The Siuslaw National Forest on the central Oregon coast holds many treasures. Just two miles south of Yachats, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is one of the finest.
At Cape Perpetua the shore is rugged and the ocean wild. As the ocean crashes on rocky shore it produces awe inducing sights. The Devil’s Churn and spouting horns here will amaze you. As the waves reach the end of the Devil’s Churn, they can spray water several hundred feet into the air. When the ocean is forced up through holes in the rocks they become spouting horns, shooting water high into the air. Remember to be extremely cautious here as it can be very dangerous.
Native Americans gathered clams, mussels, crabs, and sea urchins for about 6,000 years. Huge piles of discarded shells are scattered along the shore near the Visitors Center. They remind us that others were here before we came.
The area away from the ocean includes a Visitors Center can provide you with maps that will guide you along the eleven different trails and a total length of 27 miles. The wheelchair accessible Captain Cook Trail will lead you from the Visitor Center to edge of the shoreline. You can hike as long as you like through the forest of giant Sitka Spruce and ferns. Sturdy shoes and a walking stick are recommended for hiking here.
On Saturdays July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 25, and Sept. 1st, U.S. Forest Service field rangers will be available to take you on an EcoTrek. These hikes range in difficulty from easy to moderately difficult and last about two hours. The field rangers provide an in-depth experience on topics such as cultural history and coastal rain forest ecology.
At low tide, you can explore the tide pools. Existence in these pools is difficult with waves crashing endlessly over the creatures that live here, but anemones, crabs and stars thrive. Kelp, seaweed, algae, sea lettuce and moss, and a variety of other plants grow in abundance.
Camping is available at Washburne State Park Campground. You can rent a yurt; bring your own tent, trailer, or RV. You can listen to the ocean as you fall asleep. If you are lucky an elk may wander through while you are there.
Near the top of the cape is a curious looking stone building. It looks like something that might have been built in prehistoric times. In reality however, it was built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The shelter was used during World War II as an observation station looking for enemy boats or aircraft. Radar and a large coastal defense gun were briefly set up near the shelter. The Civilian Conservation Corps They also built some of the trails found in the park as well as Washburne State Park Campground.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area includes an enormous number of things to see and do. This tiny dot in the Siuslaw National Forest will make a huge impact on you.
Article written by Mary Boyer
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