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Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

Cape Perpetua is a beautiful and scenic area located on the Oregon coast, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, covers 2,700 acres, and includes a variety of habitats, including old-growth forests, rocky shores, and wetlands.

The area is located about two miles south of Yachats on the central Oregon Coast in Lincoln County. Captain James Cook—who viewed the cape from the sea, but never set foot on it—bestowed its present name on March 7, 1778, to honor Saint Perpetua on her name day.

The cape shoots out into a point in the ocean, a towering and dramatic basaltic formation from ancient shield volcanoes that rises 800 feet above sea level, the steep and densely forested headland plunges to the ocean.

James Cook

At its base, there are several unusual rock formations that are popular visitor attractions—Thor’s Well, Spouting Horn, and Devil’s Churn. All three consist of eroded natural fissures in the intertidal basalt flows, where waves churn, seethe, and collide.

One of the most popular attractions at Cape Perpetua is the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center. The visitor center is located in a historic 1930s-era Coast Guard station, and it offers a variety of exhibits and displays that highlight the natural and cultural history of the area.

The visitor center is also a great place to learn about the many hiking trails that are located in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. These trails offer stunning views of the coast and the surrounding forests, and they are a great way to explore the natural beauty of the area.

The views are breathtaking.

One of the most popular trails at Cape Perpetua is the Cape Perpetua Trail, which is a 2.5-mile loop trail that offers panoramic views of the coast and the surrounding forests. The trail passes by several scenic overlooks, including the Thor’s Well overlook, which offers a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to hiking, Cape Perpetua is also a great place for birdwatching, picnicking, and other outdoor activities. The area is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including old-growth forests, seabirds, and marine mammals.

The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is also home to several historic structures, including the Cape Perpetua Lighthouse, which was built in 1894. The lighthouse is no longer in use, but it is open to the public, and it offers beautiful views of the coast and the surrounding forests.

Stone Shelter Outlook

Even more interesting, in my opinion, is the Stone Shelter Outlook.

The CCC-constructed West Shelter sits atop the 45 million-year-old oceanic shield volcano of Cape Perpetua. On a clear day, the shelter offers a 70-mile view up and down the central Oregon coast and the horizon sits 40 miles out on the Pacific Ocean. With binoculars, you can experience gray whale migrations in season and the meadows at the top of the Cape offer a dazzling variety of wildflowers in spring and early summer. The stone shelter, built in 1933, is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors can drive to the top of Cape Perpetua, park in the paid parking area, and take a short 800ft footpath to the shelter. Alternatively, the shelter can also be reached from the Visitors Center and campground via the St. Perpetua and Whispering Spruce Trails.

Overall, Cape Perpetua is a beautiful and scenic area that offers a variety of outdoor activities and opportunities for exploring the natural beauty of the Oregon coast. Whether you are interested in hiking, birdwatching, or just taking in stunning views, Cape Perpetua is a great destination for nature lovers of all kinds.

Here are a few additional points of interest:

  • In addition to the Cape Perpetua Lighthouse, the area also has a number of other historic structures, including the old Cape Perpetua Coast Guard station and the Cape Perpetua Military Reservation, which was built in the 1940s.
  • Devil’s Churn, a narrow inlet that is carved into the rocky shoreline by the powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Home to a number of rare and endangered species, including the marbled murrelet, a small seabird that nests in the old-growth forests of the area.
  • a popular destination for whale watching. Gray whales, humpback whales, and other marine mammals can often be seen from the shores of Cape Perpetua, and the area is also home to a number of other marine species, including sea lions, seals, and sea otters.
  • the area also has a number of other amenities, including restrooms, picnic areas, and a campground. The campground is located in a beautiful forest setting and offers a variety of campsites, including RV sites and tent sites.


  • Greyson Shore

    Greyson Shore is a writer and photographer who lives along the beautiful Oregon Coast among the ancient Sitka Spruce forests, the misty mountains, and the soothing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

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