An online search provided inconclusive results, the text vague and photo subjects inconsistent. Wikipedia led me to an undefined page. Google Maps provided a pin that seemed wrong, so I spent more time looking. A city of Bandon map finally convinced me of the location (which coincides with Google’s map pin). What was the target of my search you ask? Haystack Rock in Coos County.
I knew it was one of the Oregon coast’s trio of Haystacks. So why had I not come across it during previous trips exploring Bandon with my husband?
The answer is simple. I could have stood on it – if it was reachable by foot and I could walk (both a negative) – and still not known. Bandon’s Haystack Rock looks nothing like a haystack! If harvested grain must be the unit of measure, then its shape is more like a hay bale (closer to a slug though, if you ask me). Other than being at the large end of Oregon’s sea stacks, there is nothing remarkable about it. No face, no keyhole; not an arch, bridge, hat, or breaching whale; no craggy point or intriguing shape. Just a large, flat-ish rock sharing a name with two eminent coastal sea stacks in counties farther north.
I’d seen the other two, so regardless of the poor name choice I wanted to complete the “set.” Devils Kitchen is a vantage point for this faux-Haystack, so it was fixed as a stop on our next visit to Bandon. Part of Bandon State Natural Area, Devils Kitchen is a scenic, less trodden Bandon destination. A lovely stretch of beach is reached by a fairly easy paved descent. Haystack Rock is one of the many rock formations spaced along the sand and resting among the rollers.
Although Devils Kitchen sounds like a Gordon Ramsay dining establishment, you’ll need to bring your own food if you want to eat there. But I suspect few eateries boast sand-side tables with such ocean, beach, and sea stack views – beautiful, and filling to more than the tummy.
Continuing from the picnic area the path narrows and turns to sand after a small drop off of the pavement. Sea stacks dot the sand and shallow water in both directions. To the right, Haystack Rock is visible behind a similarly shaped but smaller islet with a mound-shaped rock situated between the two. Seagulls are sprinkled along the top of these beach monoliths.
Not a fan of sand? Devils Kitchen has you covered – if a small climb is within your abilities. A bench sits on top of a grassy knoll, overlooking the beach. From here you can see Haystack Rock, as well as Face Rock (the top of the head, not the Indian princess profile) and Cat and Kittens Rocks in the distance to the north, plus lesser sea stacks to the south. And, of course, the ocean’s waves lap at the sand along the wide expanse of beach. Bring along your binoculars to maximize the sights.