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The Lil' Oregon Coast Bridge with a Kind of Secret Passage (That's Safer Than Above)

Published 10/25/23 at 6:53 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

The Lil' Oregon Coast Bridge with a Kind of Secret Passage (That's Safer Than Above)

(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – There's much more to a simple bridge sometimes than you may realize. Occasionally there's stories – and at times there's more to it than you can see at first glance. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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On the central Oregon coast, Depoe Bay's bridge is like that. It's got a few secrets. That includes some viewing platforms just below it and a kind of secret passage.

The 1920s-era bridge provides something other Oregon coast bridges don't: a means to cross it underneath (well, Oregon Coast Beach Connection does know of another but we can't talk about it). A concrete walkway extends here, giving way to unique views of this already-distinctive channel into the bay, and affording opportunities to watch the whale watch tours and fishing rigs putt-putt their way through the narrow stretch.

Moreover, it's a much safer way to cross the bridge than the pedestrian crosswalks above, where traffic is a bit maniacal on this portion of Highway 101, and frankly you feel like you're taking your life in your hands half the time the “walk” light switches on. Yet it's also a pleasant walk which can yield its own surprises.

See Behind the Bridge at Depoe Bay: Deeper Oregon Coast History

At night is one of those discoveries. The area is well-lit on either side of the bridge, and if the area is just a tad misty with ocean spray or light fog there's quite a beautiful, ethereal atmosphere to it. If you're looking to photograph storms of the place it's not a bad spot to hang out and keep your gear dry.

However, the viewing platforms at either end are the highlights of this. On the bayside, you get a beauteous view of the bay and its still waters. On occasion, you may get to watch seals or sea lions cavorting down there. There has been – in the past, anyway – a large area just below where fishermen get to cut up and clean their catches, and it's fun to watch them feed the pinnipeds swimming below who do tricks for little treats.

On the west side of the Depoe Bay Bridge, the ocean opens up before you and you've got the small jetties of the channel to watch, where waves smack and batter with wild abandon. Even in calmer weather this spot is rarely still.

At dusk: well, that's another story. The colors burst with warmth and the lights of the town rise up to meet them, and the whole scene is often bathed in engaging hues.

The bridge was built in 1927, designed by OSU grad Conde B. McCullough – who created many of the Oregon coast's most scenic bridges.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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