The coastal dunes of Oregon are the most expansive in North America. This is the result of centuries of repetitive natural processes in which sediment carried by ocean waves was deposited on land, stabilized by vegetation and then enlarged as new sediment was deposited in front of the old. It’s an ongoing process – and one you can see with your own eyes if you hike one of the numerous trails within the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

  • Water and Sand

    Category: Way Find It

    This trail to an isolated vista is a bit difficult to find, but well worth it. Make sure you take your camera for this one!

  • Hiking the John Dellenback Dunes Trail

    Category: Exploring Nature Item

    You're invited to hike this picturesque trail which snakes through a variety of coastal ecosystems including a conifer forest, riparian areas and a dune sea.

  • The Formation (and Destruction) of a Dune Sea

    Category: General Article

    It's taken tens of thousands of years for Oregon amazing coastal dunes to form, but the recent introduction of a few plants has dramatically changed this ancient landscape in just a few decades.

  • Anatomy of a Dune Habitat

    Category: General Article

    Shaped by water and wind, coastal dunes take on unique shapes and specific functions within their ecosystem.

  • Plants of the Dune Sea

    Category: General Article

    How does a plant possibly grow on a dune of constantly shifting sand? In the Oregon dune sea, the flora has learned to adapt to a very unstable environment.

Slideshow: Dunes

  • Dunes3

    In many areas along the Oregon Coast, invasive plants have forced out the natives on dunes.

  • Dunes4

    Dunes may be the coastal ecosystem where people spend the greatest amount of their time.

  • Dunes5

    Although relatively low close to the ocean, dunes can grow to hundreds of feet in height.

  • Dunes6

    Both wind and ocean waves can move sand far inland, allowing a dune sea to expand over time.

  • Dunes7

    As the tire tracks and footprints will attest, dunes are very popular for all kinds of outdoor creation.

  • Dunes1

    Despite all that sand, plant life still manages to survive on the dunes as seen in this narrow strip of forest.

  • Dunes2

    Plants in the dune sea have developed specialized ways to gather both nutrients and water.