Post Summary: Detailed Descriptions of Rock Formations at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint in Bandon, Oregon
Let us guess what you’re thinking…
When you think of beaches on the Oregon Coast, your mind goes to the north – to places like Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach, right?
While we completely agree that super popular northern beaches like Cannon Beach and Cape Kiwanda deserve all the hype they are given, that’s just the beginning!
As you drive down the Oregon Coast, the beaches of the southern coast unveil their mystery and wonder the more you explore…
We’re focusing on one of those beaches today, specifically Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint in Bandon, Oregon.
There are so many reasons why this location should be part of your next road trip in Oregon, and we’re sharing everything we know below.
Keep scrolling for the best photo spots, places to stay, and more tips to enjoy Face Rock in Bandon, Oregon!
9 Stunning Sea Stacks At Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint
Quick Note: We did as much digging as we could to find accurate names of the rock formations. If you have any additional information or corrections, please let us know in the comment section!
What’s so special about this area?
A lot of things, actually! From folklore, cool geological features, and epic things to do in the area, there are so many reasons to visit Face Rock in Bandon, Oregon.
Face Rock has a lot of origin stories, but the most well-told one is an indigenous story from the Nasomah (Coquille) tribe, about Chief Siskiyou’s daughter Euwana. After a cheerful gathering, Euwana ran out into the sea and was caught in the waves, along with her cat and kittens (which is a rock formation’s name), and her lover, Komax. You can read the full story of the legend of Face Rock here to understand the names of the formations & the meaning behind them.
This part of the Oregon Coast is an amazing example of erosion with varied sea stacks of all shapes and sizes!
Directions To Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint
It’s very easy to get to Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, especially as an easy stop on your Oregon Coast road trip, or even a mega trip down the Pacific Coast Highway! Here are some directions from popular nearby Oregon destinations:
- Distance from Portland to Bandon, Oregon: 245 miles, 4-hour 15-minute drive
- Distance From Eugene to Bandon, Oregon: 141 miles, 2-hour 30-minute drive
What To Bring To Bandon Beach, Oregon
Similar to gear to bring on the Washington Coast, Oregon’s beaches deserve lots of exploration, too. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet! Here are some things we recommend packing for a trip to Bandon, Oregon:
Rain Boots – While you won’t necessarily need them for rain, it’s nice to have rain boots to hop in and out of the waves as they come in.
Sunglasses – Sunglasses are rare items on a packing list for the Pacific Northwest, but the Southern Oregon Coast is known for being sunnier than its neighboring Oregon beaches in the north. If you are staying at Face Rock for sunset, make sure to pack them to save your eyes! We like the ones that Sunski makes, and we also pop on a pair of Chums retainers to keep track of them on windy days!
Tripod – If you are a fan of long exposures, Face Rock is the perfect place to capture them! Bring a sturdy tripod (this one from Peak Design is our absolute favorite for traveling), and keep an eye on it to prevent sinking in the sand or toppling over.
Windbreaker – No matter the time of day, there will likely be a sea breeze on the Oregon Coast. Stay warm with this super lightweight windbreaker.
Day Pack – We really like using Peak Design bags when traveling with our cameras. We love how easy it is to access cameras with the side pockets, and its low profile makes it light and comfortable for extended use!
Best Photo Spots at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint
One of the biggest reasons Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint is so popular is because of the plethora of photo opportunities here. This is arguably one of the best photo spots in Oregon, because of its wide array of gorgeous sea stacks, oceanside features, and incredible sunsets.
To help you make the most of your own photo tour of the Oregon Coast, we’re sharing some of the features on Bandon beach that can’t be missed. Keep scrolling!
Parking Lot Overlook
The party starts the second you get out of the car! From the parking lot, you are given a higher vantage point of the rock formations below. Spend some time orienting yourself, and make a game plan of how you’ll walk along the shore to see everything up close.
We opted to take the trail down to the beach just south of the parking lot, starting at the southern portion of the formations and made our way north on the beach. Alternatively, you could park near Coquille Point and walk south along the beach.
One of the first sea stacks you will encounter is Face Rock, the state park’s namesake. Face Rock is known for the near-perfect side profile of the legend’s princess, gazing skyward towards the moon. It’s also one of the easiest formations to recognize – the features of the rock make it look unmistakably like a real face!
Photo Tip: You can capture Face Rock above from the parking lot, but we found that the shot was more interesting when we got closer to the shore. We captured these seagulls in the foreground to give the image some life and interest!
The Wizard’s Hat
Another formation easily spotted from above is the Wizard’s Hat. Its triangular shape kept reminding us of the sorting hat on Harry Potter, looking twisted and ragged from the shadows of the sun.
Another Wizard’s Hat Lookalike: This rock formation looks like the Wizard’s Hat, but it’s located more south on the beach.
We loved photographing this formation later in the day, because of the long shadow it casts from the sun. We recommend visiting it during different times of the day to find your favorite perspective and style, too!
Gravel Point sits directly underneath the Parking Lot Overlook, but you can only access it by walking alongside the beach. This area includes scattered rock formations in an intertidal area to explore in-depth during low tide. To access the most area on foot, we recommend timing your visit during low tide.
One of the coolest features here is the cave. This shallow section carved into the hillside was fun to use for photographs. As always, use caution when entering the cave, because it may or may not be unstable!
There aren’t many Oregon tide pools in this area, but if you do discover some (mostly in the north near Coquille Point), here is a quick refresher on tide pool etiquette:
- Wear waterproof/water safe shoes to prevent slipping
- Only step on bare-surface rocks to avoid hurting marine life
- Do not take anything with you (leave the animals where they are), with the exception of trash!
- Watch the tide for ‘sneaker’ waves and don’t turn your back to the ocean
- Never force an animal off of its spot. If it doesn’t want to release its grip, leave it be.
Coquille Point is located at the north end of Bandon Beach, officially part of the Kronenberg County Park. You may think that the most photogenic part of Coquille Point is the view, but equally as beautiful is the large set of stairs that lead to the ocean. The stairway brings you right down to the beach and is an excellent place to watch the sunset in the evening.
For easy access to this location, park at the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge parking lot, and make your way towards the beach.
Table Rock is also located on the north side of Bandon Beach, with beach access north of Coquille Point. We didn’t get a great photo of it during our last visit, but you can expect it to look like its namesake – a table!
This large, flat-topped sea stack sits relatively alone among the others scattered along the shore, making it a great focal point for sunset photography.
If you are taking the Bandon Oregon Coast Walk, (a 4-4 mile out and back trail across the entire beach), Table Rock is one of the first major rock formations you will see on the trail.
One of the formations that took us by complete surprise is the Keyhole! This isn’t the official name for it, but we bestowed the name this particular evening for the heavenly beam of light that burst through its archway.
Photography Tip: The sunset streaming through the hole isn’t a common occurrence. I believe we were there under specific conditions! If you are wanting to photograph the sunset here, we suggest doing some research and downloading an app called Photopills to time the sunset!
Make sure to browse these other photo editing apps for travelers to save you time and effort when planning timely shoots like this one!
Frequently Asked Questions About Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint
Can I Fly A Drone at Face Rock in Bandon?
Short answer, no.
Long answer, Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, along with the Bandon State Natural Area and Seven Devils State Recreation Area are active nesting habitats for birds. Oregon state parks are committed to protecting the area to protect wildlife here and prevent visitors from disturbing their delicate habitats.
Can I Shoot Night Photography at Face Rock in Bandon, Oregon?
Yes, but you will need to pick up a free permit at Bullards Beach Park Office or the Coquille River Lighthouse. Permits are typically good between 1 and 7 days, and it allows you to keep your car in the day-use lot and allow you to use the area from dusk until 11:00 pm. Call the park office at (541)-347-2209 ext. 221 for more information.
Other Places To Explore Near Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint
Coos Bay, Oregon – Perfect for a weekend escape (you’ve gotta check out Bay Point Landing!), Coos Bay is home to gorgeous Oregon state parks, great food, and even the Oregon dunes.
Bullards Beach State Park – You are able to rent yurts near the beach at this state park!
Seven Devils State Recreation Area – Wide open spaces for long walks on the beach.
Devil’s Kitchen Vista Point – Located on the north part of the Bandon State Natural Area, you can enjoy the tall seagrass & other sea stacks dotting the shoreline.
Cape Blanco – Located at the most western point of the state, Cape Blanco is known for its lighthouse, single prominent sea stack, and opportunities for dramatic cliffside photography. Here, there are stunning hiking trails on the Oregon coast to explore!
Gold Beach – This seaside town serves up endless opportunities to get out on the ocean, with iconic beaches scattering the shores both north and south.
Samuel H Boardman – Samuel H Boardman is likely one of the most popular stops on an Oregon Coast road trip, known for its gorgeous natural bridges, cliffside hikes, Secret Beach!
Heceta Head Lighthouse – This historic (and supposedly haunted) lighthouse serves up epic views, gorgeous trails, and lots of opportunities to learn about Oregon’s past.