Cannon Beach, Oregon


There’s just something about Cannon Beach, Oregon that makes me smile.

It’s been one of my favorite beaches, ever since I visited, back in 2004.  Since then, I’ve been back several times, and it’s always a great experience.

   The beach itself is located in between downtown Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, a 235-foot-tall monolith that’s just slightly offshore.  Haystack Rock is an iconic figure on Oregon’s coastline, and you’ll probably see it on refrigerator magnets and postcards sold all over the state.

From almost anywhere in the town, the beach is a short walk away.  Once there, you can walk for a mile or two, up and down the wide, flat beach, admiring Haystack Rock from multiple angles.

Out of all my visits here, this is the first time I made my way to the south side of the big rock, which is arguably the best side for photography, since it’s lit nicely by the afternoon sun.

From further up the beach, Haystack Rock is backlit in the afternoon, but it’s still beautiful.

Some of my best pictures of Haystack Rock are in black & white.

The “needles” rise from the Pacific Ocean, near Haystack Rock.  These smaller sea stacks, along with Haystack Rock, are protected as part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.  Even though you could swim or wade out to them, you shouldn’t climb up on them, since they provide an important habitat for sea birds and other creatures.

North of the beach, the coastline gets a lot more rugged.  There, you will find Ecola State Park, which provides an excellent view back towards the beach.  I visited there in 2004 and 2006, but I didn’t have time, this time.

The mountains are equally impressive to the south.  Some of those hills are part of Oswald West State Park, about 8 miles away.

During this visit, the birds were plentiful…

… and so were the people, although I did my best to hide as many as possible, in this shot.  A late August weekend, it turns out, is a very busy time in Cannon Beach.  I had to drive around, probably for about 20 minutes, just to find a parking spot.

And speaking of crowded, US 101 north of Cannon Beach was busy, too.  As you can see by the Drivelapse video, it was slow going as I headed north, through Seaside, and on up to the mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria:

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