hug Point State Park is located on US Highway 101, south of Cannon Beach and north of Oswald West State Park.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Oceanside, through Netarts, Tillamook, Hug Point, and on up to Cannon Beach: