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Cook's Chasm a Gateway to Oregon Coast Curiosities, Things That Explode | Video

Published 09/09/21 at 6:46 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Cook's Chasm a Gateway to Oregon Coast Curiosities, Things That Explode | Video

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(Yachats, Oregon) - It's the gateway to Thor's Well and a host of other wild Oregon coast curiosities.

South of Yachats and Cape Perpetua, and just immediately north of the Lane / Lincoln County line, you'll find Cook's Chasm. Here, it's a fairly large, meandering wonderland of spouting horns, wave-whacked rocky spots and tons of tidepools. Not to mention, it's one of the few really spectacular viewpoints on the coast that's wheelchair accessible.

All of this scenic yumminess begins at the pullout that's actually within view of that county line, just on the Lincoln County side. A long, stone wall decorates the first section of the parking lot, giving way to the ornate bridge eventually and two stone lookout points that resemble a castle to some degree, especially when you look at them from afar. The parking lot is now sometimes referred to as the Thor's Well Trailhead.

Below is the sizable crevice that forms the Spouting Horn, carved out of the rock here that's some 36 million years old or more, formed long before there was an Oregon coastline. Mostly underwater volcanoes created this basalt back then.

It's a kick to watch the Spouting Horn from up here, which emits a hissing noise when and if it happens (tidal conditions don't always create it). Wait until sunset and you may get to see the engaging feature lit up by the colors of dusk, painted in pinks or reds.


Below that is the famed Thor's Well itself, which really isn't nearly as interesting as the Spouting Horn. Yet it draws Oregon coast visitors like moths to a flame – almost literally. It's a dangerous hole in the rocks to be close to, and it has caused more than one death in the past decade. Yachats locals frequently try to warn people away, get rude reactions, and then watch helplessly as those folks get soaked by incoming waves.

It's a disaster waiting to happen, so be warned and stay clear: don't become one of the statistics.

There's a lovely bench set below the big wall, perfect for viewing the tidal melee. Take a look just to the north of Thor's Well and there's another large crevice that cajoles massive waves to come crashing in – and they oblige. Whoppers smack these rocks rather abruptly and without warning.

On the much safer side, there are a host of paved pathways here that allow wheelchairs, letting more people meander around the marine gardens just north of the crevices. It's the Captain Cook Trail, a quarter-mile path that will lead you over another massive groove 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 and waves that shoot up in the air.

The paved path continues into a tunnel that goes underneath the highway. The Captain Cook Trail takes you all the way up to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center.


Meanwhile, from all these vantage points below, you can crane your neck upwards to see Cape Perpetua's top from here, and the steep, notched and green slope that leads the eye up.

Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County

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