Smuggler's Cove Rocky Shore

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About the Smuggler's Cove Rocky Shore Area

Approximately 2.5 miles of cliff, associated rocks, and intertidal areas in two sections separated by Short Sands Beach (Oswald West State Park) in Smuggler's Cove at the tip of Cape Falcon. Oswald West State Park is off US 101, 10 miles south of Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Offshore rocks are part of the USFWS Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and access is prohibited, as they are important habitat for birds and marine mammals. Intertidal areas are part of Oregon’s Ocean Shore Recreation Area.
Key Resources
Limited intertidal habitat; 6 seabird colonies of about 1,000 birds total (Brandt's cormorant, pelagic cormorant, western gull, pigeon guillemot); harbor seals use rocks as haulout areas; Bald eagles live in the adjacent forest.
  What can you do here?
Limited use of the intertidal area except rock fishing and some tidepooling and sightseeing. No access is permitted to associated offshore rocks. Most park use is confined to Short Sands Beach (with surfing being extremely popular here) or the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT) on the cliff top.

Educational Opportunities
There is an OPRD rocky shore interpretive ranger that typically splits their time between Ecola State Park, Hug Point and Oswald West State Park depending on the conditions at each location (sand will change how much rocky shore area is exposed any given year). Contact Oswald West State Park for information about seasonal interpretive programs: (503) 368-5943.

Getting to the Rocky shore at Smuggler's Cove

Short Sands beach is most easily accessed from the lower Oswald State Park campground parking area (off US 101 just north of the city of Manzanita, Oregon). For most of the way down to the beach, there is an improved pathway (wheelbarrow accessible), which makes the walk relatively easy. Follow signs “to the beach” when the pathway splits, cross the bridge, and the approximately 15-20 minute walk is almost over. The trail ends at the beach and it may be necessary to cross over some large driftwood logs. The south end has a limited rocky intertidal area accessed by walking southwest across Short Sands beach. It may also be necessary to cross over a small creek that empties into the cove.

The north end rocky area is accessed by walking (approximately 1 mile) north along the beach. Most of the Cape Falcon rocky shore is only accessible visually by means of the Cape Falcon trail. The trail is accessible from the south end of Short Sands beach (near the bathroom area) or via the upper trailhead parking area on US 101. The walk is easy to moderate on a semi-improved approximately 2.4 mile trail culminating in an overlook area that affords great views on a clear day.

Public Access Option 1 for Smuggler's Cove Rocky Shore

Who Owns this Site?
Submerged and intertidal lands: Division of State Lands; offshore rocks above Mean High Water (MHW): USFWS (National Wildlife Refuge); the beach and upland are owned by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department as Oswald West State Park.
  Who Manages this Site?
The upland area is managed by OPRD as Oswald West State Park, which is part of Nehalem Bay Management Unit, OPRD Area 1. Beach and intertidal areas are managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department as part of the ocean shore.

Data for the Smuggler's Cove Rocky Shore
[7 Records Listed]

Smuggler's Cove Rocky Shore GIS Data
Data Layer

[7 Records Listed]

Information compiled by Laurel Hillmann, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, OPRD

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