From Tillamook Head south to Seal Rock, many of the Oregon Coast headlands were formed 20 million years ago from basalt that originated as far as 300 miles to the east. Some of this basalt dates from the middle Miocene era, long before the creation of the Cascade Mountains. It was carried west over thousands of years by the massive floods that sculpted the Columbia River Gorge as we know it today. Few of these headlands reflect this geological history as well as Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, where the black lava clearly defines the boundary between land and sea.
The wayside is also a terrific stopping point for viewing gray whales. Gray whales will migrate as many as 12,000 miles annually. There are two key time periods when the largest number of whales pass Oregon's shores. Between late December and the beginning of January the gray whales make their way down to the calving lagoons of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, and between mid-March and early April the whales return north to Alaska to feed. The best opportunities for viewing the whales are during these two periods, though you may also see whales in late summer when the roughly 200 resident whales stick around the central Oregon coast to feed. Visit the Whale Watching Spoken Here site for more information.