Two Extraordinary Scenic Drives Along a Wilderness of the Oregon Coast
Published on 08/11/22 at 14:49
By the staff of the Oregon Coast Beach Connection
(Yachats, Oregon) – There are times on this shoreline when you are forced to drive around. (Above: near Florence, Roosevelt Beach. Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)
Sometimes (some would say more often than that) the weather just doesn’t cooperate on a trip to the Oregon Coast. But even if he’s in really good spirits and good humor, you might want to see a lot of it in one sitting. A nice ride will fit this bill just fine.
On Oregon’s central coast, near the very center of the state’s beaches, two wild and rugged possibilities lie next to each other. Some of the best views and roads are tucked comfortably along the waterfront between Florence and Yachats. These offer some of the most intense scenery in your rig’s comfort zone.
Automatic visit to Cape Perpetua. Come rain or shine, the area around Cape Perpetua is a constant wow inducer. Just south of Yachats, a few hundred yards south of the Devil’s Churn parking lot, you’ll find the entrance. The sign is clearly marked here: take the road on the east side of the highway to get to the interpretation center, to get to the top of Cap Perpétue and its trails or to complete the 30 km and 45 minute tour around of the mountain. and back to Yachats.
Keep going straight and you’ll soon have a choice of taking the grand racetrack and scenic route, or climbing the small mountain to the top. You’ll meander through thick rainforest before ending up in Yachats.
The short, winding trek to the top, however, offers a huge reward. Here you have risen 803 feet above the sea and the panoramic view is awe-inspiring – augmented by an atmospheric stone wall surrounding the viewpoint.
It’s a longtime favorite for many, who often don’t miss it if they’re in the area.
South of Yachats. It’s the kind of drive that could be your last: it’s so tempting to keep staring out the window that it takes a lot of discipline to keep your eyes on the road.
Many visitors never tire of this one, in part because there is so much to see.
It may also come as a revelation to many that many travel scenes from the Bates Motel show were filmed here. The edgy show was set in a mythical town on the Oregon coast, showing the evolution of Norman Bates into character from the original Psycho movie. Luckily, no one lurks around these scenic bends with a big knife.
Watching old episodes, it’s a kicker to occasionally spot some of these great views. According to an Oregon Coast Beach Connection reader, the showrunners used local Oregon talent to film these brief cuts.
Bob Creek Wayside
This just 25-mile stretch between Florence and Yachats is filled with plenty of tight curves atop high cliffs that create an endless cavalcade of stunning ocean views. If the weather is gloomy, there is plenty to see along this route. And if it’s anything but difficult, it’s one of the most pristine and least traveled sections of the entire Oregon Coast.
First, south of Yachats, you begin the climb to Cape Perpetua and the Devil’s Churn, as plateaus of blackened basalt meander between you and the sea in various unidentifiable forms. For the next 20 or so kilometers, the road climbs and descends, interspersed with rocky landscapes and sandy beaches dotted with boulders and basalt structures.
Some have cliffs and some are quite flat, but all are pretty much devoid of human presence. At Strawberry Hill, climb a large promontory with steps embedded in the rocks and sand, and walk to a stretch of sand of different colors and textures, where the rocks and formations create a kind of maze. Ponds reign supreme here.
There’s the cobbled surrealism of Bob Creek Wayside, where at low tide strange mushroom-like rocks emerge and are covered in crispy sea life and starfish. At Rock Creek Campground and Beach from Roosevelt there is sand and small sea stacks, with a patch of basalt cradling an idyllic, babbling stream. A little south of there, places like Muriel O. Ponsler Wayside are all sand, and that’s about where the landscape flattens out into seemingly endless beaches.
Just north of Florence, you’ll enjoy the incredible views near Heceta Head Lighthouse and the Sea Lion Caves, where myriad outings allow you to gaze in awe at the wildlife-covered cliffs and spectacular lapping waves. in domed structures at the bottom.
It’s not just a drive you’ll fall in love with, but one you’ll likely become addicted to.
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