Surrounded by rocky outcrops, the area near Yachats is abundant with tidepools and ocean life. Explore our extraordinary landscape and experience a rich mix of animals who call the intertidal zone home. When visiting the tidepools along the sparsely populated 20 miles between Yachats and Florence, you will probably see more marine life than human inhabitants.
Of course, the best time to go is at low tide, when the sea life is exposed and waiting for the water to return. Check a tide table to plan your trip and keep in mind that tides of 0.0 or lower are your best bet. While you are here, you may want to add a tide app to your phone, so you can quickly check the current conditions.
The ocean pounds fiercely against the rocks, creating dangerous conditions that steal lives, so keep a good distance from the waves. Please leave plants and animals where you found them and watch your step to ensure that you aren’t stepping on a critter or taking a dangerous step for yourself.
Before you go, check out these helpful guides. For more about tidepool sea life, watch these video introductions by our owner, Drew Roslund, OSU professor and former NOAA Chief Jane Lubcheno, and Ranger Rider with the Oregon State Parks. The Oregon State Parks has created a guide to Oregon’s Rocky Intertidal Areas with helpful tips for identifying plants and animals and for keeping yourself safe.
TOP 3 YACHATS-AREA TIDEPOOLS:
No. 3: Cape Perpetua
At Cape Perpetua, a designated area for viewing tidepools is located between Cook’s Chasm and the Devil’s Churn. A paved trail leads from the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center parking lot, through walls of vegetation surpassing 5 feet tall and passes a shell midden. As the pavement ends, you will scramble across rocks to discover anemones, sea stars, crabs, muscles and barnacles. If you have some time, explore the beachy area to the north and experience the hide-and-seek feeling of the basalt rock fingers extending into the sand. Keep a close eye on the tide and be sure to leave the beach long before the waves return.
No. 2: Yachats State Recreation Area
Just west of the shops in Yachats, and along the 804 Trail, is the Yachats State Recreation Area. When the tide is low, you can descend a steep path to the intertidal area, where crevices and crags teaming with sea life are exposed. The platform is also a great place to get an expansive view of the ocean and wildlife feeding or playing in the surf. Watch for seals, sea lions and spouts of whales.
No.1: Bob Creek Wayside
The parking lot at Bob Creek Wayside is close to the rocky-turning-sandy beach. This area is relatively easy for people who aren’t as sure on their feet and for children who want to get close enough to see something spectacular. The rocks housing the colorful animals abut the beachy area, making it enjoyable even for those who’d rather not scramble over boulders.
At this location, nearly every low tide exposes enough to reward the casual observer and delight anyone with time to wander and explore. Seeing red, purple and ochre sea stars and green anemones cling to the sides of huge rocks and defy gravity under hangings is remarkable. Watch for purple sea urchins and small crabs in the divots and depressions in the rocks. If you have time and are inclined, discover the area to the south, where you will find an expansive beach and a huge, but not deep, sea cave. Bob Creek Wayside is near milepost 170 on Highway 101.
Spend some time finding your favorite tidepool!