Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock and Canon Beach from Tolovana Beach Wayside

  • Easy (to Haystack Rock)
  • 2.2-mile loop
  • No elevation gain

  • Moderate (shuttle to Hug Point)
  • 5.1 miles one way
  • No elevation gain
  • Open except at high tide

This arts-oriented village on one of Oregon’s most beautiful beaches is grappling with its own popularity—and seems to be winning. Clusters of tasteful shops and boutiques fill the small, busy downtown. Strolling lovers, sandcastling kids, and kite fliers dot the white sand beach. Puffins, cormorants, and murres watch from scenic, protected islands.

When William Clark, Sacagawea, and others from the Lewis and Clark expedition hiked here in 1806 they found Indians using hot stones in wooden troughs to render blubber from a 105-foot beached whale. Clark bought as much blubber as the tribe would sell—300 pounds—to supplement the expedition’s lean diet, and named nearby Ecola Creek after the Indians’ word for whale, ekoli.

The name Cannon Beach dates to 1846, when the Navy schooner Shark broke up while crossing the Columbia River bar. A chunk of the deck, complete with capstan and cannon, washed ashore south of Hug Point. Two more cannons surfaced there in 2008. If you’re coming from Portland or Seaside, take . . .

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range.