Exploring Depoe Bay

The town of Depoe Bay doesn’t attract visitors because it has a long, beautiful beach. The coastline hereabouts is rocky and unwalkable. Aside from whale-watching and standing on the highway bridge to observe the boat traffic passing in and out of the world’s smallest harbor, the most popular activity here, especially when the seas are high, is watching the spouting horns. Similar to blowholes, spouting horns can be seen all along the coast, but nowhere are they more spectacular than along the coastline at Depoe Bay, right across from the main tourist strip on U.S. 101. These geyserlike plumes occur in places where water is forced through narrow channels in basalt rock. As the channels become more restricted, the water shoots skyward under great pressure and can spray 60 feet into the air. If the surf is really up, the water can spray a long distance, and more than a few unwary visitors have been doused by a spouting horn.

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