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A Tale of Two Oregon Coast Chasms: Bizarre Hidden Spots and Famous Landmarks

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By Andre' GW Hagestedt

A Tale of Two Oregon Coast Chasms: Bizarre Hidden Spots and Famous Landmarks

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(Yachats, Oregon) - Deep into the wilds of the central Oregon coast, in a stretch just south of Yachats that is often unpopulated and seemingly ignored, there are a bundle of hidden gems and wonders – themselves containing other wonders. Cape Perpetua, the soaring, ancient volcano, hosts not only a dramatic viewpoint but attractions like trails, an old stone shelter that was once a lookout for enemy aircraft during WWII, a natural history museum, and a long, winding ride that is a feast for the senses. Beneath it lies the Devil’s Churn, which also contains its own set of wild surprises.

A lot is packed into just this mile or so. Two of the highlights are two chasms filled with incredible finds.

Cook's Chasm is the biggie on the list. It lies just immediately north of the Lane County/Lincoln County line. It’s practically just steps away. Park at the bridge and stone viewpoints, and you’ll immediately see an enormous crevice stretching back underneath the bridge, creating a spectacle of wave action during stormier moments. You can either soak in all the action from above or take a small trail down to the rocky slabs.

The chasm has a kind of hissing monster lying in wait: the spouting horn. Just a ways inside the crevice, a small hole in the rock compresses the wave energy even more than the V shape of the rocky slabs, causing it to fire off into the air, sometimes 10 or 15 feet high. This also creates a surprising hissing noise, making it all a bit reminiscent of the black smoke monster from the show LOST.

This area also includes the famed Thor’s Well: a large hole in the rock where the waves sometimes bubble upwards – as well as spill gently downward back into the watery abyss.

Just a stone's throw north of Cook's Chasm lies another state access called Cape Cove, and a viewpoint to yet another large crevice. This one is handicapped accessible and requires a state pass for parking. Take the quarter-mile wooden and concrete path and it'll lead you over the chasm and down some brushy areas, ending up at a viewpoint where an array of green sea goo covers a stark, striking landscape of rocky basalt. This one doesn’t have anything as dramatic as a spouting horn, but it is accessible to all and provides some amazing sights nontheless. These marine garden areas are also accessible by foot, but the taking of sea creatures is not allowed.

It’s the beginning of a sizable trail up Cape Perpetua, and it also contains the slightly hidden access to a strange little beach called Cape Cove Beach - which doesn’t exist all the time. Often, it’s so completely covered in raging tides you can’t come close to visiting.

When calmer weather and higher sand levels arrive, the trail grants you access to a fascinating mix of rocky labyrinths and a stretch towards the back crammed with enormous, ocean-battered logs: imagine the force it takes to hurl so many massive pieces of wood into one area. See the full story on Cape Cove Beach here.

It’s all found just south of Yachats and immediately north of the Lincoln County line. Lodgings in Yachats - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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