Devils Punch Bowl, a dangerous, foaming collapsed sea cave, is just one of the many natural wonders along the 363 miles of the Oregon Coast.
The ceiling of the cave collapsed many years ago, likely due to the persistent pounding waves of the Pacific Ocean, leaving the breathtaking curve of rock open to the sky.
The cavernous rock formation of Devils Punch Bowl could be as old as 18 million years and is formed from a mix of sandstone and siltstone. As a soft rock, the waves continuously ate away at the sandstone until the rocks collapsed, forming one of Oregon’s most well-known, natural attractions.
The Devils Punch Bowl itself sits within the Devils Punch Bowl State Natural Area, which is a piece of land that juts out into the Pacific, situated between Newport and Depoe Bay. If you’re traveling along Highway 101, it is an unmissable stop.
The truth is, the rock formation lives up to its dramatic name. Watching the heaving tide breakers rush in and then flow out of this exposed crater, showcasing its incredible power is a sight in itself.
Devils Punch Bowl
Trail to Devils Punch Bowl
The Devils Punch Bowl Trail is one of the best ways to reach the rock formation and is a short and easy 0.8-mile out and back route. This upper trail will take you from the parking lot to the viewing area.
From this lofty position, you’ll be able to see the waves crashing time and time again inside the ‘punch bowl’ formation. During harsher weather, such as in the winter, the water churns, foams, and swells in a violent brew, with a loud roar every time it slaps into the rocks.
Wandering Into Devils Punch Bowl
At low tide, it is possible to hike directly into the punch bowl, although be very wary of the changing tide. Plus even during low tide, bigger waves can rush in unexpectedly. Be sure to never be caught near or in the punch bowl at high tide, as it can very easily turn deadly.
You can reach the punch bowl from the northern end of the parking area, following a wide trail down to the sandy beach. Be aware that on the way down, the footpath can be very slippery, and parts of it have eroded over the years.
Once you reach the beach, walk south along Otter Crest Beach for around a quarter of a mile, clambering over rocks as you go. Tread over a few saltwater rivulets and enter the cavern via one of the openings into the punch bowl.
A two-story arch marks the entrance of the cave, which in itself is pretty impressive. Once inside, a second archway leads out into the Pacific Ocean.
Inside you’ll be surrounded by a myriad of colorful rocks in a surprising assortment of tones. There are blues, greens, reds, and oranges. Everything is still likely to be soaked from the persistent waves, another reminder to pay close attention to the tides before making the trip down.
Large boulders sit in the center of the cavern, still there from the walls giving way all those years ago when the punch bowl was formed.
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Other Things To Do Around Devils Punch Bowl
Although people predominantly come here to view the punch bowl, it is also a popular whale-watching spot thanks to the kelp beds that are just offshore. The whales will often come here to feed.
There are picnic tables nearby so you can sit and enjoy lunch with a view. Keep your eyes out for the group of seals and sea lions that often frequent the area.
On the south side of the parking area, there is a beautiful, long stretch of beach which is great for walking, exploring, or just chilling with a picnic.
The beach is easy enough to get to, as you can just follow the beach trail sign from the parking area. Here you will likely spot surfers riding the waves.
You can check the tides and surf here.
How To Get to Devils Punch Bowl
Devils Punch Bowl is the perfect stop on any Oregon Coast road trip or on a drive along Highway 101. The natural area is on a piece of land that juts out onto the Pacific Ocean, just a 10-minute drive from the famous Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
The location is easy to reach. Take the turn off Highway 101 onto Otter Crest Loop, and you’ll be able to spot a sign for the punch bowl. Following the road, you’ll reach the large parking lot, which also has a public restroom.