Awe-Inspiring Images of Oregon King Tide Waves

King Tide at Cape Disappointment / via TJ Simon Photography

January 11, 2020 brought an incredibly beautiful phenomenon to the Pacific NW coastline: the King Tide. Higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon, or during specific seasons around the country. While amazing to witness, we want to stress the importance of safety while viewing the power of nature at our Oregon coasts.

Some of these waves can wash more than 150 feet (45 meters) up the beach. Most driftwood is the remains of trees that have been washed into the ocean by waves, winds, floods, logging, or other natural means that are carried by ocean currents along the coast, and then washed ashore onto the beach by the action of waves or tides as driftwood. It only takes a few inches of water to lift or roll a log weighing hundreds of pounds. When a powerful ocean wave known as a sneaker wave surges up the beach it is powerful enough to roll or even lift these extremely heavy logs knocking those individuals on them off and pinning them under the log.

Patrick Durkin, a retired member of the US Government stresses this warning: "Beware of large waves that crash close to shore. Duck under them. Never try to ride them. And never turn your back to the sea." Durkin was paralyzed when a large wave in Maryland smashed him into a sandbar.

The Stiles Family / Father and two children were tragically swept out to sea during the King Tide event / via KATU

We want to offer our sincerest condolences to the Stiles Family during this difficult time. Please consider making a contribution to the GoFundMe account set up in their name.


Cape Disappointment King Tide / via TJ Simon Photography
Depoe Bay / via Rick Ewol / Facebook


Shore Acres State Park / via Jason Coon / JBoy Photography
via Donna DiGiacinto / Facebook
via Donna DiGiacinto / Facebook