Bandon Discovery Drive #3: 7 Devils Road and Cape Arago Hwy
This 40-mile loop tour can take you just a few hours, or enjoy the activities and scenic richness the area has to offer, and you can make it take all-day. Before leaving Bandon, pack a picnic from one of the local delis, and enjoy lunch at one of the many unforgettable viewpoints you will find along your way.
Bandon to Charleston
Beginning in Old Town Bandon, head north on Hwy 101 ~9 miles to the Charleston turnoff on Beaver Hill Road. Turn left, drive 6.2 miles on Beaver Hill Rd, then turn right and go another 6.3 miles on Seven Devils Rd to Cape Arago Hwy. A right on Cape Arago Hwy will take you into Charleston, where the harbor is the heart of the community and fishing abounds. In Charleston you can fish from the dock, engage in clamming or crabbing (with a license), or charter a boat. The area also boasts specialty gift shops and unique seafood and restaurants.
Charleston to Sunset Bay
Heading west from Charleston on Cape Arago Hwy, you will pass Bastendorf Beach County Park, Yoakam Point (accessible by trail only), and Sunset Bay State Park. Here in the inner saltwater bay, you will find picnic and day-use facilities to allow easy access to beach combing, tide pools, bird watching, boating, fishing, and swimming. A network of hiking trails connects Sunset Bay with nearby Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Parks. Hike these trails to experience coastal forests, seasonal wildflowers, and spectacular ocean vistas from the top of rugged cliffs and headlands. Views of Point Gregory and the Cape Arago Lighthouse can be found at points along the trail. If you chose not to hike, drive beyond Sunset Bay Campground to Cape Arago Lighthouse Viewpoint on the right. Look north and you will see the lighthouse sitting on a privately-owned rock, Chief’s Island. This is your best photo op of the lighthouse.
Sunset Bay to Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Park
Continue west to Shore Acres State Park with stunning ocean views and access to the beach, as well as botanical gardens featuring a rose-testing plot and Japanese lily pond. Hike the trails along the cliffs, or visit the sea lion and seal viewing area at Simpson Reef Overlook, 1.1 miles west from the entrance to Shore Acres. From this viewpoint, you will see Shell Island, part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The island and the surrounding reefs provide breeding and rest areas for sea birds and marine mammals. You may even spot a gray whale! At the end of Cape Arago Hwy is Cape Arago State Park. Two trails can be found in the park. The south trail leads down to a sandy beach and tidepools. The north trail provides access for fishing, beachcombing, and viewing the seals and sea lions at Shell Island. The trail is closed March 1- June 30 to protect seal pups.
Return to Bandon
Head back on Cape Arago Hwy to Seven Devils Road. Five miles out of Charleston, make a stop at South Slough National Estuarine Reserve. The Visitor Center provides insight into the ecological values of estuaries, slide shows on birds and animals, a gift shop, as well as a self-guided walking tour. Canoeing and Kayaking along the paddle trails at the estuary is also popular. After your stopover, continue southeast on Seven Devils Road and Beaver Hill Road to Hwy 101. Turn right, and head south toward Bandon.