I love the Central Coast of Oregon, especially the Cape Perpetua coastline, but I don’t always enjoy the hustle and bustle of the busy tourist season. I prefer to visit the beautiful Oregon Coast during the off-season. For me, the ideal time to plan an excursion is in late winter. Spring and warmer weather are just around the corner, and winter’s chill is close to making its exit.
To begin your adventure, stop by the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, located 2 miles south of Yachats on Highway 101. They will advise you of the tides and any weather precautions. Then it’s time to explore!
One of my favorite haunts is Thor’s Well, an impressive natural wonder. This black hole in the ocean appears to be a foreboding, craggy mouth that gulps up the Pacific seawater like a hungry beast. Actually, its jagged rocks cover a depth of only about 20 feet. It is a mesmerizing illusion. The best time to visit is within an hour before or after high tide. A word of caution to onlookers: This fantastic water show is not one to be taken lightly and in fact can be quite dangerous. Use extreme caution when viewing and keep a safe distance away. You can safely view the well from the viewpoint at Cook’s Chasm.
On the Thor’s Well trail, you can view Spouting Horn from a platform. This water geyser is sure to delight as it shoots up a stream of water when a wave hits it. Spouting Horn is actually a sea cave with an opening at the top that was created over thousands of years as waves continuously crashed into the coastline. When larger waves, such as during high tides or storms, hit the sea cave, the water is forced through the opening. Viewers are rewarded with a water shower and sometimes a loud hiss. Imagine having a mouthful of water and squirting it through your teeth. Well, this is like that but on a much larger scale! It’s not as dangerous-looking as Thor’s Well, but impressive nevertheless. (And still keep your distance.)
Last but not least, travel south of Yachats along Highway 101 and check out Devil’s Churn. Here you will witness seawater swirling and dancing as it reaches the end of the churn, finally exploding into a sea spray that can reach several hundred feet high. Devil’s Churn was formed over thousands of years as waves weathered the basalt shoreline. You can access it from the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center or the Highway 101 overlook.
Be sure to plan your trip around the tide charts and wear comfortable, sturdy, waterproof shoes. Plan on getting wet. Always keep a safe distance. Stay long enough to watch the sun setting on the horizon, and don’t forget to bring your camera. You won’t be sorry you did.
I cannot wait to visit again, and I am sure I will not be disappointed with the water show choreographed by nature!