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A short spur off the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, this Route showcases a glorious stretch of coastline that includes six state parks, two National Wildlife Refuges and America’s first National Estuarine Research Reserve.

To Coos Head

From North Bend, take Cape Arago Highway to Charleston, a working fishing port and a great point of departure for a charter fishing trip. Soon you’ll pass the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, a teaching and research extension of the University of Oregon, and Coos Head, which offers offers a fascinating look at the mouth of this dynamic estuary. Driving south, you’ll reach Bastendorff Beach County Park, a popular surfing spot.

Out to Cape Arago

A series of beautiful parks awaits you on this stretch of the Route. First stop is Sunset Bay State Park, which features a beach surrounded by sandstone cliffs that shield this favorite swimming cove from the strongest winds and waves. Three mile farther on you’ll reach Shore Acres State Park, which rests upon a bluff that offers sweeping views of the Pacific. The Park was once the site of a grand estate built by lumber baron, Louis B. Simpson; the restored five acre gardens of the Simpson estate, filled with exotic plants from around the world, are now open to the public. The road ends at Cape Arago State Park, poised 200 feet above the Pacific. Watch for seals and sea lions in the surf near Simpson Reef, and for migrating whales farther off the coast in the winter. To reach the next leg of the Route, retrace your route for six miles and then turn right on Seven Devils Road.

Down to the Lighthouse

Driving south, you’ll come to the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, home to many important species including bald eagles, great blue herons, elk and Dungeness crab; it also offers a number of great hiking and paddling trails. A little farther along, you’ll pass some of Bandon’s celebrated cranberry bogs (Bandon is, after all, the unofficial cranberry capital of the Pacific Northwest). Anchoring the southern leg of the Route is the Coquille River Lighthouse, one of Oregon’s most photographed landmarks. The Route skirts the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge before going along the edge of Old Town Bandon. The southern end of the Route traces the scenic drive along the cliff, with stunning views of sea stacks and surf.

Nearby Scenic Byways

Looking for more Scenic Byways nearby? Here are some suggestions…

  1. Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway

    • Distance: 106 M / 171 Km
    • Minimum Driving Time: 3-5 Hours
    • Best Time to Drive: Summer And Fall

    The 100-mile loop skirts ghost towns, historic gold mines and gold mining cabins, with the enchanting beauty of the Elkhorn Mountains as a backdrop.

  2. Pacific Coast Scenic Byway

    • Distance: 363 M / 584 Km
    • Minimum Driving Time: 10-12 Hours
    • Best Time to Drive: Winter Through Summer

    Yes, it’s possible to drive the entire Pacific Coast Scenic Byway in a single day — but you’ll want more time to experience the breathtaking viewpoints, stunning state parks and quaint coastal towns.

  3. Silver Falls Tour Route

    • Distance: 55 M / 88 Km
    • Minimum Driving Time: 2-3 Hours
    • Best Time to Drive: All Year

    Majestic mountains (such as Hood and Rainier) soar over lush green fields except in the forest areas; these areas are filled with Douglas Firs that sunlight can’t quite part. Silver Falls State Park is intimate in spite of the thunder of its…

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Drive safely.

Keep in mind many of the routes listed here travel through remote areas where gas stations are few and far between. And since road and weather conditions can be hazardous, even into summer, we urge you to call 800-977-6368 or check Trip Check before starting out.

Share your thoughts Comments

Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. Elenibee says…

    Beautiful drive! Just follow the signs for the covered bridge route and it will take you to all the bridges. Cottage Grove is a cute little town, and the bridges were really charming and fun to go see. Theres a bike path around Dorena Lake that looked cool too.

    Written on June 19th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
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