Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Day at Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Some of my favorite childhood memories were weekends spent at my grandparent's house at Tolovana Beach, Oregon.  We would walk the long coastline, build sand castles with moats around them, and visit the Cannon Beach bakery for a maple bar and loaf of Haystack Bread.  Now, as an out-of-state visitor, I try to visit the vacation spot of my childhood whenever I am in Oregon.

On this summer day, Matt and I drove to Cannon Beach from Portland for a day of beach walking, tide pooling, and magnificent views.

Here is how to recreate this adventure...

Camp 18 - As I shared in a previous blog post (Oregon Coast Day Trip), I always stop at this
restaurant for breakfast.  I enjoyed my flapjacks with marionberry syrup while sitting in the grand log room.  Afterwards, Matt and I explored the outside grounds that is a museum of logging equipment.  Interpretive signs gave information about the machines and equipment.

Interior of Camp 18 Restaurant
Short Stack with Marionberry Syrup

Camp 18 Logging Museum

Tolovana Beach - Instead of parking in Cannon Beach, we took the Tolovana Beach exit and parked at (free) public parking next to Mo's Restaurant.  Matt and I planned to arrive around 10 am since the low tide was around 10:15 am.  It was a clear, beautiful day and we enjoyed our walk north to the iconic Haystack Rock - known to some from its role in the 1980's movie "Goonies".  It was about a mile and a half walk to the rock from Tolovana Beach.

Tolovana Beach
Tillamook Lighthouse at Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock - Haystack Rock is a basalt monolith that towers out of the shallow seas at Cannon Beach.  The site is a marine preserve due to its impressive tide pools and sanctuary for rare marine birds.  Matt and I strolled around the rocks at low tide - viewing the large sea stars, barnacles, mussels, and sea anemones.  Wildlife volunteers walk the area at low tide and are willing to share information and give advice.  On this day, we also saw many sea birds, including tufted puffins, nesting on the rocks.

Tide Pools
Sea Anemones

Town of Cannon Beach - Matt and I walked another mile further and ventured into town.  We visited the public restrooms and went for coffee, donuts, and a loaf of the famous Haystack Bread at the Cannon Beach Bakery.  Afterwards, we strolled around town window shopping and enjoying the quaint village.

Cannon Beach Bakery
Haystack Bread

Ecola State Park - We walked back to our vehicle via the beach and drove via 101 N up the coast to Ecola State Park. This is accessed just north of Cannon Beach.  There is a $5 fee per vehicle to enter the park.  We drove to the Indian Beach area inside the park, where we saw surfers enjoying the waves and picnickers taking advantage of the fine weather.  Matt and I took the Clatsop Loop Trail.  This hike is 2.5 miles round trip and provided views of the Tillamook Lighthouse (a decommissioned light house off Tillamook Head), large Sitka spruce forest, and Pacific Coast wildlife including butterflies, deer, and reptiles.  The trail is an easy to moderate challenge level and perfect for families.

Hiking Clatsop Loop
Tillamook Lighthouse viewed from Ecola State Park
Big Trees

We returned to Portland around 4 pm.  Our adventures on this beautiful day were the perfect end to our one week trip to Oregon that included exploring Portland, Mt. Hood, Central Oregon, and the Oregon Coast.  For more info about our trip, see the blog posts below:

Portland, Oregon - Biking, Beers, and Baristas
Cross the Cascades - A Scenic Drive from Portland to Sunriver
Glass Mountains and Lava Tubes

Tillamook Lighthouse

Please leave comments and questions below.