Scenic USA - Oregon
|Photos by Denny Barnes
Denny Barnes Photography
Working out of Cape Camp Creek, the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps left their mark all around Cape Perpetua. Named by Captain James Cook during a Pacific Coast exploration journey in 1778, the towering headland still attracts a great interest today.
Located along U.S. Route 101 and near the mid-point of the Oregon coast, Cape Perpetua is typical of the state's headlands where the coastal range quickly descends into the sea.
One of the CCC projects laid out a forest road which climbs to the top of the cape. Noted as the highest point on the Oregon coast, spectacular views from the overlook are extra special on clear days. The Whispering Spruce Trail circles the top in a loop hike, offering views in every direction. For those visitors looking to burn a few calories, the St Perpetua Trail climbs 700 feet from the visitor center following a path with eleven switchbacks. Another great lookout area on the Whispering Spruce Trail was built by the CCC in 1933, called the West Shelter Observation Point. This stone shelter (inset), braving the elements for the last 80 years, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
No visit would be complete without a walk along the shoreline. Beginning at the visitor center, a trail leads out to the shoreline and tidal pools, where beachgoers cross under the highway through a tunnel cut by the CCC. Here rough seas put on a show at Spouting Horn and low tide pools, filled with starfish (sea stars), urchins, sea anemones and hermit crabs, entertain seaside explorers.
Even though Oregon's coastline is covered in a nonstop line of recreation areas, scenic overlooks, state parks and nature preserves, it sounds as though Cape Perpetua should be on your must-see list of stops.
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