Exploring Cape Perpetua
Just a short 5 minute drive south of Yachats, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area offers many experiences for all to enjoy with tide pools, old-growth forests and stunning views. Covering 2,700 coastal acres and with the highest car accessible view point on the coast at 800 feet, Cape Perpetua should be on your list of places to see, when on the Central Oregon Coast.
Your first stop when in Cape Perpetua, should be the Visitor Center, which is open seven days a week most of the year, to get your bearings and learn a little about the area before venturing around. While at the Visitor Center you can view the interpretive programs, short movies and even set up a guided hike, during the summer months. You can also pick out some souvenirs at the Discover Your Northwest Bookstore located inside the Visitor Center.
26 miles of trails meander through this area where temperate spruce rain-forest meets the sea. Trails to the beach/rocky shoreline, trails into the forest, trails to giant trees, trails to lookouts, there is a little bit of everything at Cape Perpetua. A few of the trails, Captain Cook Trail, Whispering Spruce Trail and the Trail of Restless Waters, are wheelchair accessible but be warned in advance, that they are rated as moderate to most difficult due to the steep grades in some sections. A great mountain biking trail is the Cummins Creep Loop Trail that starts just a little south of Visitor’s Center on HWY 101, off Forest Service Road 1050.
Cape Perpetua Points Of Interest
There are many things to see during a trip to Cape Perpetua, we encourage you to find you own special locations within the scenic area, but don’t miss out on these must see areas in Cape Perpetua.
Devil’s Churn- Wave action created this narrow inlet over thousands of years in the basalt shoreline. During big swell events and a high tide the spray from the back of Devil’s Churn can reach hundreds of feet into the air. Please use caution while visiting the churn, as sneaker waves and slippery footing can cause injury.
Cape Beach Cove- Just a short walk down some stairs will place you on this small fine sand beach with great views.
Thor’s Well- Carved into the basalt coast line below Hwy 101, this sinkhole seems to endlessly fill and drain back into the Pacific. High tide or during a large storm is the optimal time to see this natural phenomenon but on low tide and small swell days you can peer deep into the abyss and see the hydraulic mechanism at work. *Please take caution if you venture down to the edge of Thor’s Well, sneaker waves do happen and can knock you off your feet and cause injury.
Spouting Horn- Located a few hundred feet south of Thor’s Well on the other side of Cook’s Chasm. Best viewed on high tides during winter storms this crack in the rock puts on a show by shooting water high into the air. Both Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well can be view from the HWY 101 turnout or along the wheel chair accessible observation point on Captain Cook’s Trail.
Cape Perpetua Overlook- This is the highest viewpoint (800 feet) on the Oregon Coast accessible via car. Once at the top parking lot you can step out and see views stretching up to 70 miles south and up to 37 miles out to sea on a clear day. Just a short five minutes along the walking loop will lead you to a stone structure created in the 1930’s as a place to enjoy the views during less than ideal weather.
Giant Spruce Tree- At over 500 years old, 185 feet tall and 40 feet in circumference, this Sitka spruce tree is located on an easy 2 mile round trip walk from the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, along the Giant Spruce Trail.
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