Devils Punch Bowl State Natural Area

The first thing I noticed when arriving at Devils Punch Bowl State Natural Area was, strangely, not the ocean scenery. It was the infestation of brazen squirrels frolicking on the lawn on the south side of the parking lot. After their greeting though, other than dodging one or two on the trail near the beginning of the scenic loop, I barely noticed them. As much as I enjoy small, lively mammals, the geologic and oceanic views fully eclipsed their entertaining antics.

This location allows you to visit two scenic viewpoints on the outskirts of the parking lot, and optionally venture out on an extended walk with several resting spots utilizing the loop trail.

Punch Bowl view

25 Steps


The main attraction of this State Natural Area is, of course, the Punch Bowl itself. The viewpoint is adjacent to the parking lot. Wave-smoothed rock has a large doughnut hole opening where the surging waters ebb and flow. Calm seas or stormy, hide tide or low, this bowl puts on an ever-changing and interesting show.

Terrain: Rough parking lot, all flat except for a curb step to get near the fence by the overlook
Seating: No
Fee: No
Restrooms: No, the nearest are in lower parking lot a brief drive away
Directions: From the parking lot, head towards the mounted coin-operated telescope. The Punch Bowl is beyond and below the fence line.

North view

50 Steps

Although the Punch Bowl is the star of this location, just a short jaunt away is a fabulous view of the coastline to the north. Nearby, surf rolls onto the sandy shores and more distant rocky headlands are dotted with green.

Note: If you park on the north side of the parking lot, and then this view can be reached in less than 25 steps.

Terrain: Rough parking lot, flat
Seating: No
Fee: No
Restrooms: No, the nearest are in lower parking lot a brief drive away
Directions: From the parking lot or Punch Bowl view, head to the north end of the fence.

Scenic loop


For those wanting a more extensive walk, rewarded with exceptional views, the scenic loop has resting spots spaced at 100 steps or less, five legs in total.

West view, 100 steps, bench: The first resting spot can be reached in 100 steps. From the fence line near the bench the ocean stretches west to the horizon, and northward is the Punch Bowl from a different vantage.

South view, 100 steps, bench: From the west-most point of the trail, the broad shores of Beverly Beach can be seen stretching several miles south. Yaquina Head lighthouse from this distance resembles a salt shaker souvenir more than the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Frothy waters churn against the rocky outcroppings below. The day we visited, was sunny and the water was exceptionally clear, allowing us to see not only the rock formations above the surface, but those below as well.

Cove view, 100 steps, picnic table: Surfers commonly ride the waves on the waters below this resting spot. Up the hill a bit from the picnic table, a small cove can be seen nestled between striated cliffs. Look carefully and you can see the sea cave hidden within.

Picnic area, 75 steps, picnic table: Grassy slopes host numerous picnic tables. You can rest at any one of them before continuing another 75 steps back to the parking lot.

Terrain: Trail is paved, but uneven in spots (from ground shifts). From the parking lot to the west view resting spot and then the south view resting spot is a slight downward slope. Heading to the cove view resting spot starts an upward slope, and is the steepest part of the trail. You can see it before you walk it, so if it appears too steep returning via the same route you came is no further than continuing, so could be an option if the uphill is daunting. The trail legs continuing to the picnic area and then back to the parking lot are both a slight upward slope.
Seating: Each indicated resting spot has a bench or picnic table
Fee: No
Restrooms: No, the nearest are in lower parking lot a brief drive away
Directions: Head to the fence line from the parking lot. The trail is clearly visible, heading south.

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