Siltcoos River, Oregon Coastal Dunes

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The Siltcoos River is a 3-mile (4.8 km) stream on the central coast of Oregon. It begins at Siltcoos Lake and meanders generally west to the Pacific Ocean. It is located about 8 miles (13 km) south of Florence and 13 miles (21 km) north of Reedsport.

The Oregon Dunes are over 100,000 years old and stretch along 40 miles (65 km) of coastline. Studies have determined that the youngest dunes are closest to the ocean and began forming about 7,000 years ago. Studies have also shown that the primary source of the Oregon Dunes are sands carried down from the mountains primarily by the Umpqua and Siuslaw Rivers and deposited along the coast. Alongshore currents transport sand on the ocean floor parallel to the coast, and waves and tides tend to move sand towards (or away from) shore. When waves deposit sand on the beach, winds blow the sand up the beach face. Dune formation is mainly dependent on the wind. In the summer the wind blows from north and northwest averaging 12-16 mph (19-26 kph). Mountain barriers along the coast deflect the wind currents forming the dunes into many different shapes. In the winter the winds are generally much slower (except during episodic storms) and the direction is from the south and southwest. These winds move large amounts of sand, causing a re-shape in the dunes structure.

A river and canoe trail passes through the Siuslaw National Forest and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. These are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, and some dunes rise to 500 feet (150 m). Learn more about the canoe trail here.  Click here to download the CoastView app and explore the Siltcoos River and the Oregon coast.