Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is located on the Oregon Coast, stretching approximately 40 miles (60 km) north of the Coos River in North Bend to the Siuslaw River in Florence, and adjoining Honeyman State Park on the west. It is part of Siuslaw National Forest and is administered by the United States Forest Service.
The Oregon Dunes are a unique area of windswept sand. They are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world, with some dunes reaching 500 feet (150 m) above sea level. They are the product of millions of years of erosion by wind and rain on the Oregon Coast. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area provides numerous recreational activities, including off-highway vehicle (OHV) use, hiking, photography, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, and camping. The Carter Dunes Trail and Oregon Dunes Day Use provide forest access for the disabled.
The Oregon Dunes are over 100,000 years old and stretch approximately 40 miles (60 km). The youngest dunes, which are the closest to the ocean, began forming about 7,000 years ago. Studies of individual sand grains show that these sands were carried down from the mountains by the Umpqua, Siuslaw, and other smaller rivers.
The sand dunes were formed by wind and water over time. The dune formation is mainly dependent on the wind. In the summer the wind blows from the north and northwest at 12–16 miles per hour (19–26 km/h). Mountain barriers near the coast deflect the wind currents, forming the sand into many different shapes. In the winter the winds are much slower (except during storms when the winds can reach up to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h)), coming from the south and southwest. These winds move large amounts of sand, reshaping the dunes' structure. Water also plays a role in dune formation. Waves and tides dredge sand from the ocean floor and deposit it onto the beaches, where the wind takes over.
The water currents also create marshy areas where standing water is several feet deep. Upward pressure causes the sand grains to become saturated and float. This process results in quicksand. Quicksand is found in the low, unvegetated areas between the dunes.
US-101, Reedsport, OR 97467