Awesome Oregon Coast Phenomena: Sand Dunes & Ghost Forests

oregon coast sand ghost forests

Oregon Coast natural phenomena are truly awe inspiring and unusual too. After all, who would think that you could find the remains of ancient well-preserved trees and 500 foot high sand dunes along the Oregon Coast? You can.

You’ll find both just off scenic Highway 101 which runs 363 miles through Oregon, along the coast. Make a vacation of it and check out these areas. You’re sure to take away amazing memories and photos.

Oregon Coast Ghost Forests

The name given to these forests is very apt. They’re eerie, somewhat unnerving, and are just a shadow of what they once were. Nonetheless, the Sitka spruce trees in these forests date back 1,400 to 5,000 years.

Originally, these trees were 150-200 feet high, but now all you see are the stumps that remain, but they’re still very impressive. How these trees became engulfed in sand and water is speculation. Some scientists propose a tsunami or earthquake buried the trees and preserved them for you to see.

While about 100 of these ancient stumps exist, most aren’t visible unless the tide is very low. However, the ones at Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site are visible year-round and it’s only 15 miles north of Lincoln City, worthy of a visit anyway since there’s so much to see.

Get Creative With Sand

Every year area merchants sponsor a fun, family-oriented event in the historic waterfront Taft District of Lincoln City. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at a competition, this is your chance. It’s open to all ages and all skill levels, but you do need to register. If you prove you’re a master builder, you could also win a prize. Did we mention, you can also snack on a tasty s’more too? Check here for more information.

This year the event runs on August 11th. Bring a non-perishable food item when you register. Your donation goes to the Lincoln City Food Pantry, a very worthwhile cause.

Visit The Dunes

Most people have no idea Oregon has sand dunes, never mind how great they are. They’re the largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America and the best of the best are between Florence and Winchester Bay, about a two hour drive south of Lincoln City.

This area lacks the steep headlands seen in other parts of Oregon, so the wind and tides freely eroded the land. Over the years, the dunes grew up to 500 feet high and traveled in some places as much as 2.5 miles inland.

Miles of sand dunes make this area for popular with ATV enthusiasts and July 24th to 29th offers Dunefest in Winchester Bay where aficionados show off their riding skills and their custom vehicles.

Of course, not everyone’s daring enough to cruise the dunes, but you can explore these sandy areas in many other ways. Take a walk, go on a tour, or try sandboarding. This sister of snowboarding offers everything from the beginner to the challenging. The Annual Sand Master Jam on July 21st in Florence is a great event to catch a few slalom or drag races or riders riding the rails.


Exploring the Oregon Coast has never been easier and more comfortable when you stay in one of our many oceanfront condos with high-end amenities in Lincoln City and Depoe Bay.

These convenient locations offer easy access to Highway 101 and the entire Oregon Coast. Why stay in a cramped hotel, when you can relax in comfort affordably?

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Awesome Oregon Coast Phenomena: Sand Dunes & Ghost Forests

by Keystone Vacation Rentals time to read: 2 min