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Haystack Rock northwest face
Haystack Rock northwest face

Haystack Rock is a 235 ft (72 m) sea stack in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It is the third-tallest such intertidal structure in the world. 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

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

The needles at Cannon beach
"The Needles" which are adjacent to Haystack Rock
Haystack rock monochrome
Haystack Rock seen from Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock Oregon
Haystack Rock viewed on a spring day

There are at least six other geographic features in Oregon named Haystack Rock, including two others along the Oregon Coast — and others throughout the U.S. The tallest and probably best known Haystack Rock 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. Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is accompanied by several smaller rocks known as The Needles. The other Oregon coastal Haystack Rock stands 105 feet (32 m) above sea level in Coos County near Bandon.

name type elevation coordinate USGS map GNIS ID
Haystack Rock (Aleutians West (CA) County, Alaska) Island 0 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-6 1418668
Haystack Rock (Aleutians East County, Alaska) Island 0 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-3 1418669
Haystack Rock (Arizona) Summit 6,099 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 Flat 5660
Haystack Rock (Larimer County, Colorado) Pillar 7,372 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 Park 170118
Haystack Rock (Moffat County, Colorado) Pillar 6,486 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 Rock 170904
Haystack Rocks (Indiana) Summit 728 ft (222 m) 38°51′47″N 86°38′07″W / 38.8631°N 86.6353°W / 38.8631; -86.6353 (Haystack Rocks (Indiana)) Williams 451775
Haystack Rock (Kentucky) Pillar 1,250 ft (380 m) 37°50′12″N 83°40′37″W / 37.8367°N 83.6769°W / 37.8367; -83.6769 (Haystack Rock (Kentucky)) Slade 512615
Haystack Rock (Coos County, Oregon) Island 92 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)) Bandon 1121707
Haystack Rock (Clatsop County, Oregon) Island 203 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 Head 1121708
Haystack Rock (Lake County, Oregon) Summit 7,319 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 Mountain 1121709
Haystack Rock (Malheur County, Oregon) Summit 2,799 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 Mountain 1136367
Haystack Rock (Tillamook County, Oregon) Island 7 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 Bay 1143419
Haystack Rock (Wallowa County, Oregon) Summit 4,518 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 Mountain 1143420
Haystack Rock Arch Arch 7 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 Bay 1675459
Haystack Rock (Washington) Pillar 3,776 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)) Cliffdell 1520634


Composed of basalt, Haystack Rock was formed by lava flows emanating from the Blue Mountains and Columbia basin about 15-16 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 south beside 101 P2412
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

  • Haystack Rock can be seen prominently in the 1971 film of Oregonian Ken Kesey's novel, Sometimes a Great Notion during the scene where the Stampers brawl with the union workers.
  • Haystack Rock can be seen in the opening scene of The Goonies, when the Fratellis are fleeing from the police and then enter a race on the beach. It can be seen in the background. Later in the film you can see the Haystack Rock again when Mikey is pointing out some rocks in the distance.
  • Haystack Rock can also be seen in the 1979 movie 1941, directed by Steven Spielberg. The rock is particularly out of place, as the setting is supposed to be the California coast.
  • Haystack Rock can be seen in the movie Kindergarten Cop, during the carnival scene later in the movie.
  • Haystack Rock was on the June 26, 2013 Bing Homepage.
  • Haystack Rock is one of the feature Desktop pictures shipped with Windows 7. The picture can be found in the "United States" theme.
  • Haystack Rock is on the cover of metal band Ghost Iris' second album, "Blind World"

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