Short Beach Rockhounding

• Secluded Short Beach is a short stretch of the beach near Cape Meares
• One of the best destinations for rockhounding along the North Oregon Coast

PhotographingAgate HuntingHiking OregonFishing Oregon

Short Beach, as its name suggests, is a short stretch of the beach hidden in the cove one mile south of Cape Meares and 1.3 miles north of Oceanside - the beautiful seaside community in Tillamook County. To get to the beach you will have to do a 0.25-mile hike down and up the stairs. The staircase trail was constructed by local residents after a few people got injured trying to get to and from the beach via an undeveloped slippery incline path.

The beach stretches 900 yards along the coastal line, however, it's believed that the name is not related to its length. Some of the residents think that the beach and a creek that runs into the beach were named Short after the last name of one of the early residents who lived in the area.

You can enjoy surf fishing, short-distance hiking along the beach, or simply sightseeing. Two creeks - Larson and Short are entering the Pacific Ocean through the beach. Also, there are two waterfalls - Larson Creek Falls at the northern edge of the beach and a man-made waterfall near the trail's staircase.

Next to the southern end of this beach is Lost Boy Beach. A story says that the beach was named after a local boy who disappeared here at the beginning of the 20th century. The secluded pocket beach doesn't have direct road or trail access. Access from Short Beach or Tunnel Beach on the south is dangerous even during negatively low tides. You can easily to get caught by the incoming tide. If you decide to explore this beach, make sure you do it at super low tides less than minus 2 feet (that happens only a few times a year) and return back to safety quickly as soon as possible.

Short Beach Hike
Short Beach
Short Beach Trail
Short Beach Trail
Short Beach Oregon
Short Creek
Short Beach Agate
Short Beach Agate

Agate Hunting

The beach is well-known and the most famous for the great rockhounding opportunities.

The best time for visiting to collect minerals is in the winter and spring months. It is best to show up and start collecting as the surf heads out right after the high tide. Collecting the minerals is pretty simple, just like at most Oregon coastal locations. Most minerals are just laying around and getting them is as simple as picking them up.

You may bring a hammer, geology pick, and a gem scoop along to make sure you can make your treasure collecting easier and more efficient. A gem scoop helps you pick up stones with less bending while a hammer and geology pick will assist you in accessing minerals at hard to get areas.

The examples of minerals you can find are agate, jasper, calcite, petrified wood, quartz, and zeolite.

Most commonly you will run into agates and jaspers, which can be found along the entire beach. Most agates you will find have abraded surface and are dull. Some of them are clear and small. Black, banded, carnelian and enhydro agates, a variety of zeolites such as mordenite, clinoptilolite and heulandite as well golden calcite rhombs can be found here too. Jaspers can mostly be found in yellow, red, green, gray and brown colors. Often larger specimens are attached to basalt volcanic rocks. So, you might have to use a geology pick or hammer to extract them.

The seaside cliffs contain marine fossils. The cliffs might be unstable and prone to collapse. So, do not dig and don't climb on those.

Remember to use eye protection while employing tools such as a geology pick and hammer.

Cautions: Beware of changing tides, rip currents, driftwoods, sneaker waves and never turn your back to the ocean.


Short Beach | Facts

Open: Year-round
Managed by: Oregon State Parks

Services: None
Activities: Beachcombing and hiking

Distance from the parking: 0.25 miles
Elevation gain: 100 ft
Road access: Any vehicles
Day-use fees: None

Short Beach is located:

  • 1.3 miles north of Oceanside
  • 10 miles west of Tillamook
  • 83 miles west of Portland.

Adventures Nearby

Directions to Short Beach

From US 101 in Tillamook,

  • Take OR 31 west (3d Street) and follow west 8.8 miles to Cape Meares Loop
  • Bear right onto Cape Meares Loop and follow 1.2 miles to the small parking area along the road and trailhead.

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