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Oregon Coast View to Forever: Top of Cape Perpetua

Published 07/07/2012

Oregon Coast View to Forever: Top of Cape Perpetua

(Yachats, Oregon) – On a clear day you really can see forever up here on the top of Cape Perpetua. Some 700 feet in the air, after a sizable, winding and slightly white-knuckled drive up this mountain, the ocean literally explodes out in front of you. A distant horizon seems even more so from this soaring vantage point, while below, you have a definite aerial view of beaches and landmarks amidst this domain of surf and forestland.

The actual peak may be another 200 feet up, but who's counting when it comes to views like this? Another trail takes you to the top. But if you're not feeling so rugged or in the mood for such hiking, there's plenty of eye candy here.

A short walk from the parking lot of this National Forest Service-managed area takes you down to the stoney semi-circle viewing platforms. Check out the road going around the bend that takes you from Lincoln County into Lane County, right about where Cook's Chasm is. Except you'll see this area from high above, and the landmarks and attractions you're so familiar with become a bit of a mind-bender from this aerial view.

Keep looking in the distance – or use a zoom lens or binoculars – and you see the famed Hobbit Trail beach from here – practically all the way to Florence. That oh-so-familiar cone shaped rock at the tip of the headland is part of Heceta Head, which you'll recognize better from the other side with its famed lighthouse.

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The Cape Perpetua Visitors Center is viewable from here – but from the top. Intriguing and different to be sure. The parking lot for the Devil's Churn is seen top-down as well, while the actual Churn itself disappears into the forested bluff. There's a whole new take on the beach on Perpetua's southern face as well – often covered by tides in the winter and not always accessible. But here, on this summer's day, it's as wide and inviting as any soft, sandy Oregon coast stretch.

That beach, called Cape Cove Beach, literally only exists about half the time. It's opened up and safe in summer and parts of the shoulder seasons. But bring in a few high tides or even slightly stormier weather and it's a gnarly, gnashing and angry cove.

Of particular interested is the oddball new angle on the gargantuan walkway down to the Churn, as it zigzags down to the rocky wonder along that steep cliff. From here, almost all of it is seen, and it's not so daunting a walk as it seems when you're there.

It's fun and a relative breeze getting down there, but getting up is a real leg cramp-inducer.

More exceptional views can be found along the myriad of trails wandering around Cape Perpetua, including from the stone shelter built here in the 30's, which for a while was a lookout during world War 2.

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