|Oregon Coast Notes|
|Oregon Coast Tidepools - Map and Comprehensive Guide|
|Oregon Coast Notes - News|
Rocky 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 worked 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.
The 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.
Tidepools are created when the tide goes out from rocky coastal areas, leaving water in crevices and holes.
Some 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.
Be Safe and Be Respectful of the Tidepool Inhabitants
While 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.
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;
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, just north of Newport, has a visitor center and guided tidepool walks;
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;
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.