By Steve Roti
The Oregon coast is known for its dense forests of big evergreens, its rugged coastline, and its many lighthouses, but it's also known among paraglider pilots for scenic ridge soaring when conditions are right. Conditions are typically best for flying the Oregon coast in the spring during breaks between the Pacific storms that pound the region. The day after a cold front goes through can bring west wind and unstable air that makes for delightful flying. Winter and fall can have some good flying days too, but during summer the wind is typically too strong and the wrong direction for the mostly west-facing flying sites. Listed below are the most popular flying sites -- there are others as well, but these are the ones where we have some degree of official permission to launch and land our gliders. Please observe site protocol and follow the wishes of the landowners because all of these sites are sensitive.
Area B is the northern-most of the flying sites. It is located in Fort Stevens State Park on the very northwest tip of Oregon.
Ecola State Park is located on the south side of a "head" that sticks out into the ocean between Seaside and Cannon Beach.
Oceanside is a town built on the side of a 500' hill with a state park on the beach below.
Sollie Smith is in the coast range looking out on the Tillamook valley. The paraglider launch faces southwest, but it can often be soarable in a light to moderate west valley wind by flying directly to Sugarloaf hill at the head of the valley.
Cape Lookout State Park is our biggest flying site at the coast, a two and a half mile long cape jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. Soaring over the cape is spectacular in the right conditions, but the only landing zone is the beach.
Cape Perpetua is at the top of a state park south of Yachats.