Pacific Coast: Seal Rock, Devil’s Churn, Strawberry Hill


On Day 2, the sun disappeared.  Not surprising, after all, this is the Pacific Coast.  But, it did make for some less than thrilling photographs.

I re-visited this area on the final day of my trip, which thankfully, was much more sunny and blue.  You can jump to: Seal Rock or Cape Perpetua.

Between Newport and Florence, US 101 spends most of its time just a stone’s throw away from the coastline.  Sometimes the ocean is in view, other times, it’s just behind some expensive houses.

The first compelling place I found to stop was Seal Rock.

Seal Rock is a great place to spend a few minutes.  The most prominent feature is the huge rock (which is not Seal Rock at all, but rather, Elephant Rock) protruding from the beach.  Along with some smaller rocks just offshore, it creates a nice, protected stretch of sand.  As the name implies, there’s a possibility that you’ll see some seals hanging out here.  I didn’t see any seals, just a whole lot…

… of birds.  The rocks are off limits, allowing bird colonies to thrive.

So, take some pictures of birds…

… and then some more pictures of birds.  On the way back to the parking lot…

… the path passes through a tidy little forest, made up of twisted trees, stunted and contorted by the coastal winds.

Continue heading south on 101, passing through the small town of Yachats.

Devil’s Churn

Just south of Yachats, US 101 squeezes between Cape Perpetua and the coast.  Along the way, you’ll pass a viewpoint for Devil’s Churn, a long, slender inlet where powerful waves roll in, then slam against one another and the rocky walls.  Should a piece of driftwood (or a careless human) end up in the water, it wouldn’t take long to tear it to bits.

You can walk down the switchback trail for a closer look at the churn…

… or check out the Trail of the Restless Waters, which departs from the parking area, taking you through some beautiful, oddly-formed trees.

The Devil’s Churn parking area is one of those stops that’s managed by the feds, not the state of Oregon, so you’re supposed to drop $5 in the self-pay slot.  After hiking just a short distance down the Restless Waters trail, I decided it wasn’t worth risking a much more pricey parking ticket, and turned around.

Strawberry Hill

Not far after leaving Devil’s Churn, I found another roadside spot to stop.  Strawberry Hill (officially an Oregon State Park) provides a nice view of the rocky coast, as well as access to the beach.

The view north.

Walk down to the water, and you can quickly forget that US 101 is a short distance above and behind you.  You’re fairly sheltered from any crashing waves here, but I was destined to get wet, anyhow.  This is where it started raining on Day 2.

Note: This trip was first published in 2007.

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