Battle Rock Park is a beautiful expanse of coastal land running along the western edge of Port Orford. It’s a spot with a luminous beauty, dark history, and a quiet ocean-side peace.
While today the area seems a strange spot for a battle to be fought over, in 1851 it was the location a skirmish between crewmen from an old steam propeller vessel, the Sea Gull, and Native Americans of the Qua-to-mah tribe.
The quarrel started between white settlers in the region and displaced Native Americans angered by unjust land claims. A large rock located at the northern end of the beach was the site of a fierce battle between the natives and Captain William Tichenor's men, who were called in as reinforcements.
Today, the beach is a mostly unnoticed corner of the Oregon Coast. But its diverse sea stack formations, abundance of tidal pools, and solitude make it a great stopping point for a coastal getaway. There’s a city-maintained visitor center with information about the beach, but walk farther out for a more intimate and enriching experience.
Head north along the sands and you’ll find hidden coves, ocean-fed pools teaming with urchins, mollusks, and sea starts. The waves here are calmed by rock formations, and sea birds roost on the cliffs above. It's a great spot for a picnic away from the crowds.
Hiking trails, mostly unofficial, network the hills above. From the cliffside perch, you can spot gray whales during their migration seasons. You can also take in a lovely view of the shoreline, and a view of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve. And don’t forget to come back and visit the area during Port Orford’s annual 4th of July Jubilee, when fireworks are set off from Battle Rock.
Battle Rock Park amenities include 24-hour restrooms, running water, and a visitor’s center. The park is also the starting location for the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway.