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3 Sisters That Captivated Me With Their Beauty

Some 13 miles north of Gold Beach, in Port Orford, Oregon, lies a coastal seascape that will forever leave a strong vivid impression on me. I can still remember laying eyes on her for the very first time. It was from the South, some 0.5 miles, a simple pullout and short walk into the brush would reveal an unexpectedly captivating scene.


Viewpoint 0.4 Miles South of Trailhead
Sisters Rock, Oregon Coast (click to enlarge)

Sisters Rock was what we thought would be a quick stop off Highway101. It was just past 7 am, and my friend Mark Camp & I were touring the Oregon Coast on our way to Bandon Beach. We stopped at a pullout that would be 1.4 miles south of the Sisters Rock Trailhead. Overlooking the ocean from a cliff, we made a few images of what would be the Devil’s Backbone, and Foreman Arch, then continued north. We stopped again at another pullout which would be 0.4 miles before the Sisters Rock South trailhead.


Ep. 5 Includes Sisters Rock


A short walk into the brush, on the edge of a bluff, would reveal an incredibly beautiful coastal scene (shown above). 3 monoliths dominate the shoreline, two are connected to the mainland, one of which is an island. Together, they make up what is known as Sisters Rock; Big Sister, Middle Sister, & Little Sister. This was the first time I would experience this land, & seascape and it left an impression on me.



Sisters Rock North and South Trailhead
I've labeled the Sisters for easy identification


I wasn't expecting such a simple pullout to offer such beauty. Up till now, I've learned that you have to earn Oregon's beauty as some of her most alluring seascapes require moderate to challenging hikes before she gives up her secrets - speaking of which, Secret Beach happens to be one of those hidden gems, not to mention Natural Bridges.


After making several images and enjoying this extraordinary view, we drove 1 minute up the road and reached the South trailhead for Sisters Rock. The trailhead begins at the pullout parking area and slowly descends through a most beautiful, windy, and narrow trail with tall grasses that will keep you inquisitive with every bend as she slowly offers hints of her appealing curves, slopes, and peaks. You can get a better feel for this trail in Episode 5 of my Exploring Oregon series.


This is quite a lovely landscape and a very enjoyable hike. After descending and following the trail which brings you to a viewpoint between Middle and Big Sister, the view looking South will delight the senses with jagged and dispersed sea stacks staggering the coast.


The View Looking South at Sisters Rock State Park, Oregon
The View Looking South at Sisters Rock State Park

But wait, we're not finished. Did I mention there's a sea cave? There's also a lovely northern view that is quintessential Oregonian coast. The Northern view is but a very short walk from the view shown above, and the sea cave is about another 5 minute walk to the west. Both are worth spending a little extra time if you've come this far.


From a photographer's pov, I could have stayed here all day studying, and making new compositions. We had already spent 2 1/2 hours here, more time than we had anticipated, but when you're experiencing that feeling, that emotional joy conveyed by a sense of place - we landscape photographers know better than to ignore it, you go with it. So both Mark, & myself immersed ourselves into crafting images that evoked our pictorial stories.


If you were to ask what lenses to bring, I'd suggest a 24-70mm, and a telephoto 200mm or more. An ultra-wide would work here too depending on where you shoot from. If you simply have an iPhone Pro (3 lenses), then you're covered for whatever you'd like to shoot. Just be sure to include some of the lovely landscape lines that compliment the seashore as shown below.


The View Looking North at Sisters Rock State Park, Oregon
The View Looking North at Sisters Rock

When you visit the cave, depending on the tide, you're in for a real treat of natures raw power. You can climb up to the base of the opening and watch as the waves make their way into backside of the cave slamming into the walls with their brute force power.


This isn't an easy subject to shoot, and honestly, I didn't get any good keepers, but in episode 5, I included video, and that made all the difference in telling the story of the Frankport Sea Cave. If you plan to shoot it, I'd definitely attempt to try and freeze the action with fast shutter speeds.



Mark standing at the base of Frankport Sea Cave, Sisters Rock, Oregon Coast
Mark standing at the base of Frankport Sea Cave


Looking into the Frankport Sea Cave at Sisters Rock, Oregon
Frankport Sea Cave at Sisters Rock, Oregon

So to sum it up, Sisters Rock is well worth a stop. Photographing this land, and seascape were incredibly fun and very contagious. There are so many curves, shapes, and lines to work with. And when throwing in 3 monoliths emerging from the ocean, you really can't make a bad photo. Enjoy!


To see more about Sisters Rock, watch Episode 5 of Exploring Oregon.


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