Distance

0.6 Miles

Activities

Camping, Photography, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Summer

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Kim Morris

Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

You will never see anything quite like Thor's Well. Simultaneously beautiful and frightening, this wonder of the ocean will mesmerize you, make you puzzle over how it works and lament your fate should you fall in. Take care - one wave could change your life.

Located on Oregon's central coast at Cape Perpetua, Thor's Well is a saltwater fountain that appears to drain the Pacific Ocean. Estimated to be approximately 20 feet deep, this "well," depending on the tide, is filled or emptied by the ocean.

It's amazing to watch for a multitude of reasons. The well is located on a plateau that drops sharply into the Pacific, giving you the feeling of being on an island. Mounds of rock surround the well. The mounds are high enough to allow you a look down into the gaping maw without getting to close to the opening. The inner walls of the well are lined with muscles and barnacles that provide pops of blue or white, glinting sharply against the jagged black volcanic rock. Foamy water unpredictably swells and surges inside the well giving you the feeling that the water could explode over the edge at any time and with unknown force. Then the water retreats to unknown and frightening depths, leaving behind miniature waterfalls that quickly turn into slow drips.

Thoughts running through my mind as I stood above the well were: fascinating, crushing, beautiful, painful, wonderful, inescapable, tearing, awesome, shredded, intense, one-way-trip.

Thor's Well is part of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and is easily accessed via Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast (approx 3 hours southwest of Portland). Park at the Cape Perpetua visitor center. Follow signs for Devil's Churn. A paved path will lead you through a short tunnel under Highway 101. Turn left once out of the tunnel. Walk down a clearly marked, sandy and packed dirt path through tall grasses. Getting to the plateau requires you to descend some concrete stairs. Once off the stairs, the unmarked path across the plateau is uneven and rocky. Watch your step. When returning to your car, retrace your steps.

The most dramatic time to watch the well is during high tide. Special care should be taken at that time. Remember that the ocean is unpredictable and unforgiving. Always keep an eye on incoming waves. Storms and high winds can be deadly on that exposed slab of rock.

Camping is available at Cape Perpetua Campground if you want to explore more of the Cape. (Which I recommend!) I also recommend reservations during the busy summer months.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

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Distance

0.6 Miles

Activities

Camping, Photography, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Summer

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Kim Morris

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Hike the Cooks Ridge Trail at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

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Explore Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint

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