Wednesday I traveled about 40 miles north of where I had been staying in Glasgow (North Bend), Oregon to the town of Florence. In that distance I only saw the ocean twice, briefly. Not because of coastal fog. Because of sand.
That 40 mile stretch comprises most of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, part of the Siuslaw National Forest. Huge sand dunes, some as high as 500 feet, stretch along the coast as far as the eye can see – and they block the view of the ocean from Highway 101. I saw the ocean when I stopped to visit the Umpqua River Lighthouse and I saw it again when I climbed a wooden staircase to a viewing platform at the Oregon Dunes Day Use Observation Area. After that I didn’t see it until I was well north of Florence at the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
Here is a 4-part view of a map covering the 40-mile stretch.
Some areas of the dunes are for people only – no OHV’s (Off Highway Vehicles) are permitted, but there are several large areas (with red dots) where people (with recreation permits) can take their own OHV’s, or they can rent them from several vendors in the area. There are also companies which will take you on a ride, or will take large groups in huge dune buggy-type vehicles.
Parts of the dunes are temporarily off-limits to everyone to help protect the Snowy Plover while it is nesting:
(Photo credit: Mike Baird audubon.org)
Here was what I saw from the Ocean Dunes Day Use Area. This is a 3-shot panorama, looking left to right. The people in the second photo are two adults running down the hill. In the third photo there are several people of all ages.
When I left the Airbnb I was staying at on Thursday I noticed that there was a huge sand dune where the road I was on met Highway 101:
And here are two photos I found online:
(Photo credit: Dina Pavlis alottasand.com)
(Photo credit: thewandererschuckandkate.blogspot.com)