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That Magical, Intense Scenic Oregon Coast Drive You Don't Know

Published 09/25/22 at 6:30 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

That Magical, Intense Scenic Oregon Coast Drive You Don't Know

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(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – One little road, so many spectacles. There's one somewhat short scenic drive on the central Oregon coast that is jam-packed with unforgettable sights and panoramas, lying just below Highway 101 between Newport and Depoe Bay, and tucked out of sight. It was once an actual loop, but a series of landslides eventually turned it into a one way road – which, in all honesty, may disappear one day because of the geologic instabilities here. (Above: one of the few accessible cliffs along the road, all photos copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

You'll want to see the Otter Crest Loop, Oregon Coast - Complete Guide, Hiking, History, Sights for all the lowdown, but here's a bit of an intro.

This awe-inspiring jaunt all begins at Rodea Point, a ways north of the Cape Foulweather entrance. You can't actually begin the drive along this clandestine Oregon coast treasure from the south as the road is one way for quite awhile.

Roadea Point, is a wonder hiding in plain sight in itself – a kind of unsung, unheralded marvel. The place never stops putting on a tidal show, as waves always seem to carouse here and crash with some intensity, even in fairly calm conditions. In more unruly wave events, it's downright jaw-dropping.

Waves can easily fire up some 20, 30 feet in the air in winter or spring. And the noise – oh, the astounding noises they make when coming back down.

From here it's a quick minute or so until you bump into the Ben Jones Bridge (sometimes known as the Rocky Creek Bridge). Here, too, the wonders never cease, with a tiny cove that sometimes attracts whales. If you see a whale tour boat around here, pay attention. A whale sighting is about to go down.

The viewpoint here is a non-stop kick in the pants.

From here, it's a one-way drive, as you enter thickly canopied forests and bulging, earthen walls. The primeval atmosphere is engaging.

It stays covered for a minute or so as you're roving along, but openings soon appear. This is where you get the sense of how remote and primitive this little scenic road is.

At the first big opening and bend in the road, there's a gravel pullout. In this spot is one of the more amazing Oregon coast hidden spots in existence. See Clandestine Cliffs Near Depoe Bay, Secret Trail

Also see top photo

You have to saunter down a rather steep trail, possibly bumping into some poison oak along the way (watch the high grasses), and you quickly enter a dense forest. This spot is rather magical, as later in the summer / fall you spot gigantic mushrooms, evoking something very Alice in Wonderland. You soon step out onto a set of soaring cliffs with views that go on forever.

Don't go too close to the edges, as there's no railing here. Don't take kids. Ever.

However, don't be surprised if you encounter a leviathan whale sauntering along, and in the silence of this remote spot you can hear it spout – loudly. They're often checking you out too.

From here, more bends mean more gravel pullouts and astounding viewpoints. Otter Crest Loop Road is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of them. Cliffs Guard Unseen Beaches on the Central Oregon Coast: Otter Crest Loop

You'll sometimes see small, black rock/sand beaches that you can never visit, sitting at the bottom of plunging cliffs that seem straight out of a gothic novel, a blend of romantic drama and trippy geology.

Other drop-offs include sights like little rock islands you never knew existed. It's one Oregon coast revelation after another.

Spots to pull over and snap a pic abound. Relevant Videos: Otter Crest Loop and Cape Foulweather

Finally, you emerge out at the top of Cape Foulweather, some 500 feet above the surfline. From here, on a clear day you just about see forever.

At night, Cape Foulweather can get insanely cool. If it's clear and moonless, the stars are huge and bright, and the galaxy seems to be looking right back at you.

Other conditions, like some fog and moonlight, create bewitching moments of lunar reflections in the sea and misty objects floating by.

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