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Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is more than just an Oregon Coast Landmark

Haystack Rock by Anne HornyakOne of the most photographed places in Oregon is the Oregon Coast and one of the most photographed features on the Oregon Coast has to be Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach.

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is a 235-foot tall sea stack (aka monolith) and is the third-tallest such "intertidal" structure in the world. A popular tourist destination, the rock is adjacent to the beach and accessible by foot during low tide. Haystack Rock tide pools are home to many intertidal animals, including starfish, anemone, crabs, chitons, limpets, and sea slugs. The rock is also a refuge for many sea birds, including terns and puffins.

NeedlesGaryRandallHaystack Rock is located approximately 1.5 miles south of downtown Cannon Beach and is part of the Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site. Composed of basalt, Haystack Rock was formed by lava flows emanating from the Grand Ronde Mountains 10 to 17 million years ago. The lava flows created many of the Oregon coast’s natural features, including Tillamook Head, Arch Cape, and Saddle Mountain. Haystack Rock was once joined to the coastline but years of erosion have since separated the monolith from the coast. Three smaller, adjacent rock formations to the south of Haystack Rock are collectively called "The Needles".

Haystack Rock was granted Marine Garden status by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1990. Collecting plants or animals is strictly prohibited. Climbing above the mean high tide level (barnacle line) disturbs nesting birds and is not allowed.

Tuftis Puffin by Anne HornyakHaystack Rock is a world of biodiversity. Many Seabirds nest on the rock itself and you will be able to see tufted puffins, cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, and gulls. Low tide exposes an area of about 300 yards surrounding Haystack Rock and these tide pools are home to many intertidal animals, including starfish, anemone, crabs, chitons, limpets, and sea slugs.

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There are two other geographic features on the Oregon Coast called “Haystack Rock”. The 327 foot tall Haystack Rock at Pacific City was, at one time, “The” Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast, the other Haystack Rock is in Coos County near Bandon.


Photos by Anne Hornyak, Gary Randall and Misserion

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