Mile 54 Report

May 14, 2009
by malachite

South of Cape Blanco, access road to Elk River
Thursday 6:00 PM
50° F
Calm/Light from the NW
Tide Level:
6.0 ft
Humans / Pets:
Walking / Running:
Apparent Violations:
No violations that I noticed
Cars/Trucks parking:
Activity Comments:
There were tire tracks from a single vehicle (probably a pickup)from the access area to further north than I walked (I walked from the access to the Elk River outlet to the ocean, I think, fresh to salt anyway). It's legal to drive on this beach, the sign at the access states that 4 wheel drive is recommended, speed limit of 25 mph, 18 & over w/license). Other than those tracks, my dog & I were the only "people" on the beach.
Notable Wildlife:
Dead seal on beach, much of the skull exposed, so not newly dead. Live seal observed swimming just offshore where the fresh water (Elk River, I think) runs into the ocean. Two birds, vulture & unidentified large bird (perhaps eagle?) were feeding on seal & dead gull.
Dead Birds:
Signs of oil:
Did not see any banding. Could id bird only as gull, partly because of the amount of bird scavenged by vulture, partly because of my lack of expert birding skills.
Fish & Invertebrates:
Some crab legs, nothing that looked unusual to me.
Small rocks·Wood pieces
some plastic trash, not much, I picked up a clorox bottle & a green glass bottle, some plastic bottles in storm driftline.
New Development:
Natural Changes:
none observed but I observe this beach perhaps 2x/year.
This is not my usual mile, I do not live in this area but can only visit this very very beautiful part of the coast perhaps 2x/year. I walked this section of the Cape Blanco's beaches, the evening after a stormy night. My reference to a "storm driftline" reflects my observation of an older driftline at the base of the bluffs towards the south end of the beach (prior to Elk River) which might be a winter storm driftline. That's where I saw most of the plastic bottles & other trash, along with logs, etc., reflected high energy events. Could be the storm of the prior night did not produce waves reaching that driftline (I'm just not sufficiently familiar with that beach). I had a great walk, I love this beach & Cape Blanco state park's northern beach too. I saw at least 20 brown pelicans, 3 of them cruising & diving for food so close to the shore that I could see their head coloration/markings. I also observed 4-5 cliff swallows either doing some kind of mating negotiations or territorial behavior--lots of flying & making a sound (a kind of buzzing) that I'd never heard made by swallows. Was also able to observe one of them popping in & out of a nest hole in the mud/claystone bluff (just at the vegetation/bare rock border). Never would've noticed the nest otherwise. Rocks on beach are interesting as well as the bed or source rock in this part of OR is very different from that of Lincoln county (for example, there's an outcrop of serpentine along 101 near Pistol River & Gold Beach). You can find cobble sized well rounded pieces of blue schist (what I think is blue schist anyway).Very much enjoyed being able to take a solitary walk (except for canine companion) on such a lovely beach & see as many birds as I did.
Pleasant "evening on day after at a storm" beach walk. Vulture, possible eagle, cliff swallows and brown pelicans observed. Dead seal on beach. A solitary walk on a very beautiful beach.
Other Mile 54 Reports (16)


April 16, 2021 - rtempesta
Elk River backed up by sand bank and not flowing into ocean. Access to this streach of beach just opened back up March 1st.


August 3, 2018 - rtempesta
February 23, 2018 - rtempesta
Wind started out from the SW, then rotated up to the NW. Also, there were 15 or so sheep feeding on the bluffs and cliffs. Quite a bit of erosion on the bluffs close to the Elk River. A large hole...
  • Mouth of Elk river.


May 17, 2014 - mvolson
Fifteen people were using the beach or surf, along with 6 dogs. Children played in the creek, most adults were walking or playing with dogs. A large group of gulls, along with several pelicans and a...


September 12, 2012 - mvolson
Mile 54 was clean and quiet. Fewer dead birds than in the past. One dead seal. No evidence of sawmill activity.


April 21, 2011 - malachite
Lovely day on the beach at Cape Blanco state park. I noted that (going from bottom to top) base dark, clayish layer, shell strata grading into sand then gravel strata looked as though they'd all...
  • Photo taken from just below parking closest to the beach at Cape Blanco.  Camera has time listed as about 8am, apparently it never corrected for DST.  Probably right around low tide.
  • Photo taken from almost same location as first uploaded photo but approximately 2 hours later.
  • "Black" clay strata w/channels formed by (probably) rain/runoff, & some very small slides.  South end of mile 54.


August 8, 2010 - mvolson
Mile 54 showed signs of heavy human use: vehicle tracks, driftwood construction, several campfire sites. Nevertheless, there was very little trash, and most of that looked as if it had washed...
February 24, 2010 - malachite
A windy walk on beautiful beach. The beach appearance was quite different from my last visit (May 2009)--this is not my mile, I'm just 1/2x/year visitor. The number of driftlogs on the beach...
  • looking north along the beach, showing low tide beach.


May 30, 2009 - mvolson
No significant changes since last visit except for lots of vehicle tracks on dunes near base of bluff.
March 21, 2009 - mvolson
A total of 18 people were on the beach, most seemingly beachcombing. Two played in the surf. Two of the 4 dogs were on leash. One vehicle parked on the beach near entry.A few seagulls and partial...


July 14, 2008 - mvolson
No significant changes since last report. The beach was extremely clean of all human-produced debris, even though there was evidence of considerable use in recent weeks--many driftwood structures,...
March 29, 2008 - mvolson
This beach is always quite clean. The extra debris this time was probably mostly from winter storms. It did look as though the northern dune area near the base of the bluff had taken a beating.
January 1, 2008 - mvolson
This report is to take the place of the December report. The beach was very clean, peaceful, and relatively unchanged from last quarter.


September 3, 2007 - mvolson
Although the beach had obviously been heavily used over the Labor Day weekend, there was virtually no human-generated trash. Everything looked fine except for the tire tracks in the dunes near the...
June 18, 2007 - mvolson
The beach was very clean and empty, except for the few people and one vehicle and a couple of dogs. There were many more tire prints than previously. Usually one would see more birds, at least sea...
March 14, 2007 - mvolson
This was my first look as a Coast Watcher at mile 54, so I am still trying to establish a baseline.