There’s a place in the Beaver State where the ocean is restless – its waves eager to conquer the shore – and when they hit land, there’s a thunderous roar. When the tide is high, the already craggy area looks even more dangerous. It is a place of awe, and though it is named the Devil’s Punchbowl, it’s a wonderful Oregon gem.The star of the show is a large bowl carved in a rock head. Waves enter the cauldron, and inside, the force makes them swirl, churn, and foam. The bowl is believed to be a sea cave, but the ceiling collapsed many years ago due to the pounding of the waves. This intriguing geological wonder is Mother Nature’s masterpiece, thanks to the artistry of the Pacific.The attraction is part of the Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area, a humble place where outdoor adventurers can have a roaring good time.
Plan The Visit
The attraction is located in the small town of Otter Rock between Newport and Depoe Bay. Those navigating Highway 101 will surely not miss this attraction, and it's worth a stop. The area is open for day use when the tides are the friendliest. Although, there's limited parking in town, however a parking lot in the northeast is near the Marine Gardens beach access.
Visitors who want to explore the bowl should take note of tide hours for their safety.
Activities To Try
The bowl is the star, and while some visitors are satisfied just by viewing it, others who dare to enter the erstwhile cave are in for a treat. However, those who do not want to take the risk can still have a satisfying time exploring the beach or the nearby trails.
Exploring The Bowl
When the tide is high and the waves are rough, the bowl looks dangerously beautiful. But when it’s low tide and the Pacific is friendly, visitors can enter it and be swallowed by its beauty.
Guests who opt to just watch the panoramic views of the Devil’s Punchbowl and the ocean can take an upper trail (0.8 miles) to the viewing point. Additionally, there are also trails from the parking lots that lead tourists to Otter Crest Beach. From there, the bowl’s arch is easily accessible. Inside, there’s another archway that opens to the Pacific Ocean.
It is not advisable to explore the bowl during high tide because of the danger brought by the pounding of the waves. Visitors should always check the updated tide tables and be alert to their surroundings.
Once inside, visitors will have a majestic view of colorful rocks highlighted by the blue sky. This cauldron is a spectacle, and being hugged by its presence is a memorable experience. The Pacific breeze, the welcoming waves, and the myriad of rocks work together for a piece of heaven in the Devil’s Punchbowl.
There are two beaches in the area where guests can have a fun day under the sun: Otter Crest and Beverly. Wherever visitors stay, they will be cradled by the area’s picturesque beauty.
If tourists can’t get enough of the views inside the bowl, they can also drink in all the wonders of the beach. When it’s low tide, birdwatchers will have a field day observing some seabirds. Beachcombers, meanwhile, can busy themselves checking out some tide pools.
At the viewpoint, there are picnic tables – a relaxing spot for checking out the panorama, and maybe if tourists are lucky, they can say hi to some sea lions and seals faraway. But those who want to "walk on sunshine" can always spread out their picnic mat on the beach. Some crabs are waiting there, as well.
Hiking in the area will take guests to the bowl, but the sights along the way are part of the destination, too.
The hike from the Devil’s Punchbowl Trailhead up to the bowl will take 1.8 miles. Once on the beach, trekkers will take on the challenges of the odd rock formations and some small sea caves. After exiting the bowl and past the access trail, hikers can check out a small waterfall. They will then navigate their way to a seaweed-cloaked area where some seals might be resting.
Going back to the trailhead, trekkers should keep their eyes peeled for some ground squirrels. Those who want a longer seaside journey can take the Beverly Beach-Moolack Beach trail. The 10.3-mile hike will lead guests beyond the bowl and to Starfish Cove.
Since the waves in the area are always energized, surfers can find the right swell for them. In the northern part of Beverly Beach, beginners can have a fun time hanging ten. For those who want to try surfing for the first time, there’s a nearby shop for their needs.
Punta Vida Surf Shop offers rentals of surfboards, bodyboards, and gears for children and adults. The rate for a half-day surfboard rental starts at $30 and $40 for a full-day rental. They also offer a beginner's lesson that lasts for two hours ($100).
Their instructors are certified, and students will be fitted with the proper equipment. Tourists should expect a fun, safe, and splashing experience.
The Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area is one of the whale-watching destinations along the scenic Oregon coast. Thanks to the 180-degree views of the ocean, tourists will have a fun time observing those gentle giants.
During winter, from mid-December to mid-January, tourists can spot gray whales as they travel south. As spring comes, whales travel north from late March until May. During summer and fall, around 200 whales remain in the coastal waters and visitors can observe them feeding closer to shore. From May to October, the central coast is a playground for these marine mammals.
A center in Depoe Bay is the main spot for whale-watching, but there are more than 20 sites to observe the whales as they breach, spy hop, blow and dive. Humpback whales can also be seen from August to September and orcas from April to June.
They say the devil works hard, but the Devil’s Punchbowl works harder to give tourists nothing but memorable seaside journeys and panoramic views of the Pacific.