How Cape Kiwanda was formed

Pacific City is home to two of, perhaps, the most beautiful geographical landmarks on the Oregon Coast: Haystack Rock, and Cape Kiwanda. They represent true spectacles of nature. In a sense, we are indebted to these spectacular pieces of landscape, as they intrigue thousands of aesthetics from around the world to journey, each year, to our beautiful home–staying in our hotels, and eating from our restaurants. Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock represents the very soul and identity of our peaceful, little town. But there is a fullness to nature when we take time understand it, that should not be taken for granted. So how did these beautiful landmarks come to be?

The sand dune is truly one of the most miraculous aspects of the Cape. It is notoriously large, and the main attraction for a large portion of Oregon Coast tourists. Whether it be sand boarding, the spectacular view at the summit, or it\’s appearance on viral internet videos, the dune has much to offer. The dune has been around for much longer than the town of Pacific City itself, and though it has been trampled on for a few centuries, it remains to stand the test of time–approximately, twelve thousand years, that is. It was formed by the ripping south winds corralling sand against the Cape, over the course of a dozen centuries. Thankfully, it doesn\’t plan on going anywhere.

On to Cape Kiwanda itself. The Cape was most likely submerged underwater, millions of years ago, and revealed by the receding ocean line–hence the beautiful sandstone. It is thought of as being detached from Haystack Rock via its southwest cape, separated by erosion from the swell. Thankfully, the rock actually serves as protection against the more significant ocean storms, that are more turbulent along the open stretches of our coastline. It is actually quite miraculous that Cape Kiwanda has remained for as long as it has; a reality that should not be taken for granted!

Haystack Rock is our next object to look at in this beautiful composition of landscape. Its origins is fairly uncertain. How could such a colossal aspect of nature come to be–especially come to be, almost a mile offshore? There are two main theories behind the formation of the massive rock. The first reckons that It is a product of some sort of ancient lava flow, similar to the formation of the other Haystack Rock, in Canon beach. Others denote its existence to being the remnants of a canyon, millions of years ago, that has withstood the test of time. This is a similar explanation to the formation of Cape Lookout, as both are comprised of basalt.

Conclusively, the formation of our beautiful Cape Kiwanda, along with Haystack Rock, is still relatively unknown. Although, having some of this information, provided by acclaimed researchers, makes the experience of Cape Kiwanda a little deeper, and a little more surreal. To think of the cape as once under the ocean, or the rock as a piece of ancient history, offers a completely different type of beauty to this landscape that everyone is able to appreciate.