Ecola Creek enters the Pacific Ocean at the northern edge of Cannon Beach, a small resort community about 30 miles (48 km) north of Tillamook and 8 miles (12 km) south of Seaside, Oregon. The Ecola Creek watershed drains approximately 22 square miles (5,698 ha), with the entire basin lying within 6 miles (10 km) of the ocean. Haystack Rock is a sea stack 235 feet (72 m) high and a popular tourist destination adjacent to the community and accessible at low tide.
The coastal area surrounding Cannon Beach is part of the traditional territory of the Tillamook tribe. In January 1806, William Clark and several members of the Corp of Discovery Expedition that overwintered at Fort Clatsop near the mouth of the Columbia River, including their guide Sacagawea, hiked roughly 20 miles (32 km) south to Cannon Beach to see a stranded whale near the mouth of Ecola Creek. They encountered a group of Tillamook people and met with them to successfully barter for 300 pounds (140 kg) of blubber and some whale oil before returning to Fort Clatsop. Clark applied the name “Ekoli”, the Chinook word for “whale”, to what is now Ecola Creek. Early settlers later renamed the creek “Elk Creek”, and a community with the same name was formed nearby.
In 1846, the U.S. Navy schooner Shark went aground while attempting to cross the Columbia Bar and a cannon washed ashore just north of Arch Cape a few miles south of Cannon Beach. The cannon was rediscovered in 1898 and in 1922, the town of Elk Creek was renamed Cannon Beach. The cannon is now housed in the city’s museum and a replica of it can be seen alongside U.S. Route 101. Two more cannons, also believed to have been from the Shark, were discovered on Arch Cape on February 16, 2008. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cannon Beach here: