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Oregon Coast Tidepools - Map and Comprehensive Guide
Oregon Coast Notes - News

Harris Beach State Park in BrookingsRocky intertidal areas, or tidepools, are unique marine environments that offer a glimpse into the marine realm.  These areas are biologically rich and have evolved to take advantage of, as well as withstand, the environmental rigors of the edge of the sea. Submerged rocky reefs are also scattered along the coast. These areas are critical habitat for a wide variety of marine species, from encrusting corals and sponges to invertebrates, fish, and marine mammals and seabirds. In waters less than 80 feet deep, Bull kelp [Nereocystis luetkeana], a large marine algae, is associated with these rocky reef structures. The presence of kelp adds a third dimension to the reef and creates additional habitat.

Oregon's rocky shores are artifacts of dynamic geologic processes; for thousands of years the Pacific Ocean has Harris Beach State Park in Brookingsworked against the rocks of the land, exploiting variations of hardness and orientation in the rocks, seeking out the zones of weakness caused by fractures and faults, eroding deeper into the coastal mountains. Because of this variety of geologic origins and processes, Oregon's rocky shores are mixtures of kinds, types and conditions. While there are some similarities among sites, each is unique.

Volcanic basalt, a resistant rock, forms the cliffs and rocks along the north coast at Cape Lookout, Seal Rocks, Haystack Rocks [there is a Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, a Haystack Rock at Pacific City, and a Haystack Rock at Bandon], and Otter Rock. South of Coos Bay, the reefs and rocks of Cape Arago are tilted layers of hardened sedimentary rocks that once formed on the ocean floor. Further south, remnants of ancient metamorphic rocks form the cliffs, offshore rocks and reefs such as Coquille Point, Cape Blanco, Cape Sebastian, and Cape Ferrelo.

PortOrfordCoveThe rise of sea level after Earth's most recent ice age accelerated erosion against the land and drowned remnant rocks and islands before they could be completely worn away. Rogue, Orford, and Blanco reefs are the largest of these drowned remnant rocky landscapes covering thousands of acres with only the tips of rocky spires now visible above water. Because of this variety of of this variety of geologic origins and processes, Oregon's rocky shores are mixtures of kinds, types and conditions. While there are some similarities among sites, each is unique. geologic origins and processes, Oregon's rocky shores are mixtures of kinds, types and conditions. While there are some similarities among sites, each is unique.PinkByErin

Tidepools are created when the tide goes out from rocky coastal areas, leaving water in crevices and holes.
These intertidal (between tides) places support a unique and diverse assortment of plants and animals.
The organisms that live in the intertidal areas have to be able to withstand a wide variety of fluctuating environmental conditions. For example, when it rains, they can get inundated with fresh water. When it gets sunny, the smaller pools can get very warm or conversely, very cold during the winter months.

StephanieSarles6Some species, like those living closest to land (and further up on the rocks), have to be able to survive for long periods of time without any water. For example, barnacles may be exposed for many hours without any water reaching them. Then, when the tide comes in, the same organisms must survive the harsh conditions of ocean life.
Tidepool species are specially adapted for life in intertidal areas, which makes them unique and very special.
Oregon's intertidal areas have such high species diversity that they have been compared to tropical rainforests.

Be Safe and Be Respectful of the Tidepool Inhabitants

HarrisBeachStateParkinBrookings2While it may seem fun to do so, it is best not to poke, prod, pry off, squash, collect or otherwise injure plants and animals of the rocky shore. If you want to see how something feels, it is best to first wet your hands then do so very gently. Prying animals off rocks can tear off their arms and feet and squeeze out their organs! For some species (like mature mussels), not only can they not reattach themselves (and will die) once pulled off a rock, it can also take years for others to grow back.

Every tidepool species has its place in the rocky shore ecosystem. A rocky shore inhabitant's tolerance to changing temperature, desiccation (drying out) and other natural forces such as battering surf, along with everyday things such as how they feed and reproduce determines where in the rocky shore it lives.

  • Moving something (even a small distance) can disrupt the delicate balance and even kill it.
  • Different kinds of organisms live on the top and bottom sides of rocks, so if you do disrupt a rock, please put it back the way you found it. Please, do not leave rocks overturned, as this will likely result in the death of all its inhabitants.
  • Try your best to step on bare rock and sand when possible, not only will you be safer but so will the species that call tidepools their home. That crunching sound beneath your feet is probably a barnacle; if it sounds "squishy" it may be a sea anemone.
  • Some species have natural defenses to protect themselves from predators. These defense mechanisms can sometimes hurt humans.
  • Anemones have stinging cells called nematocysts that they use to stun prey and scare off predators. Some people can have allergic reactions to anemones.
  • Crabs have very sharp and strong claws that allow them to protect themselves and gather food. They will run away and hide as you approach, however if you decide to pick one up, be very careful!
  • While tidepool creatures are accustomed to the natural forces of wind and waves, these actions are quite different than that of a human foot or hand. Scientists have shown that human use of tidepools can have a negative effect on the creatures that live there.
  • The best way to be a good tidepool steward is to observe the species in their natural environment and take pictures to remember your experience. Also, there are many interpretive programs, some of which offer touch-tank experiences.

Tide Pool Interpretive Programs:

Several places along the Oregon coast offer interpretive programs that give you the opportunity to learn more about the species and their habitats. Several have a touch tank and other fun educational opportunities.

Haystack Rock Awareness Program has seasonal interpreters that offer an educational display, microscopes, touch tanks and tidepool rangers to answer questions;

Ecola State Park (near Cannon Beach)Oswald West State Park (near Manzanita) offer seasonal rocky shore interpretive programs.

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, just north of Newport, has a visitor center and guided tidepool walks;

Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor’s Center are both in Newport

Seal Rock State Recreation Area, just south of Newport, has a seasonal rocky shore interpretive ranger that offers educational opportunities down in the tidepools;

Yachats State Recreation Area, in Yachats, has a seasonal rocky shore interpretive ranger that offers educational opportunities down in the tidepools;

Cape Perpetua Visitors Center, just south of Yachats offers ranger led tidepool walks;

Carl B. Washburne State Park (south of Yachats) offers seasonal rocky shore programs both at the campground and at the Strawberry Hill wayside in nearby Neptune State Park.

Shoreline Education for Awareness offers programs in the spring at Coquille Point (Bandon), and at the Simpson Reef overlook, near Coos Bay in the summer;

Sunset Bay State Park (near Coos Bay) has seasonal rocky shore interpreters that offer campground and tidepool programs;

Harris Beach State Park (near Brookings) has seasonal rocky shore interpreters that offer campground and tidepool programs.

A List of Oregon Coast Tidepools

Some of the Oregon Coast tidepools are a bit harder and some a bit easier than others to get to. That said, they are all accessible.

Ecola State Park - Two miles north of Cannon Beach. Just take Hwy 101 to Cannon Beach and follow the signs.

Haystack Rock - Located in Cannon Beach. Just look for the largest rock you can see. ;)

Oswald West State Park - 10 miles south of Cannon Beach, along Hwy 101.

Cape Meares - 10 miles west of Tillamook on the south side of the Cape.

Maxwell Point - Located next to Oceanside, 9 miles west of Tillamook.

Cape Lookout - 18 miles south of Tillamook, on the south side of the Cape. Just take the Pacific City Loop off Hwy 101.

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area - This is one mile north of Pacific City. Take Hwy 101 18 miles north of Lincoln City and then turn west on the Three Capes Scenic route.

Otter Rock - Take 101 to the Devil's Punchbowl, 9 miles north of Newport. Turn off between mileposts 132 and 133.

Yaquina Head - Four miles north of Newport. Turn west off 101 at Lighthouse Road in Agate Beach.

Seal Rock State Recreation Area - 12 miles south of Newport, off of Hwy 101.

Yachats State Recreation Area - North of the Yachats River. Take 101 and turn west on 2nd Street or Ocean Drive.

Cape Perpetua - Follow 101 two miles south of Yachats. The Visitor's Center is between mileposts 168 and 169.

Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint - These accessible Oregon Coast tidepools are located three miles south of Yachats, off of Hwy 101.

Bob Creek to Bray Point - This adjoins the southern boundary of Neptune State Park. Access to the intertidal area is south of Bob Creek.

Sunset Bay State Park - Nine miles south of Coos Bay and less than ½ mile south of the Cape Arago Lighthouse.

Cape Arago State Park - 11 miles south of Coos Bay.

Five Mile Point - To find these Oregon Coast tidepools, you need to take Seven Devils Road 13 miles south of Coos Bay, off of 101. Use the public access road at Whiskey Run Beach.

Coquille Point - Located just west of Bandon.

Cape Blanco State Park - About 10 miles northwest of Port Orford. Turn off 101 north of Port Orford and simply follow the signs.

Port Orford - Once in Port Orford, go west on 9th Street off of Hwy 101. The main intertidal area is north of the boat dock.

Rocky Point - Located three miles south of Port Orford, off 101.

Arizona Ranch Beach - 12 miles south of Port Orford, adjacent to the Arizona Ranch Campground. There is a fee to get into the campground where the Oregon Coast tidepools are accessible from.

Lone Ranch Beach - Five mile north of Brookings, off of Hwy 101.

Harris Beach State Recreation Area - Just north of Brookings and west of the campground.

Winchuck Beach - Access is from the road parallel to the north side of the Winchuck River. This intertidal area is located ¾ of a mile north of the parking lot.

Tidepool MapTidepool Map Guide

Oregon Coast Tidepools

 

Some of the Oregon Coast tidepools are a bit harder and some a bit easier than others to get to. That said, they are all accessible.

 

Ecola State Park - Two miles north of Cannon Beach. Just take Hwy 101 to Cannon Beach and follow the signs.

      

Haystack Rock - Located in Cannon Beach. Just look for the largest rock you can see. ;)

      

Oswald West State Park - 10 miles south of Cannon Beach, along Hwy 101.

      

Cape Meares - 10 miles west of Tillamook on the south side of the Cape.

  

Maxwell Point - Located next to Oceanside, 9 miles west of Tillamook.

      

Cape Lookout - 18 miles south of Tillamook, on the south side of the Cape. Just take the Pacific City Loop off Hwy 101.

      

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area - This is one mile north of Pacific City. Take Hwy 101 18 miles north of Lincoln City and then turn west on the Three Capes Scenic route.

      

Otter Rock - Take 101 to the Devil's Punchbowl, 9 miles north of Newport. Turn off between mileposts 132 and 133.

      

Yaquina Head - Four miles north of Newport. Turn west off 101 at Lighthouse Road in Agate Beach.

      

Seal Rock State Recreation Area - 12 miles south of Newport, off of Hwy 101.

 

Yachats State Recreation Area - North of the Yachats River. Take 101 and turn west on 2nd Street or Ocean Drive.

 

Cape Perpetua - Follow 101 two miles south of Yachats. The Visitor's Center is between mileposts 168 and 169.

 

Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint - These accessible Oregon Coast tidepools are located three miles south of Yachats, off of Hwy 101.

 

Bob Creek to Bray Point - This adjoins the southern boundary of Neptune State Park. Access to the intertidal area is south of Bob Creek.

 

Sunset Bay State Park - Nine miles south of Coos Bay and less than ½ mile south of the Cape Arago Lighthouse.

 

Cape Arago State Park - 11 miles south of Coos Bay.

 

Five Mile Point - To find these Oregon Coast tidepools, you need to take Seven Devils Road 13 miles south of Coos Bay, off of 101. Use the public access road at Whiskey Run Beach.

 

Coquille Point - Located just west of Bandon.

 

Cape Blanco State Park - About 10 miles northwest of Port Orford. Turn off 101 north of Port Orford and simply follow the signs.

 

Port Orford - Once in Port Orford, go west on 9th Street off of Hwy 101. The main intertidal area is north of the boat dock.

 

Rocky Point - Located three miles south of Port Orford, off 101.

 

Arizona Ranch Beach - 12 miles south of Port Orford, adjacent to the Arizona Ranch Campground. There is a fee to get into the campground where the Oregon Coast tidepools are accessible from.

 

Lone Ranch Beach - Five mile north of Brookings, off of Hwy 101.

 

Harris Beach State Recreation Area - Just north of Brookings and west of the campground.

 

Winchuck Beach - Access is from the road parallel to the north side of the Winchuck River. This intertidal area is located ¾ of a mile north of the parking lot.

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