The town of Neskowin is just north of Cascade Head and is almost unnoticeable from the highway. Unlike many beach towns, Neskowin avoids commercialization and maintains a quiet character that contributes to pristine, uncrowded beach experiences. This area's particularly interesting features are the 2,000 year-old Sitka spruce stumps, the remnants of what used to be a forest of 200-foot trees. At low tide the remains are scattered in the sands on the southern reaches of the beach. This “Ghost Forest” made its debut after violent storms hit the coast between 1997 and 1998. The stumps are believed to have been buried and preserved by the same event that destroyed the trees – likely an earthquake or tsunami.
These features make a visit to Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site more than just an opportunity to take a sandy stroll. Imagining how our coastline has changed and discovering the forests that have come and gone creates a much more dynamic experience. Proposal Rock offers one of the best views of the Ghost Forest, the surrounding beach, and the Pacific and Cascade Head to the south. At low tide, if you are willing to scurry up a relatively steep but short trail, you’ll find yourself in what feels like a secret forest that sits atop a majestic island with views of the eerie Ghost Forest. Use caution when approaching the viewpoints on the western side of the rock, and make sure to keep an eye on the tide. If you are continuing your journey up or down the coast, take advantage of the picnic area and restroom at the recreation site. And remember, keep Neskowin quiet – it’s our little secret!