Photo of The cobble beach rocks at Yaquina Head, Oregon

Weekly Gem #179 The original Rock and roll

Published 12/8/2018

Location: This hidden gem is located at the bottom of the steps, just east of the lighthouse, on Yaquina Head, Oregon (see the  Clue Me! Map). 

This beach is enjoyable at any time. At low tide, many tide pools are accessible so you can see anemones, urchins, star fish, and a multitude of other wondrous creatures up close. But twice a day, these communities submerge, replaced by rock and roll that cranks up as high tide approaches. This is when the waves really start pummeling the cobbles.

Most of the beaches up and down the Oregon coast are sandy, quite enjoyable in all respects, but they make little if any contribution to the surf acoustics. Not so this stretch, about 500 feet long, where sand is absent for some reason, and the beach becomes a percussion instrument accompanying the pounding surf. Incoming waves lift the cobbles, then quietly withdraw as the cobbles clack back down to meet the next wave.

It's a surprisingly mesmerizing experience, to the point that people come down the stairs for 'just a few minutes' and then just keep on listening. Thankfully the tide eventually goes out, releasing visitors from the spell.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


Rock and Roll


The cobble beach rocks at Yaquina Head, which need to be experienced at high tide

Why It's Interesting

At high tide, and especially in high surf, the waves push the cobbles up. When the wave recedes, the cobbles roll back down, clacking as they go. It’s a sound combination that you may never hear again, so make sure to stop and listen.

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