This is the second of two parts on a section of the Oregon Coast between Cannon Beach and Depoe Bay. It’s a part of the coast where you can make a sort of loop from Portland. Just take Highway 26 west from town and head all the way over to Cannon Beach. Then travel south on Highway 101 through Tillamook (did somebody say “cheese tour”?) and on to Lincoln City. Past this large town is a beautiful stretch of coastline to Depoe Bay. From here you can backtrack to Lincoln City then take Highway 18 back to Portland.
On the way south to Depoe Bay, a beach stop I can definitely recommend is Fogarty Creek. This state park has two access points about 1/4 mile from each other; turn east off the highway. Either one takes you to a large grassy and treed area where you can park and picnic. But the real show is out on the beach. Walk the short trail along the pretty creek to a wild beach where you can explore for fossils and agates. It’s easier to walk north; southward you’ll soon be blocked by a headland in all but very low tides. The fossil clams and other concretions are very easy to find in the rocks along the beach.
Depoe Bay is one of those little towns that make the Oregon Coast popular with those who like cute towns and plenty of gift shops. It has an excellent little whale-watch museum/station where volunteers are very eager to show you gray whales if they are visible. There are also whale-watch tours that leave from the snug little harbor. You can see them year-round, but spring and late fall are probably best.
Boiler Bay is a great place to explore. You will see a sign for it on the left as you drive out of Depoe Bay heading north. You can pull off and get a view of the bay. This is a good place to watch for whales. But to access the shore of the bay for its excellent tide-pooling and exploration you’ll need to do a little more work.
Access is impossible from the viewpoint, but if you’re adventurous enough to handle the slippery rocks, you can certainly handle finding the access. So I won’t spill the beans here (I might anger a local!). This is the second time I’ve explored down here. There were a healthy number of tourists up above, but despite the fact they could see me from the viewpoint, I had the bay to myself.
The rocky coastline at Boiler Bay is really only navigable during low tide, and my timing was good in that respect. Making my way over slippery rocks, around small headlands and into coves where you never know exactly what you’ll find, peering into tidepools at sea-stars, anemones and crabs: this is what I love best to do on our coast. The old rusty boiler for which this place is named has been sitting in this spot since 1910 when the ship it came from exploded and sank. For me it made a good subject despite average light for photos.
What a spectacular place and day! A couple gray whales were spouting just offshore of the bay mouth. I watched them for awhile but they were too far for pictures. This is a fine spot to go tidepooling, and I want to come back for sunset pictures someday, hopefully when we have unusually low tides. All in all a great foray to the Coast. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and story.