Pistol River State Park
There are several (free) parking areas for Pistol River State Park, on the west side of US 101; the best for viewing the northern group of offshore rocks is near Meyers Creek
, 1.7 miles north of the highway bridge over the river, but for exploring Crook Point, the starting place is just south of the river, as the road begins to move away from the shoreline. A little side track leads to a parking lot at the edge of grassy dunes, from where the ocean is a 5 minute walk away. The beach hereabouts is rather featureless, lacking any offshore rocks, and often very windy. Crook Point is 1.7 miles south, reachable by walking either along the beach or through the dunes, initially alongside a shallow lagoon formed by occasional overflow from the Pistol River. This sometimes muddy pond is known informally as Lola Lake
, after local resident Lola Gardner.
Crook Point and Mack Reef
A small stream (Sand Creek
) flows across the far south end of the beach, shortly before the cliffs of Crook Point rise up ahead. A number of dark, jagged, steep sided rocks are accessible at low tide and there are more out to sea, one quite large, supporting grass and succulents. All are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge
, and closed to public access. Inland, the coastal bluffs are about 100 feet high, barren and windswept, topped by eroded sandstone terraces and mostly without any vegetation, habitat that extends towards the edge of the coastal forest a quarter of a mile away. Beyond the first promontory, at the edge of the point, is another small beach, quite stony, followed by a second promontory, more extensive and rockier, right at the westernmost tip of the coast. After here the land opens out to a much longer stretch of sand, and reveals the first views of Mack Reef and Mack Arch, this latter 1.6 miles due south. The rarely visited beach has the usual mix of driftwood, washed up kelp and other marine debris, and is bordered for the most part by an earthen hillside, sloping up gently to the privately-owned spruce woodland above, but conglomerate rocks are exposed in a few places, weathered into curious shapes and textures - the photogenic tafoni, seen more readily at several other places along the Oregon coast such as Shore Acres