Exploring the Punchbowl: Above and Within

Looking through a sea arch from within the Punchbowl at low tide, Oregon

Looking through a sea arch from within the Punchbowl at low tide

A highlight along the Oregon coast last summer would be exploring the area around Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area north of Newport.  The area isn’t really that big, but low tide explorations are exciting (especially with the tide coming back in!)  Think sea arches, tide pools, sea life, sea caves, a waterfall, and more.  Then come back when the tide is in, and you can’t even access it all – it’s underwater – so you’ll just have to enjoy the surf from the headland above!

The Punchbowl from above at low tide, Oregon

The Punchbowl from above at low tide

Park in the parking area for Devil’s Punchbowl, then walk down C Avenue (just west of the parking area).  After passing 3rd Street, a path on left will descend to the beach, about 0.2 miles from the parking area.

The Punchbowl from above at high tide, Oregon

The Punchbowl from above at high tide (or a little after)

It’s a little convoluted, and there aren’t exactly a lot of signs.  We (and a bunch of other tourists – I think there were about 2 dozen of us at one point) got confused and descended the stairs across the street from the parking area.  This goes down to a very nice beach (you can walk down to Beverly Beach and beyond, but that’s a subject for another post), and we tried walking around the headland using coordinates on my GPS, but that doesn’t work very well (unless you’ve got a boat!)  So don’t get confused, and you’ll save a lot of time and effort.

The beach near the Punchbowl, Oregon

The beach near the Punchbowl

Note: You can’t hike down to the beach unless the tide is out.  Trying to descend when the tide is in is extremely dangerous, even fatal.

Waterfall near the Punchbowl, Oregon

Nearby waterfall

The trail is paved at first, but becomes sand at the bottom.  Turn right to see a little waterfall, or turn left to get to the Punchbowl.

Entering the Punchbowl at low tide, Oregon

Entering the Punchbowl

En route to the Punchbowl, enjoy the variety of tide pools and fun little rock formations created by the tides of the sea.

Sea star in a tide pool in the Punchbowl, Oregon

Sea star in a tide pool

Once at the Punchbowl, you can get inside by passing through a sea arch.  That’s pretty cool in itself.

The sea arch you don't enter through to get to the Punchbowl, Oregon

The sea arch you don’t enter through

Inside the Punchbowl is like being in another world, cold, wet, with the smell of the sea.  There are more tide pools and sea life, and on the sea side another sea arch lets water in and out.

Inside the Punchbowl, Oregon

Inside the Punchbowl

If the tide is really out, you can probably get to the sea arch on the sea side of the Punchbowl.  Otherwise (or if you don’t have long legs), go back outside the Punchbowl and walk toward the ocean along the cliff until you come to a narrow opening in the rock.  This is actually a kind of sea cave that goes all the way through to the other side of the rock.  How cool is that?

Entrance to the sea cave near the Punchbowl, Oregon

Entrance to the sea cave

Passing through the sea cave, come out near the sea side sea arch.  Watch out for the tide, though – it started coming back in, and I had to time my running right to get between the sea arch and the sea cave.  The cave itself wasn’t in any danger yet, but don’t try it when the tide is too high.

Inside the sea cave near the Punchbowl, Oregon

Inside the sea cave

It’s also fun to come back to the Punchbowl at high tide.  Instead of walking down C Avenue, keep walking down 1st Street to its end atop the headland (there is a parking area here if you don’t want to walk from the lower parking area).

The Punchbowl at high tide, Oregon

The Punchbowl at high tide

Walk along the path to the edge of the cliff (there are fences).  Look down into the ocean swirling within the Punchbowl, or down on the beach where we walked earlier in the morning – with the waves rolling over the rocks and tide pools!

The beach where we walked that morning near the Punchbowl at high tide

The beach where we walked that morning…

Round Trip Trail Length: About 2 miles

Net Elevation Change: 107ft. (107ft. at the parking area to 0ft. at sea level)

Facilities: Restrooms and water at the parking area

Fees: None

Trail Notes: The lower part of this trail is impossible at high tide.  Even accessing the Punchbowl may not be possible much before or after low tide, or at all during stormy weather (it was a pretty calm day when I visited in August).

The ocean outside the Punchbowl (seen from near the sea cave / sea side sea arch entrances), Oregon

The ocean outside the Punchbowl (seen from near the sea cave / sea side sea arch entrances)

Trail ★★★☆☆

Road ★★★★☆

Signs ★★★☆☆

Scenery ★★★★★

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Sea side sea arch from the Punchbowl, Oregon

Sea side sea arch

Key GPS Coordinates for the Punchbowl

Beverly Beach / Punchbowl Parking: 44.74765N / -124.06215W (44° 44′ 51.5400″ / -124° 3′ 43.7400″) (53ft.)

Trail Beginning: 44.74756N / -124.06250W (44° 44′ 51.2160″ / -124° 3′ 45.0000″) (107ft.) (0.0; ended at 2.35)

Trailhead: 44.74913N / -124.06274W (44° 44′ 56.8680″ / -124° 3′ 45.8640″) (86ft.) (at 0.89)

Punchbowl Overlook: 44.74709N / -124.06486W (44° 44′ 49.5240″ / -124° 3′ 53.4954″) (100ft.) (at 0.66)

Punchbowl at 1.2: 44.74684N / -124.06502W (44° 44′ 48.6234″ / -124° 3′ 54.0720″) (22ft.) (at 1.2)

Punchbowl Trail Up: 44.74940N / -124.06403W (44° 44′ 57.840″ / -124° 3′ 50.5080″) (42ft.) (at 2.1)

Sea side sea arch approached from the sea cave into the Punchbowl, Oregon

Sea side sea arch approached from the sea cave

The gpx file for the Punchbowl can be downloaded – please note that this and the GPS Coordinates are for reference only and should not be used as a sole resource when hiking this trail.

Download GPX File size: 32.0 KB Downloaded 2 times

(Note: I do my best to ensure that all downloads, the webpage, etc. are virus-free and accurate; however, I cannot be held responsible for any damage that might result, including but not limited to loss of data, damages to hardware, harm to users, from use of files, information, etc. from this website.  Thanks!)

Keyhole like entrance to the sea cave near the Punchbowl, Oregon

Keyhole like entrance to the sea cave

Getting to the Punchbowl

From Newport, OR, drive north on US-101N about 7 miles.  Take a slight left (an odd turn) following signs for Otter Crest and Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park.  After 0.4 miles, turn left onto 1st Street for 0.3 miles.  Turn right into the parking area marked for Devil’s Punchbowl.

Cliffs, rocks, seaweed, and tide pools near the Punchbowl, Oregon

Cliffs, rocks, seaweed, and tide pools near the sea cave entrance

From Tillamook, OR, drive south on US-101S about 60 miles.  Turn right, following signs for Otter Rock and Devil’s Punchbowl State Park.  Make a quick left onto the Otter Crest Loop.  After 0.2 miles, turn right onto 1st Street for 0.3 miles.  Turn right into the parking area marked for Devil’s Punchbowl.

Visual trail map of my trek to the Punchbowl, Oregon

Visual trail map of my trek to the Punchbowl

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3 thoughts on “Exploring the Punchbowl: Above and Within

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