Caves, Waterfalls, Stagecoach Road and More

Hug Point State Park

Our last campsite on the Oregon Coast was in the lovely town of Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach has a popular beach and large haystack, but there are also great state parks with beaches not far from the town. One day I headed south on Highway 101 to check out two of them. The first promised caves and a waterfall which I was excited to see.

Stagecoach Road at Hug Point

Hug Point State Park has a cute sounding name but did not get its name as a romantic spot for hugs and kisses. Before Highway 101 was built, early pioneers had to travel on the beaches and at the point, a stagecoach road was carved into the rock where travelers “hugged” the cliff to get safely around. At low tide this “road” with its grooves can still be walked on to another beach. I didn’t want to walk around the point though because the waves were fairly close to the rocks and signs warned of getting stranded if the tide came up and covered the road way.

Beach view from Stagecoach Road

The waterfall at Hug Point State Park is small and did not have a lot of water when I visited, but it is always a delight to see a waterfall dropping to a beach and this was my first one on the Oregon Coast.

Caves can be found here, some that would be better for little ones as they were so narrow. One cave was fairly roomy and at the back had a large tree trunk that had been carried by the surf and pushed into a hole in the cave coming to rest against the wall. It was dark inside so I had to take the photo below with my camera’s flash. Although the surf was not close to the cave when I visited, inside it sounded loud and booming. I went out a few times to make sure the water wasn’t creeping up and I didn’t get caught by a sleeper wave.

Cave with tree trunk
Looking out from the cave’s entrance
Another cave with colorful rock at the entrance

The beach at Hug Point State Park has a number of cliffs with interesting and colorful rock formations like in the photo below.

After exploring Hug Point I headed several miles south to Oswald West State Park. Walking one half mile through the woods on a maintained trail brought me to Short Sand Beach. The walk felt like a stroll through a magical forest with trunks and roots of trees shaped into interesting formations. This would be a great place to take kids with so much to climb under over and through.

A magical forest

Oswald West is well loved by hikers, beachgoers and and surfers. I was surprised to see so many surfers walking by with their boards as well as plenty enjoying the surf.

Short Sand Beach
Surfer at Oswald West State Park

Oswald also has a waterfall dropping into the ocean. This one is thinner and taller than at Hug Point and if the tide had been a little lower, I could have walked to the base.

I walked on a trail above the beach and through a forest to capture the view below.

View of Short Sand Beach

I decided to continue on the trail and came upon many large tree roots. Walking over roots is a common occurrence on trails along the Oregon Coast due to so many old growth forests. One reviewer for this park commented that she fell and broke her wrist after tripping over roots. When she went to Urgent Care, the doctor told her she was the second patient that week with a broken wrist from hiking here.

it is hard to enjoy the forest scenery when you have to watch your feet all the time. I was fine with the roots for awhile, but when I kept encountering really muddy areas I eventually turned back and explored some shorter, less “rooty” trails.

On my walk I passed two different streams making their way to the beach. The stream in photo above was full of water and one of my favorite spots in the park. I spent some time here sitting on this mossy fallen log and enjoying the rushing water.

I loved both Hug Point and Oswald West State Parks. They were full of many interesting things to explore and simply gorgeous.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

4 thoughts on “Caves, Waterfalls, Stagecoach Road and More”

  1. Superb photos and descriptions. My son and family live in Astoria. This was new and familiar alternatively.

    1. Thanks so much Ilona! I am glad you are enjoying the photos! It is interesting to read about your family living in Astoria.

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