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Why Do People Visit Haystack Rock?

If you’ve ever seen the classic movies The Goonies or Kindergarten Cop, then you’ve witnessed Haystack Rock. One of the most iconic landmarks on the west coast, this rock isn’t an average rock. This location has history, stardom, and stunning scenic beauty, surpassed only by the nearby Pacific Ocean.

If you need more reasons to visit this natural wonder, read on. Let’s get started!

Where Is Haystack Rock? 

Haystack Rock is in Cannon Beach, on the northern coast of Oregon. This popular destination is 80 miles from Portland and 25 miles south of the Washington border, so it’s easy to get there.

The quaint coastal Oregon town of Cannon Beach offers a serene respite from city life. 

How to Get to Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon, is off U.S Highway 101. Whether you’re coming in from the north or south, it’s less than a mile from the highway. Getting to Haystack Rock can also be just as easy, depending on the time of day. You can access the rock by foot from Cannon Beach, and there is a convenient public parking lot on South Hemlock Street and Gower Avenue. 

Why Do People Visit Haystack Rock?

Getting here might be easy, but why do people visit Haystack Rock in the first place? Some may say that it’s almost like being on the location of your favorite movie set. Not only did people film scenes from The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop there, but also scenes from Twilight.

But there are more reasons to visit this natural wonder than dreams of Hollywood. Haystack Rock is famous for its tidepools of sea life, diverse bird populations, including the mysterious Tufted Puffins, and a beach with miles of pristine, sandy coastline. The sunsets are also some of the most colorful natural art pieces you’ll ever experience. 

Sun setting behind Haystack Rock.
Featured in many famous films, Haystack Rock is a unique site worth visiting.

Can You Actually Get to Haystack Rock?

Getting to Cannon Beach is easy, but getting to Haystack Rock might take a bit of planning due to tide waters. When the tide is high, you may need to swim to get there.

However, at low tide, you can walk up to Haystack Rock and take in all its 235 feet of wonder.

Are There Other Haystack Rocks?

While more people know of the haystack rock in Cannon Beach, there are two other haystack rocks along the Oregon Coast. One, south of Cannon Beach in Pacific City, is often confused with the one in Cannon Beach. However, the main difference between the two is the location. 

Pacific City’s Haystack Rock is a mile into the sea and is only accessible by boat. Even then, this haystack rock, like the one on Cannon Beach, is a government-protected environment, so boaters keep their distance. The third one is even further south in Bandon. Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock is the more famous of the three.

Pro Tip: While visiting Haystack Rock, spend the night at one of these 7 Best Free Camping Spots in Oregon.

View of Cannon Beach and Indian beach in Ecola State park Oregon
Head to Cannon Beach for some stunning scenery and unique hiking trails.

Things to Do Around Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock’s popularity on Cannon Beach is probably due to several factors. One is that you can access it and explore the surrounding tidepools while learning more about its protective status.

Not only can you explore the beach, but there are many other things to do here, including hiking and whale watching. 

Go Tidepooling Around Haystack Rock

Tidepooling around Haystack Rock is an exciting and informative way to spend a few hours. You may have been drawn to this area to see what Bella and her vampires saw in Twilight, but you’ll stick around for the sea life.

With creatures like sea stars, anemones, crabs, and more, you’ll be happy you did. However, keep in mind that Haystack Rock is a protected area, so there is no climbing above the barnacle line on the rock.

Attend a Haystack Rock Awareness Program

The Haystack Rock Awareness Program is an educational program run by volunteers. Every low tide from mid-February through October, you’ll find volunteers in red jackets and boots. They’re all ready and excited to answer questions and to educate.

They’ll even help you glimpse a Tufted Puffin or identify the many intertidal creatures that call Haystack Rock home.

Hike a Trail in Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park is centrally between Seaside and Cannon Beach and offers nine miles of coastline to explore, along with stunning views of Haystack Rock. You’ll begin your hiking journey in a spruce forest, ending with an expansive overlook of the Pacific below.

Cliffside viewpoints are some of the highlights of Ecola State Park. Wherever you explore here, you’ll find all that nature offers.

Go Whale Watching From the Top Of Clatsop Loop Trail

Gray whales thrive off the Oregon Coast, and catching a long-awaited glimpse of them near Cannon Beach is more than a slight possibility. It’s a reality If you know when and where to go. Their migration path from Alaska to Mexico, twice annually, is a sight to experience. The peak viewing time of around 18,000 whales is between mid-March to mid-April and mid-December to mid-January.

Clatsop Loop, a 3.8-mile moderate hike in Ecola State Park, is an excellent hike for whale watching. It overlooks the Pacific for a portion of the trail before heading inland into lush green forests.

From whales to rainforest-like ecosystems, this whale-watching trail is another reason to visit Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, and the surrounding area.

Pro Tip: While exploring the Oregon coast make sure to check out Thor’s Well.

Is Visiting Haystack Rock Worth It? 

If you’re only paying a visit to this famous natural landmark for its star-studded appearance in the movies, you might miss out on the scenery. You won’t only miss the sight of the ocean waves lapping the shore but the sea life that calls this unique place home. After all, the diverse life makes Haystack Rock worth visiting. 

Will you add Haystack Rock to your travel itinerary? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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