Cape Perpetua

Cape Perpetua

Cape Perpetua (pronounced per-PET-you-uh) is a large forested headland on the central Oregon Coast which projects into the Pacific Ocean. The land is managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the Siuslaw National Forest.


Cape Perpetua is located about 2 miles (3 km) south of Yachats, Oregon along U.S. Route 101. It is a typical Pacific Northwest headland, forming a high steep bluff above the ocean. At its highest point, Cape Perpetua rises to over convert|800|ft|m above sea level. From its crest, an observer can see convert|70|mi|km of Oregon coastline and as far as convert|37|mi|km out to sea on a clear day. [ Cape Perpetua Scenic Area] , USDA Forest Service, Siuslaw National Forest, 12 February 2007.]


For at least 6,000 years Native Americans hunted for mussels, crabs, sea urchins, and clams along the coast near Cape Perpetua. Evidence of their lives can still be found in the huge piles of discarded mussel shells which lay along the shore near the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center.Sullivan, William L., "Hiking Oregon’s History", Navillus Press, Eugene, Oregon, 2000.]

Several early explorers sailed past the cape. The first recorded passage was by Bartolomé Ferrelo in 1543; then came Sir Frances Drake in 1575 and Martin d'Aguilar in 1605. The cape was named by Captain James Cook on 7 March 1778 as he searched for the Pacific entrance to a Northwest Passage. Cook named the cape Perpetua because it was sighted on St. Perpetua’s Day. [ "Yachats History"] , City of Yachats, Lincoln County, Oregon, 12 January 2008.] [ [ "Cape Perpetua Scenic Area"] , National Scenic Byways Program, Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation, 2007.]

) was built in the 1930s.

In 1933, Civilian Conservation Corps camp was built at the foot of the cape just north of the Cape Creek near where the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is located today. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed Cape Perpetua camp ground, a network of trails, and the West Shelter observation point near the top of cape. During World War II, the West Shelter observation point was used as a coastal watch station and a large coastal defense gun was temporarily installed. [ [ "The CCC Camp at Cape Perpetua"] , Yachats Area Chamber of Commerce, Yachats, Oregon, 2008.]

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

The Forest Service created the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and built the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center in the 1960s to highlight the unique beauty of the central Oregon coast. The scenic area includes convert|2700|acre|km2 of old growth spruce, Douglas-fir and western hemlock.

Camping, picnicking, hiking, sightseeing, whale watching, and a visitor center with daily programs are all available within the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. There are twenty-six miles of interconnected hiking trails in old growth forests which lead to Pacific Ocean tidal pools. [ [ Travel Oregon] , Oregon Tourism Commission, Salem, Oregon, 2008. ] One of the trails leads to a 600 year old Giant Sitka Spruce known as the "Silent Sentinel of the Siuslaw". This tree stands more than convert|185|ft|m high, and has a convert|40|ft|m|sing=on diameter at its base. [ Eberly, Laura, [ "Silent Sentinel of the Siuslaw" named Oregon Heritage Tree"] , Newport News-Times, 21 July2006. ] On 15 September2007, this ancient spruce was designated a "Heritage Tree" by the State of Oregon to recognize its exceptional age and size and ensure its protection.

Along the Cape Perpetua coastline there are several unique features as well. The Devil’s Churn is a long crack in the coastal rock that fills with each ocean wave, occasionally exploding as incoming and outgoing waves collide. The Spouting Horn is a salt water fountain driven by the power of the ocean tide. The Devil’s Churn and the Spouting Horn are popular with visitors; however, both can be dangerous especially at high tide and during winter storms.

The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is located two miles (3 km) south of Yachats. The visitor center offers spectacular views of the ocean and coast from its deck. It is also a popular place to watch migrating gray whales. The visitor center has comprehensive natural history and cultural exhibits, an interactive children's science area, a theater with nature films, and a bookstore.


External links

* [ Cape Perpetua Visitor Center]
* [ Siuslaw National Forest]

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