Your Guide to Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area in Oregon

Violent, mesmerizing, and beautiful, the waves of the Pacific have slowly carved out this stunning Oregon coast formation.

Devils Punch Bowl Oregon
Devils Punch Bowl, Oregon at Low Tide. Photo by LiquidCrash via Flickr CC2.

Last updated on July 10th, 2022 at 08:45 am

Violent, mesmerizing, and beautiful, the waves of the Pacific Ocean have slowly carved out what is known as the Devils Punch Bowl in Oregon.  Devils Punch Bowl was once a sea cave, but eventually, the roof of the cave collapsed creating the open punchbowl formation you can visit today near Newport, Oregon.

Aerial view Devils Punch Bowl
Aerial view of Devils Punch Bowl / Google Imagery

Just north of Newport is the small seaside town of Depoe Bay, and not far from there is Otter Rock. Just off U.S. 101 is the popular attraction, known as the Devils Punch Bowl. This attraction draws in the curious from all over the world and sits within the Devils Punch Bowl State Natural Area. Back in the 70s, a geology guide referred to this magnificent place as “Satan’s Cauldron.”

Devils Punch Bowl in Oregon


Reaching this attraction off Highway 101 is easy. You’ll take the turn off Highway 101 onto Otter Crest Loop, and there will be a sign for the punch bowl. Following the road a bit further will take you to a large parking lot, which includes a public bathroom.

Visitors to Devils Punch Bowl will find their experiences differ depending on the tide level.  At low tide the punch bowl is empty and visitors can enter it from the beach.  At high tide the punchbowl is full, and visitors can watch from above as the waves churn violently within the rock formation.

Devils Punchbowl
Devils Punch Bowl at High Tide. Photo by Al Case via Flickr CC2.

 

Trail to Devils Punch Bowl

This hike is fairly short, and won’t take much time to reach the bowl itself at around 0.8 miles out and back. The upper trail takes you from the parking lot to the viewpoint. Watching the waves crash from here is especially impressive when the waves are much larger.

Just south of the parking area, you can explore a gorgeous, long stretch of beach which is especially nice during the summer – and easy to get to. This beach is prime for walking or even having a picnic. Hit the link here for a great source to check the tide and surf.

Going Inside the Devils Punch Bowl

While the impressive waves of the sea fill the rocky bowl like a witch’s brew, the bowl would be an absolute nightmare to be caught in when the tide comes up. I can’t imagine anyone would be able to survive being trapped in here as the ocean fills the bowl. I think it goes without saying, this place can be very dangerous.

And while exploring, you may even come across some beautiful sea creatures.

starfish oregon coast
Danielle Denham / thePDXphotographer

And not just the starfish, here’s another little friend we encountered inside. And as a friendly reminder, we ask that you leave the creatures be in their natural habitat.

Devils Punch Bowl Oregon
Devils Punch Bowl at Low Tide. Photo by Oregon Marine Reserves via Flickr CC2.

And not just the starfish, here’s another little friend we encountered inside. And as a friendly reminder, we ask that you leave the creatures be in their natural habitat.

Devils Punch Bowl
Danielle Denham / thePDXphotographer

How Was the Devils Punch Bowl Formed?

The Devils Punch Bowl, Oregon, which could be as old as 18 million years, was formed when two sea caves eroded into one large cave. Formed from sandstone and siltstone, eventually, the ceiling collapsed as waves ate away at the sandstone and the Devils Punch Bowl was created.

According to BeachConnection, “At some point over the millennia this sandstone existed, rock-boring clams made their homes in these channels going into the Punchbowl. Such holes are still visible today during extreme low tide events. Also, wood fossils have been found in the structure of the Punchbowl as well.”

Interestingly, the bowl was acquired between 1929 and 1971. First given to the state of Oregon by F. W. and C. P. Leadbetter. Sometime later, tracts were purchased from other private owners.

Please note: Exploring sea caves, beaches and tidepools is an at-your-own-risk activity.  It is recommended that you do not enter the water and that you be aware of the tide level and waves at all times.  Do not climb or vandalize the rock formation.

Other Things to Do Near Devils Punch Bowl, Oregon

Cape Perpetua: Once considered one of Oregon’s great mysteries, Thor’s Well is a bowl-shaped hole carved into the basalt shoreline of Cape Perpetua.

Oregon Lighthouses: Of the 11 Oregon lighthouses on the coast, seven of them are open to the public and most are still active.

God’s Thumb Hike: Nestled just north of Otter Rock and Devil’s Punchbowl is Lincoln City, home to one of the prettiest hikes on the Oregon Coast.

Check out more awesome caves to explore in Oregon here.

More information here: Website