The narrow dirt trail between thickly thriving trees and bushes offers no hint of the spectacular vista awaiting the diligent traveler who follows the understated sign on Highway 101 labeled simply, “Fishing Rock St.”
Majestic Views Await Traveler’s Visit to Fishing Rock
The subtle directional sign conveys no hint of the majestic views available from this sparsely visited state park. Hidden two blocks west of Highway 101 in the south end of Lincoln Beach two miles north of Depoe Bay is a secret spot that few visitors find and only if they know it’s there and they’re looking for it. Fishing Rock offers unobstructed views of the open ocean and beaches stretching out north and south for miles.
When visitors arrive at Fishing Rock, the entrance looks more like a cut through a neighborhood forest than a park with an ocean view. Standing at the entrance to the walking path, you can see a corridor cut through an otherwise impenetrable forest of pine trees, cedars, wax myrtle and fir trees, huckleberry and salal bushes. When you look down the path into the ten foot high corridor of green, only about twenty feet of the path is visible. Then the path veers off and disappears around a bend. You’re staring at a living wall of green leaves and pine needles.
Without a Sign Fishing Rock The Hidden Gem Would Stay Hidden
A large sign to the right of the path assures visitors they have found Fishing Rock. As a first-time visitor I thought, “Looks more like fishing thicket.” Without the park sign, I suspect many an unwary traveler would pass by this gem. Don’t let the narrow pathway through the thick vegetation deter you from venturing into its depths.
Easy to Walk Trail is a Nice Break for Travelers
After an easy-to-walk hundred yards or so through a three-foot wide trail bordered by thickly intertwined forest, comes the first glimpse of the ocean. A peek south along the coastline, and a sliver of a view out to the open ocean. Dramatic. But on my first visit I thought, “Not sure it was worth the time and trouble to find the place.” Little did I realize this view was just the first note of an Oregon coastal visual symphony.
Persisting on through forest undergrowth now, leaving the hedge behind and walking under shore pines linking branches overhead, the trail begins an upward slope. Not too steep, and exposed roots underfoot provide ledges to assist travelers to ascend the incline. Branching off from the main trail are myriad side trails, smaller, less maintained, that traverse the top of Fishing Rock and lead to overlooks and opportunities to climb down to Lincoln Beach.
Fishing Rock Trail Forest Opens to Reveal its Majestic Views
Continuing on the main trail, there’s a break in the trees and you glance over huge tumbled volcanic rocks. Your eyes naturally follow the coast to the rock outcropping a mile south at Fogarty Creek State Park. Just a teaser of the view that lies ahead. Forging on, the trail opens onto a grassy meadow large enough for a game of Frisbee, a quiet undisturbed picnic, or for travel-vehicle cooped children with pent-up energy to run and stretch. Keep an eye on children so they don’t stray too close to the edge. The open ocean beckons straight ahead.
To the right and left the forest has receded toward the edges of the rock, but still obscures what lies beyond.
Just a few more steps and the vegetation on both sides ends and standing out on the last hundred feet of Fishing Rock you look over a tumultuous scattering of volcanic boulders, to the west, the open ocean, to the north as far as the ocean mist allows the rolling waves can be seen breaking onto sandy beaches, and to the south rocky cliffs, and the shoreline below the Surfrider Resort. When the waves break against Fishing Rock, they resound like thunder in calm weather, but when the storms come, the waves rush into headlong crashing crescendos of spraying plumes of sea water.
Stay Safe While Visiting This Hidden Gem
Trails lead down onto the rocks for the adventurous and anglers seeking rock fish. Keep in mind that waves often break onto these rocks even on calm days, so if you’re inclined to venture onto the rocks, keep an eye out for these waves, and don’t get too close to the waterline. During storms, stay off the rocks and safely away from the edge.
Every time I return to this hidden gem and gaze out at the stunning ocean vista, I stand in awe, and find myself thinking, “This is so worth finding. Fishing Rock epitomizes the Oregon Coast that visitors for a hundred years have come from around the world to see.”
How to Get to Fishing Rock State Park
Fishing Rock Street is about three hundred feet north of the entrance to Fogarty Creek Park North and less than half a mile south of the Big Mountain Coffee Roasters. Turn west on Fishing Rock Street two blocks, a fenced gravel parking lot for Fishing Rock State Park waits at the end of the road.
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