Haystack Rock

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This article is about Haystack Rock in Clatsop County, Oregon. For other features with the same name, see Haystack Rock (disambiguation).
Haystack Rock with "The Needles"

Haystack Rock is a 235-foot (72-meter) sea stack in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It is sometimes claimed locally to be the third-tallest such "intertidal" (meaning it can be reached by land) structure in the world, but there are no official references to support this. A popular tourist destination, the monolithic rock is adjacent to the beach and accessible by foot at low tide. The Haystack Rock tide pools are home to many intertidal animals, including starfish, sea anemone, crabs, chitons, limpets, and sea slugs. The rock is also a nesting site for many sea birds, including terns and puffins.

Location and management[edit]

Haystack Rock is located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of downtown Cannon Beach in Clatsop County and about 80 miles (130 km) west of Portland. The nearest major road is U.S. Route 101. Haystack Rock is part of the Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site. The area below the mean high water (MHW) level is managed by Oregon Parks and Recreation. The area above the MHW level is managed by the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Other Haystack Rocks[edit]

"The Needles" which are adjacent to Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock seen from Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock viewed on a spring day

There are at least six several other geographic features in Oregon named Haystack Rock including two others along the Oregon Coast—and either others throughout the U.S. The tallest and probably best known due to its proximity to Portland is in Tillamook County located off Pacific City and near Cape Kiwanda. It stands 327 feet (100 m) above the sea and is the fourth tallest sea stack or off-shore monolith in the world.[1]

The other Oregon coastal Haystack Rock stands 105 feet (32 m)[2] above sea level in Coos County near Bandon.[3]

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is accompanied by several smaller rocks known as The Needles.

nametypeelevationcoordinateUSGS mapGNIS ID
Haystack Rock (Aleutians West (CA) County, Alaska)Island0 ft (0 m)52°03′11″N 173°56′19″W / 52.0531°N 173.9386°W / 52.0531; -173.9386 (Haystack Rock (Aleutians West (CA) County, Alaska))Seguam C-61418668
Haystack Rock (Aleutians East County, Alaska)Island0 ft (0 m)54°17′40″N 162°40′58″W / 54.2944°N 162.6828°W / 54.2944; -162.6828 (Haystack Rock (Aleutians East County, Alaska))False Pass B-31418669
Haystack Rock (Arizona)Summit6,099 ft (1,859 m)36°58′38″N 110°52′44″W / 36.9772°N 110.8789°W / 36.9772; -110.8789 (Haystack Rock (Arizona))Chaiyahi Flat5660
Haystack Rock (Larimer County, Colorado)Pillar7,372 ft (2,247 m)40°55′56″N 105°28′10″W / 40.9322°N 105.4694°W / 40.9322; -105.4694 (Haystack Rock (Larimer County, Colorado))Cherokee Park170118
Haystack Rock (Moffat County, Colorado)Pillar6,486 ft (1,977 m)40°27′48″N 108°40′08″W / 40.4633°N 108.6689°W / 40.4633; -108.6689 (Haystack Rock (Moffat County, Colorado))Haystack Rock170904
Haystack Rocks (Indiana)Summit728 ft (222 m)38°51′47″N 86°38′07″W / 38.8631°N 86.6353°W / 38.8631; -86.6353 (Haystack Rocks (Indiana))Williams451775
Haystack Rock (Kentucky)Pillar1,250 ft (380 m)37°50′12″N 83°40′37″W / 37.8367°N 83.6769°W / 37.8367; -83.6769 (Haystack Rock (Kentucky))Slade512615
Haystack Rock (Coos County, Oregon)Island92 ft (28 m)43°05′10″N 124°26′18″W / 43.0861°N 124.4383°W / 43.0861; -124.4383 (Haystack Rock (Coos County, Oregon))Bandon1121707
Haystack Rock (Clatsop County, Oregon)Island203 ft (62 m)45°53′04″N 123°58′05″W / 45.8844°N 123.9681°W / 45.8844; -123.9681 (Haystack Rock (Clatsop County, Oregon))Tillamook Head1121708
Haystack Rock (Lake County, Oregon)Summit7,319 ft (2,231 m)42°28′17″N 120°51′46″W / 42.4714°N 120.8628°W / 42.4714; -120.8628 (Haystack Rock (Lake County, Oregon))Gearhart Mountain1121709
Haystack Rock (Malheur County, Oregon)Summit2,799 ft (853 m)43°42′28″N 117°15′15″W / 43.7078°N 117.2542°W / 43.7078; -117.2542 (Haystack Rock (Malheur County, Oregon))Grassy Mountain1136367
Haystack Rock (Tillamook County, Oregon)Island7 ft (2.1 m)45°12′44″N 123°59′10″W / 45.2122°N 123.9861°W / 45.2122; -123.9861 (Haystack Rock (Tillamook County, Oregon))Nestucca Bay1143419
Haystack Rock (Wallowa County, Oregon)Summit4,518 ft (1,377 m)45°50′04″N 117°13′06″W / 45.8344°N 117.2183°W / 45.8344; -117.2183 (Haystack Rock (Wallowa County, Oregon))Table Mountain1143420
Haystack Rock ArchArch7 ft (2.1 m)45°12′44″N 123°59′10″W / 45.2122°N 123.9861°W / 45.2122; -123.9861 (Haystack Rock Arch)Nestucca Bay1675459
Haystack Rock (Washington)Pillar3,776 ft (1,151 m)46°55′00″N 121°04′35″W / 46.9167°N 121.0764°W / 46.9167; -121.0764 (Haystack Rock (Washington))Cliffdell1520634


Composed of basalt, Haystack Rock was formed by lava flows emanating from the Grand Ronde Mountains 10 to 17 million years ago. The lava flows created many of the Oregon coast's natural features, including Tillamook Head, Arch Cape, and Saddle Mountain. Haystack Rock was once joined to the coastline but years of erosion have since separated the monolith from the coast. Three smaller, adjacent rock formations to the south of Haystack Rock are collectively called "The Needles".


Haystack Rock was granted Marine Garden status by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1990. Collecting plants or animals is strictly prohibited. Climbing above the mean high tide level (barnacle line) disturbs nesting birds and is not allowed. The Haystack Rock Awareness Program is a volunteer association which conducts educational seminars at the rock during low tide between May and September.


Haystack Rock from Hwy 101 pullout south of Cannon Beach

Visitors to Haystack Rock can view many species of marine wildlife in their natural habitat during low tide. The thin strip of rock and sand that connects it to the beach at these times features many tide pools. The area surrounding the rock is popular for picnicking, kite-flying, and bird-watching. Artists and photographers can be found capturing the beauty of Haystack Rock on canvas or on film.

Haystack Rock is one of the most identifiable geological formations of Oregon. Many people each year become temporarily trapped on Haystack Rock when high tide engulfs the rock in water, necessitating rescue by the United States Coast Guard or local authorities. Oregon's beaches are publicly owned, and there are several hotels along the beachfront within walking distance of Haystack Rock, making the area congested with tourists during the summer.

Popular culture[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°53′05″N 123°58′01″W / 45.88472°N 123.96694°W / 45.88472; -123.96694