What is Thor’s Well and where can I see it?
Thor’s Well is located near Spouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats. It can be viewed by taking the Captain Cook Trailhead from the Visitor Center where it is located on the rocky shelf just north of Cook’s Chasm. When tides are right, water surges upward from the bowl carved out of the basalt shoreline and then drains back into the opening. Many photographers trying to capture the action report how dangerous it is to try to get close to the spouting horn when it’s active, so if you visit, be careful and keep your distance. It can be viewed safely from the highway viewpoint at Cook’s Chasm or lower viewpoints along the paved trail.
Formations like Thor’s Well and Spouting Horn are typically formed over long periods of time geologically. They begin as a sea cave and eventually the top of the cave collapses, leaving an opening where the tide surges from below send water shooting upward with dramatic force.
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I’m pretty sure that Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well are two separate phenomena. They are in the same tidal area, however. The Spouting Horn is closer to the shore cliff. Thor’s Well requires that you walk out onto the tidal zone for viewing.
Gary Hayes says…
Lia, I had been meaning to clean up this poorly worded response. You’re right Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well are two different phenomena and I should have said they are both located in the area that is most commonly known for Spouting Horn. Both are located at Cook’s Chasm; Spouting Horn is part of the chasm’s south edge and Thor’s Well is located just to the northwest on the rocky intertidal plateau. Both can be viewed from the Cook’s Chasm viewpoint on Highway 101 near the entrance to the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center. There is some highway wayside parking just steps from the viewpoint and it is a short walk from the main parking area at the visitor center. You can view Thor’s Well safely from the viewpoint. It can be very dangerous to get too close.
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About Ask Oregon Expert Gary Hayes
Gary Hayes is publisher of Coast Explorer Magazine and founder of Explorer Media Group, a travel media and marketing company based in Seaside. Gary is a native Oregonian whose earliest memories include working on his grandfather’s fishing boat on the Oregon Coast. Now living in Cannon Beach, Gary is an extensively published photographer and writer focusing on the Oregon Coast and the Northwest's food and wine culture. He also serves as Executive Director of the SavorNW Wine Awards.