The drive in to Ecola State Park is an apropos warm-up for the breathtaking views held within. Sunlight spilled through the trees at intervals on the day we visited, streaming hazy rays onto the fern-strewn forest floor. Stretched across the north end of busy Cannon Beach, the coastal city hustle and bustle melts away as you take in some of the northern Oregon coast’s most renowned vistas.
Weather can add an additional element of interest to the dramatic park panoramas. When I reviewed the day’s photos, they appeared from two separate visits. Scattered cloud cover during our outing afforded us scenes both dark and stormy, and bright and cheerful.
Check out the Oregon Coast Lighthouse Roundup.
Ecola Point picnic area
Although I very much wanted to add it to my Oregon lighthouse checklist, I didn’t expect the pleasure of seeing Tillamook Rock Lighthouse on our trip to northern Oregon. I had the false assumption this lighthouse was, well, near Tillamook – and our stay was significantly north of that area. So when I bundled up against the December winds and settled at a picnic table to gaze at Haystack and Ecola Point rocks, I was surprised and delighted when I peered northwest. There stood the lighthouse on its rocky islet!
Trails at Ecola Point offer various angles and elevations to see the glorious sights of the region, but nearly all can be seen from the picnic tables perched on the flat portion of the headland. Fifty steps lands you at a picnic table facing the southern scene; fifty more to another featuring the lighthouse (now housing cinerary urns instead of a light) to the northwest.
Ecola Point viewing deck
Down the hill from the picnic area, a viewing deck allows southward views from the cliff’s edge. I was content remaining at a picnic table near the parking area, but Scott further explored Ecola Point and gathered the following helpful information for those interested in a longer excursion.
- 100 steps down broad, smooth, but fairly steep pavement reaches a picnic table for rest.
- Another 125 steps accesses a bench near the viewing deck.
- Less than 25 steps further to the deck, which includes another bench near its entrance.
- Continuing from the viewing deck, 75 steps up a paved slope reaches a grassy patch with a couple more picnic tables.
- The trail continues to the point and a second viewing deck with a great view of the lighthouse and other westward sights, but it is a long, rolling climb without seating options.
Indian Beach picnic area
Another cedar and fern forested drive leads the second scenic area of Ecola State Park. Less windy than Ecola Point, the seascapes from the bluff-top picnic area at Indian Beach are comprised of large rocks of varied shapes scattered within the rolling surf. I find it interesting how it is the viewpoints that include rocks that draw the crowds, and are considered more spectacular than simply the open ocean. It’s like the mind cannot comprehend the vastness of the nearly endless sea, and needs something more finite on which to fixate. Well, rock formations abound to the south of Indian Beach.