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Four Fantastic Scenic Corridors of Oregon Coast

Published 12/20/21 at 6:02 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Four Fantastic Scenic Corridors of Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – Sometimes they have the name “scenic corridor” already, other times they are that unique brand of Oregon coastline that provides a run of non-stop views and beachy marvels in one way or another. But what's in a name, anyway? (Above: Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, courtesy Manuela Durson Fine Arts)

They are the fantastic scenic corridors of these shores, where you can often simply drive along and catch sight of the most unique spots that the coast can cloister, hiding plenty of things you've never seen before.

Bandon State Natural Area is not so much a scenic drive as it is a four-mile stretch of south Oregon coast wilderness and accesses that vary from well-known to absolutely secretive and remote.

Photo courtesy Oregon State Parks

It all starts at the southern edge of Devil's Kitchen, where the vast majority of the activity along this chunk of untamed chunk of coastline takes place. It's here where the most variety of fun stuff is situated as well, with ancient sea stacks dotting the surf, in the shapes of blobs, spires to nebulous forms that defy description. Many have even more intricate features when you look close, such as large chunks of areas with bizarre honeycombed holes.

Climb on them or dart between them with your beach bike or horse ride.

Beach Loop Road is the mainline for accesses around here, with a couple of them within a mile south of Devil's Kitchen. China Creek at the southern elbow of the road is the last one for miles. From here on out there are no access points, almost three miles of remote hiking.

Along the way, the craggy, looming sea stacks have long disappeared, but a handful of odd structures lurk along the beaches. Mostly, it's pure, untouched no-man's land and sand, however, with the only access still miles away about Floras Lake – long after the Bandon State Natural Area has ended. South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Upper Lane County. On the central Oregon coast, that 15 or so miles between Heceta Head and Yachats provide some of the most eye-popping scenery as seen from your car as can ever be imagined. With major bends in the road at various points, it's a tad white-knuckled at times, but on others there are long, straight stretches where you can gaze peacefully out at ocean vistas and curious shapes whizzing by. Plus, some of the most interesting beach access on the whole of the coast hide here. (Above: Strawberry Hill)

Ocean Beach Picnic Ground, closer to Florence, hosts a giant blob of a promontory, where plenty of sea life resides. Strawberry Hill is a vast complex of rocky chunks and placid beach to wander, where the sights get stranger the farther in you go, sometimes resembling a Yes album cover. Bray's Point allows you to stop and gawk at the oceanscape from above, while directly below it, Bob Creek hosts prime agate-combing, hordes of sea life and a funky cave. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County Maps and Virtual Tours

Otter Crest Loop, near Depoe Bay. Barely a mile of roadway, still, it's one stunning little hidden drive that meanders, twists and turns beneath the main section of Highway 101 between Depoe Bay and the Devil's Punchbowl. No longer a loop, it was once fully two lanes, but about 20 years ago one lane kept disappearing into the plunging cliffs thus shutting it down with every two or three storm seasons, so officials finally whittled it down to one way for a good portion.

Starting at Rodea Point near Depoe Bay – or the Devil's Punchbowl, depending on how you think of it – there's a huge array of views that pop up in between stands of trees or bulbous, grass-covered hills. Glimpses of vast ocean are sandwiched between those engaging green blobs or mini-forests, with its undulating shapes almost taking on a kind of Celtic myth vibe.

These often give way to dramatically sheer cliffs, containing secret, chaotic shorelines that you can never get to, but you can watch them from afar.

Otter Crest Loop Road does have one incredibly cool secret access, however. Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours

Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. The Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor stretches some 25 miles down the southern Oregon coast, encompassing an unusually large portion of the drive from Gold Beach down to Brookings. Thus, it's no surprise there's a veritable laundry list of oceanic must-see's. (Above: Secret Beach, courtesy Manuela Durson)

Among the attractions here are Arch Rock Picnic Area, Spruce Island Viewpoint, Secret Beach, Seal Cove, the Natural Bridges, Spruce Creek area, China Beach, Thomas Creek Bridge, Indian Sands Loop Trail, Whaleshead Beach and Viewpoint, House Rock Viewpoint, Lone Ranch, and Cape Ferelo.

Some of these spots are huge and meandering, especially the Natural Bridges area, where odd rock islands sit distanced from each other the majority of the time, while others have curious rocky walkways connecting them. In fact, what's going on here isn't quite what you'd imagine, geologically. Those arches and bridges are formed by giant caves falling apart, then leaving skeletal remains of sorts, in a rocky way. These aren't basalt (long ago-cooled lava), after all, like most of the northern half of the coast. What you see here is all sorts of looser, less sturdy material, normally conglomerates: meaning there's a mix of the stuff in the rocks you see.

The Natural Bridges is not an easy hike, but it's worth the exceptionally steep parts. South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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