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Spectacular Side Trips
Published: 09/25/2014
 
The Otter Crest Loop climbs over the 500-foot Cape Foulweather and leads to the edge of Devil
The Otter Crest Loop climbs over the 500-foot Cape Foulweather and leads to the edge of Devil's Punchbowl at Otter Rock.
Photo by Gary Hayes
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Otter Crest Loop

A short side trip off US 10l, the Otter Crest Loop leads travelers to viewpoints on the central Oregon coast with unique geological formations.

South of Depoe Bay, Highway 101 runs just inland as it crosses over Cape Foulweather. The Otter Crest Loop winds just west of the highway and offers the most leisurely way to experience the views from the 500-foot cape, along with a stop at Devil’s Punchbowl, one of the most interesting geological formations on the Oregon Coast.

The Otter Crest Loop veers off Highway 101 just south of the Rocky Creek wayside. This narrow stretch of road is one way traveling south and it offers a few small roadside spots to pull over and check out the view before reaching the Otter Crest State Wayside atop Cape Foulweather with its commanding views of nearly 30 miles of coastline. To the south, you can see Otter Rock and Yaquina Head. You’ll have to take in the view to the north from inside the interpretive observatory operated by Oregon State Parks, open 10am-5pm daily. Keep your eye out for whales. There are few places along the Oregon Coast that offer as much ocean to scan for spouts.

South of the wayside, the Otter Crest Loop returns to two-way traffic as is dips into shady forest. Follow signs to Devils Punchbowl at the west end of 1st St. At the end of the street, the viewing area looks straight down into the enormous sandstone cauldron and a paved walkway encircles the picnic area offering other rewarding views. Some of the best wave action in Devils Punchbowl is during high tides with stormy seas. At low tide, visitors can hike down and actually venture inside the bowl through one of the openings at the base of the formation. The trailhead to the beach is located on Avenue C near the parking area just to the east of the punchbowl and is an easy .06-mile walk. There’s also beach access to the south via a stairway, where you’ll find about five miles of beach stretching out to Yaquina Head.

Total distance: 4.2 miles
Driving time: 10 minutes
Must stops: Otter Crest State Wayside & Devils Punchbowl
Top Tip: A visit to Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area just 10 minutes to the south is a must. - By Gary Hayes

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