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Bandon Beach Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking to Face Rock and Grave Point, Grave Point, Bandon Beach (bobcat)
The Coquille River Lighthouse from the South Jetty (bobcat)
Coastal gumweed (Grindelia stricta), Bandon Beach (bobcat)
Arch in Elephant Rock, Coquille Point ( (bobcat)
Dwarf brodiaea (Brodiaea terrestris terrestris), Devils Kitchen (bobcat)
The beach walk at Bandon; off-beach diversions in orange (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps

Contents

Hike Description

Bandon is well-known for its memorable seascape of stacks of all shapes and sizes. These rock formations are known to geologists as ‘knockers.’ They date from the Jurassic period – about 200 to 145 million years ago – and are what remains from the great mélange during tectonic subduction processes when different types of rock are exposed to the surface, and the softer sandstone and mudstone are eroded away. The jetty itself, from where you will begin this hike, is composed of blue schist quarried from Grandmother Rock, an inland representative of the knocker which was sacred to the Coquille Indians. Nothing of Grandmother Rock remains in its original location, but the other knockers out in the ocean are now protected and host sea birds, seals, and sea lions.

You need to plan your walk around the tides: an hour before and after high tide, it may be difficult to get around Coquille Point and Grave Point. Also remember that, even with balmy weather a few hundred yards inland, coastal fogs can develop suddenly and restrict visibility.

From the parking area, look across the Coquille River to the little Coquille River Lighthouse, decommissioned in 1939 after the 1936 fire that destroyed most of Bandon, and restored in the 1990s with a solar-powered light. It is part of Bullards Beach State Park. Walk down to the beach and start heading south. Your closest knocker is the appropriately named Black Rock, and Table Rock, which hosts nesting seabirds, should also be obvious. The bluff above is studded with beach homes, but soon you will reach Coquille Point, a mainland section of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, to which all of the knockers belong although the islands are officially part of the Oregon Islands Wilderness as well. A path leads up on the south side of Coquille Point if you want to get views from the top. There are short trails around the point.

Pass through a narrow gap between the rocks that funnels the wind, and admire the arch in Elephant Rock. Continue walking down the beach, encountering a jagged group of knockers on the sand. Offshore, a stack that looks a little like a posing sea lion is Komax, the faithful dog of Ewauna, daughter of Siskiyou, a Coquille Chief. Farther out to sea are the Cat and Kittens Rocks, also Ewauna’s pets. Reach Grave Point, a headland which also seems to collect the wind. Offshore from the point is Bandon’s most famous knocker, Ewauna herself, known today as Face Rock. During a potlatch oreganized by her father, Ewauna swam out into the ocean and was seized by the sea monster, Seatka. Ewauna resisted Seatka’s attempts to make her fall under his spell, but she and her pets were unable to get back to shore and became monuments in stone. Listen carefully, and you might hear Ewauna speaking in the wind (See the Legend of Face Rock). There’s a tunnel and sea cave in Grave Point, as well as a staircase on the south side that leads up to the Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint. Look for colorful rocks composed of blue-green schist.

Continue walking south past a colorful display of stacks, many stranded on the beach, until you find an open expanse of sand ahead of you. To the left are low dunes, and you’ll have to hop with alacrity over wide Johnson Creek. Soon, you’ll pass a few more knockers on the beach with large Haystack Rock, a.k.a. Fish Rock, looming offshore. Where you see emergency locator sign #154, you can follow a trail up the bluff to the Devils Kitchen Trailhead, where there are restrooms and picnic tables. Just south of this access is a gully which disgorges Crooked Creek into the ocean.

This is a good place to turn around and hike back up the beach to the Coquille River South Jetty Trailhead. A loop is possible taking the Beach Loop Drive north from the Devils Kitchen Trailhead, but there are no sidewalks and, unless the tide is at its high point, the knockers are worth revisiting.


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Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • Trips & Trails: Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking Oregon’s History by William L. Sullivan
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Oregon Campgrounds Hiking Guide by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Out Our Back Door: Driving Tours and Day-Hikes in Oregon’s Coos Region by Tom Baake
  • Oregon Coast Hikes by Paul M. Williams
  • Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail by Connie Soper
  • Oregon Coast Trail: Hiking Inn to Inn by Jack D. Remington
  • The Oregon Coast Trail Guide by Jon Kenneke (eBook)
  • Oregon’s Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • The Dog Lover’s Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson

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Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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