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Exploring Otter Rock on the Central Oregon Coast
Published: 02/17/2012
Otter Rock at sunset.
Otter Rock at sunset.
Gary Hayes

Pull off coastal Highway 101 to discover a small place with big attractions.

Sited on a scenic route off Highway 101, Otter Rock can be easy to miss. And, with a business district that's all of about 300 feet long, it's tempting to think there's not much to see even when you're there. But it's that compact space and location not quite on the beaten path that makes Otter Rock one of the Central Oregon Coast's most delightful treasures.

At the west end of Otter Rock's First Street is Devil's Punchbowl, an often-roaring cauldron of water fed by the sea through a hole in the rocks. Off both sides of First Street there are paths and trails. To the south, stairs lead down to one of the area's best surfing beaches along with amazing views of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. To the north is Otter Rock State Park, where hiking trails lead to the Otter Crest Scenic Viewpoint at Cape Foulweather and some of the best tidepools in the area.

At the end of a hike, sample wines at the Flying Dutchman Winery, or buy a bottle, head out back and sip away as you gaze over the ocean from the winery's cliff-top deck. To get there from the south, the scenic route to Otter Rock is located 4.5 miles north of the turn-off to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport. From the north, turn just south of the Whale Cove Inn. - By Barton Howe

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