The short and scenic Otter Crest Loop is worth the detour off Highway 101. This byway branches off Highway 101 just a few miles south of Depoe Bay, as it follows a stretch of the old highway with sweeping ocean views. The old road now provides access to several hidden gems including Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area and a scenic viewpoint overlooking Cape Foulweather.
The byway takes you over the beautiful Ben Jones Bridge spanning Rocky Creek and winds through the woods just west of the main highway. Keep in mind that parts of the road are one-way only, so you will want to take the road from north to south for the full experience.
Pull off at the Otter Crest Scenic Viewpoint to admire the crashing waves, sandy beach, and panoramic views of Cape Foulweather. Just a few minutes south of the viewpoint, you’ll want to make another stop at Devils Punchbowl Natural Area. The park’s main highlight is a massive bowl carved out of rock by the ocean. You can enjoy views from the parking area or hike down to the beach and punchbowl at low tide.
The area is renowned for its great surfing, beachcombing, hiking, and whale watching. Several vacation homes, cottages, and inns are located throughout the area to provide a relaxing oceanside getaway. While you’re in the area, pick up a coffee and pastry from Cliffside Coffee & Sweets, or go tasting at Flying Dutchman Winery.
The loop connects back to the main highway on the south end, just north of Beverly Beach State Park. While you’re driving the Oregon Coast Highway, make sure you don’t miss the other scenic byway that branches off the 101 – the Three Capes Scenic Route – located near Tillamook and Cape Meares.