Discovered in 1778 by explorer Captain James Cook, Cape Perpetua on the Oregon Coast towers 800 feet above the protected Marine Garden shoreline. And it is pretty much straight up the sheer cliffs. It is the highest viewpoint on the coast accessible by car. When the skies are clear, it is possible to see 37 miles out to sea and along the 70 miles of coastline. The scenic area extends through 2,700 acres of coastal habitat and has been retained for the unusual ecological attributes found here where a spruce rainforest blends into the sea.
Captain Cook is the one who named the cape after Saint Perpetua. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933, the cape became a base camp for young men to learn many different skills. These young men made many of the trails and campgrounds that can still be seen here. Their unique work is identified by the native rock they always used to construct retaining walls and buildings and some of that still remains. They also planted much of the foliage that is still growing.
There is a great deal of activity here and many sights to see. There are 26 miles of trails through old growth forest, Native American shell middens, The Devil’s Churn, the tide pools and magnificent views. The photo you will see at the bottom is one a family member took at the ocean mouth of the Devil’s Churn. It is a place you can tide pool when the ocean isn’t so stirred up.
There are a variety of other sights to see so be sure and stop in at the visitor’s center to discover them and where to find them and for maps of the trails. When you drive up top, there is a short hike around and you’ve already read about the views. If you are ambitious, you can hike up to the top but be prepared for a long, steep climb. It’s more than worth the time no matter how you get there.
We enjoy visiting Cape Perpetua often from www.umpquahaven.com. It is a beautiful 61-mile drive along the scenic Umpqua River and then up the beautiful Oregon Coast to the cape. Stop in and say ‘Hi’ on your way or stay with us.