Devil’s Punchbowl is a must see on Oregon Coast
Everyday “Scrappy” visits Dan High at the Flying Dutchman Winery across the street from the Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area.
“I call him Scrappy because he looks kind of beat up, but is still friendly,” High said. “He comes in and the customers like to feed him. It’s great being able to work this close to nature.”
About the Devils Punchbowl: A state park eight miles north of Newport that features a unique rock formation that ocean waves churn in. It features a park with areas to watch whales, surfers or to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Tips: While you are there enjoy a bowl of famous Mo’s Chowder or sample the spirits from only working winery on the Oregon coast at the Flying Dutchman Winery. Also, bring peanuts to feed the squirrels and a camera to capture the expansive views.
What to bring: The park is in the elements so make sure you bring clothing that is weather appropriate. There is nothing chillier than being caught on the Oregon coast in a rain storm in the wind. If you plan on watching whales, bring some good binoculars – you can see their spouts with the naked eye – it makes the job easier and will give you a better viewing experience.
Season: The park is open year-round.
Getting there: The park is eight miles north of Newport off of Highway 101 on Otter Crest Loop. There are signs that point the way to the park.
Scrappy and High represent two of the main attractions when you visit Devil’s Punchbowl – nature and hospitality.
The park, located eight miles north of Newport about a half a mile off of Highway 101. The park is on top of a bluff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean crashing into the rock formations.
State officials believe the punchbowl was formed when the roof of two sea caves collapsed, creating what looks like a big punchbowl full of churning and foaming water. As waves come in, water is caught in the rock formation swirling and spraying for some impressive displays – especially during storm season.
If they water crashing against the rocks loses your interest the park also sits atop a number of interesting rock formations and there are rocks just off shore where you can see waves crashing against them creating white sprays.
But watching waves and rocks isn’t the only thing that you can take in while at the park. The roughly 2 acre park also features a trail that runs along the bluff, where you can see everything from squirrels to coastal birds and other creatures. Throughout the park are picnic tables that are first-come, first-serve, so if you want to have a nice summer picnic, stake your claim early.
Morris Grover, project lead for the Whale Watching Spoken Here Center, said that Devils Punchbowl is just one of the several places along the Oregon coast to look for migrating whales.
“The park sticks out into the ocean on the bluff and gets you closer to the action,” Grover said. “It’s one of my favorite spots to go to see the whales.”
With 180 degrees of views to the ocean, you can watch the whales or the surfers to the south of the park. At the south end of the park the trees open up and show the southern coastline, where surfers like to catch waves. There is a trail down to tide pools that offer people a close-up glimpse to ocean wildlife.
During the winter months the park is truly spectacular with winter storms beating on the rock formations, but the park doesn’t have any areas undercover so make sure you dress for the conditions when you visit the park. It is almost always windy, so bring at least a windbreaker.
To escape the weather across the street from the park is the Flying Dutchman Winery, the only working winery on the Oregon coast and Mo’s West. Mo’s is a chain of seafood restaurants up and down the coast that are known for their excellent clam chowder.
“The busy season is June through October,” High said. “People love to visit this place in the summer and fall, mostly for the whales and the storms. I have a great job, I get to enjoy wine, watch whales and hang out with Scrappy.”