Sandy beach
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Surfing
No
Snorkeling / SCUBA
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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!

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Great hike to the top of Proposal Rock. The "Ghost Forest" at low tide.

Cons

None.

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Comments

09/11/2018
Seems to be a hidden gem on the Oregon Coast. A very scenic beach with limited visitors right on 101.
09/05/2017
Neskowin is a special place on the Oregon coast in that it is very accessible but very few folks go there. Make no mistake, every beach rental is locked up for most of the summer but even so, there are long stretches of the beach where there seems to be no one around. I was just there with my family for several days and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Residents there are very kind and the overall vibe is welcoming.

As a surfer, the one downside to this idyllic spot is the lack of consistent, good breaks. According to some of the locals, the mainstay sand bars have gotten chewed up over past winters and haven't really come back. For this reason, I never consider going there for surf but instead head north to Pacific City or south to Lincoln City.

I'm happy to report that this may be improving. On this most recent trip, I found 2-3 consistently breaking spots that seems to work best at or on either side of low tide. While the waves weren't huge (chest high at best), the waves were well shaped offering fun rides and even some barrel opportunities.

A good place for novices to work out the kinks though there is a strong North/South rip that kicks up at high tide and some gnarly inside double-ups thanks to beach erosion to watch out for.

All things being equal, Neskowin may never be a popular surf destination but that doesn't mean it isn't worth checking out when the forecast looks good at neighboring hot spots. The breaks I'm referring to are all north of Proposal Rock, so try looking for a parking spot around Mount Angel Avenue off of Breakers Blvd.

Note: The only restrooms are at the main parking lot and there are no public showers or rinse areas that I'm aware of.
04/15/2017
A few shots from my visit a couple weekends ago. This place has definitely kept its charm!
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