Take a trip along the rugged Pacific coastline on Oregon's Pacific Coast Highway, moving past endless beaches and temperate rain forests. With landscapes dominated by waterfalls cascading over rugged cliffs at Munson Creek and farms and sandy beaches of the Oregon coast, it's clear to see how this area became one of the most photographed in Oregon.
The salt-scented, coastal air follows you as you hike among sun-dappled pathways among spiny trees, exploring the best of both worlds in the Siuslaw National Forest near the ocean. Listen to the crashing surf as you investigate tide pools or watch for whales. Nearby is the Heceta Head Lighthouse, a fully functional lighthouse built in 1894 and the brightest point on the Oregon coast. Explore an isolated wilderness in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest amid the backdrop of mountains, meadows, streams, and lakes.
The Pacific Coast Highway is home to a number of scenic and historic towns. Astoria boasts historic charm and examples of Victorian architecture. Stop in at the Flavel House and imagine life for the occupants over a century ago. A visit at Christmastime provides you with the chance to enjoy an old fashioned tea with traditional plum pudding. Tillamook has some of the best cheese in the country. Try a sample of it as you pass through the town. Seaside's famous promenade has been visited by tourists for decades. Rest your feet as you stare out at the churning eddies of water. The Lewis and Clark Memorial statue marks the end of the trail. Here you'll learn about the history of their expedition and wander around the reconstructed Fort Clatsop.
Numerous spots to explore the variety of wildlife and greenery are available in the wide array of parks that surround the roadway, such as Cape Blanco State Park. The park's scent of pine and salt of the ocean fills your senses as you hike through the trees and along sandy pathways. Eventually you'll find yourself at the historic Hughes House, still lit by rose-colored gaslight. Over 40 miles of coastline from Florence to Coos Bay make up the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Explore the coastal trails that provide breathtaking views of the sea-worn rocks of the Pacific Coast at Port Orford Heads State Park.
Visit the multitude of lighthouses in the area, such as Cape Blanco, the oldest lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Also consider Yaquina Head's lighthouse, one of the most beautiful in America. Join other visitors to the coast to catch a glimpse of the gray whales on their yearly journey to the lagoons of Mexico. Enjoy a more peaceful walk along Blacklock Point, where you can almost feel the spray of foaming ocean water crashing against the luminescent cliffs of the South Coast. Get an intimate view of coastal wildlife at the Sea Lion Caves, the only remaining mainland home of wild Stellar sea lion.
Walk on the same pathways of the explorers and settlers who forged the area along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Oregon Trail. Signs of both pathways are still apparent today, both as historical sites and permanent ruts carved into the ground.
Pounding surf, endless beaches, mature forests and fish-filled lakes provide a multitude of recreational activities for any visitor of the byway. Offering everything from hiking among the spray of ocean water to taking pictures of sea lions and whales in their natural habitat, the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway preserves the natural beauty of the coast for all to enjoy.
- Public domain. David Harrison
- Copyright © 2006 John Mocko.
- Copyright © 1999 Newport Chamber of Commerce.