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Soaring Highs of Cape Perpetua: Central Oregon Coast Scares, Sights - Video

Published 06/19/2020 at 5:44 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Soaring Highs of Cape Perpetua: Central Oregon Coast Scares, Sights - Video

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(Yachats, Oregon) - At 800 feet high, Cape Perpetua literally soars above the central Oregon coast, creating not only stunning viewpoints from which to watch the world but a bundle of scary precipices that are enough to initiate a fear of heights in the most steady-handed. It’s a scenic thrill ride, in a sense. Within a fairly small area, there’s a lot packed into the cape and its surroundings.

In this rather primeval, forested section of shoreline just south of Yachats, the road quickly ascends and you find yourself perched above it all fairly shortly after the city limits, beginning with a paved, unmarked pullout that presents a seemingly endless horizon. You can see this high vantage point looming above the town in the distance.

Sunsets are a major attraction here.

Keep zooming along and you soon come to the road going up to the top of Cape Perpetua, where a few miles feels like a dozen along these tight curves, but it’s a wondrous little ride. It’s particularly engaging not as much in sunny, warm weather but when it’s rainy, even misty. Then it feels otherworldly and the greens of the thick rain forest here seem especially welcoming all soaked and shiny.

Periodically, if you're super lucky, you might spot a black bear roaming in the Cape Perpetua area. They are “not common” - as the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center told Oregon Coast Beach Connection, but they can occasionally be spotted on the trails in the area (such as Cummins Creek trail and others further south) or even on this winding drive up to the top of Perpetua.

There’s a bit of an issue with them raiding garbage cans within Yachats, however. Yogi would be proud.

At the top, you’ll encounter miles of trails as well as those unforgettable viewpoints. Look down upon the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center and the bridge above Thor’s Well and Cook’s Chasm, which is kind of trippy and eye-popping.

Some of the best scenic eye candy comes after a short walk from the parking lot down a trail and around the corner, with the famed stone shelter. This was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Great Depression years and wound up being used as a lookout for invading aircraft during World War II. Now, it’s simply one of the coolest, most atmospheric structures on the whole of the Oregon coast.

For an invigorating hike and a bit of very relevant education, take the Amanda Trail around the sides of the mountain, named for a native American woman who suffered greatly at the hands of the U.S. government in the 19th century.

Major Attractions:

Devil’s Churn. The wildly entertaining and often dangerous chasm in the rocks that causes all manner of wave drama is a must-see. Even if you don’t make it all the way down you can gaze at it from above in the parking lot. Devil's Churn, Foamy Waves, Yachats

Cook’s Chasm. About two or three minutes of a drive from Cape Perpetua, at the bridge, the spouting horn here makes quite a show. It hisses as it fires off water into the air under the right conditions, and sometimes the sound can raise the hair on the back of your neck. Cook's Chasm, near Yachats

Thor’s Well. The famous and definitely dangerous hole in the rocks sits about 50 feet from the chasm, and it’s really engaging to watch if it actually bubbles upwards a bit. Most of the time, water seems to get sucked into it and disappear. Thor's Well at the Chasm, Video

Don’t be fooled by the longer periods of calm at this structure: people nearly get hurt by the raging tides here all the time. Some have lost their lives here, but luckily it’s been rare. So far. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Yachats Maps and Virtual Tours

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