Cape Perpetua, The Devil’s Churn, and Thor’s Well

Cape Perpetua is in Lincoln County on the U.S. Oregon Pacific coast two miles south of the small town of Yachats, population approximately 700. It marks the point where a low spur protrudes into the ocean, and stubbornly holds back the rollers coming in. This wild and rather isolated space forms part of the Suislaw National Park the U.S. Forest Service administers as a recreational green lung.

The original population hunted for over six thousand years in search of clams, crabs, mussels, and sea urchins, and they left huge piles of shells behind that you can still see at the visitor centre. Captain Cook named it for the saint’s day on which he found it while searching for the northwest passage.

Come and See the Secrets of Cape Perpetua, Oregon

The U.S. Forest Service welcomes visitors to Cape Perpetua on the Oregon coast all year round with a wealth of hiking trails deep into old growth forests. Sightseeing, camping, picnicking, hiking and whale watching are popular pursuits. Those preferring their overnight creature comforts may find accommodation in nearby Yachats, although with small country towns it is always better to book ahead.

Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua: Graham Styles / CC BY 2.0

The Devil’s Churn, But Wait for Thor’s Well

There are also lovely walks to take along the coastline, and perhaps pop by the visitor centre to take in fine Pacific Ocean views including whales not far out to sea. During the hours before and after high tide, the directions and the size of swells can be dramatic depending on the wind speed. Then, each ocean wave literally explodes after it enters a long crack in coastal rock called Devil’s Churn, and recedes to meet the next one.

cape perpetua
Devil’s Churn: Murray Foubister / CC BY-SA 2.0

Thor’s Well

A little further on, Thor’s Well awaits to excite, enthral, amaze, and astound at high tide, with an apparently bottomless sinkhole into which each successive wave pours, and vanishes. While really only twenty feet deep, this natural attraction is dangerous with rescue an unsure hope. So no risky selfies please, keep your distance, and listen to the ranger.

Cape Perpetua is a lovely, peaceful spot, with much to see and do, and great picnic places. The visitor centre is a little gem, with expansive cultural and natural history displays, a bookshop, a small movie house showing nature films, and an interactive children’s science zone. But of course the real attraction for adrenaline seekers is Thor’s Well.

Thor’s Well:cape perpetua
Thor’s Well: Mark Gunn / CC BY 2.0

About Richard Farrell

Richard FarrellI tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time.My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast (30.7167° S, 30.4667° E). I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

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