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Hug Point and the Road in the Cliff

Category: Exploring Nature Item

Back to Cannon Beach and Vicinity

GPS Coordinates: 45.828387, -123.96124

Located just to the south of Cannon Beach, Hug Point State Park has some great beaches and amazing scenery. Even better, because it’s a lesser-known wayside, you probably won’t encounter the huge crowds you can get at Cannon Beach, especially during the summer months. A wide band of dark colored volcanic basalt stone separates the forested bluffs from the sandy beach. This dark rock is the same material that forms many of the cliffs and “sea stacks” offshore. In between the deposits of basalt is a softer sandstone which, in many places, has been worn away by the pounding of the surf to create sea caves.

Hug Point gets its unusual name because people could only move through the area by “hugging” the cliffs. During the late 1800s, a stagecoach road was blasted through the hard basalt rock which made the journey a little easier. But just a little. Because this road was located below the tidal zone, it is completely covered in water at high tide. The road was used even into the automotive age, but the construction of Highway 101 eventually made it obsolete. You can still see and use it today when the tide’s out.

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The Road Beneath the Water

Look carefully at the right time of day and this small beachside park will reveal a curious secret – a mysterious 19th century road carved into the cliff above the surf line.