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If you have plans to be along the central Oregon coast anytime soon, you absolutely must take a trip to Thor’s Well. First of all, it is located right outside of the town of Yachats, which is an adorable stop all on its own so you may as experience both!
This is one of our favorite places along the Oregon coast and I know that I’m not alone in my perspective either, because there are often a lot of people visiting when we stop.
A Fun Trip to Thor’s Well
We love traveling throughout the state often and one of our favorite and most regular trips is down 101 along the coastline. Because we are only an hour away from Newport we like to hit Hwy 51 and head south once we reach Newport. Okay, to be fair, as soon as we get to Newport, we take a right and head to The Human Bean and get a delicious cup of coffee to take on the road with us.
Once we are fueled up with our favorite cup of Joe, we head south for a leisurely drive down what I like to consider one of the most beautiful drives in the world (seriously, if you haven’t yet taken this drive, you must do it!). Oftentimes we do this drive on a whim so we don’t always go to Thor’s Well, but if we plan it out, or we just happen to be in the area at low tide, we always stop.
If you are ready to start planning your trip, be sure to check it off of your Oregon Bucket List!!
What is Thor’s Well?
Many historians agree that Thor’s Well Oregon began as a sea cave that over time has been dug out by the force of the sea to create a sinkhole at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. This hole in the rock is a unique way to witness the power of the water as the waves roll into the (approximately) 20 foot deep cave. Then with the force of the ocean behind them, the waves come roaring out of the top of the cave. The water then drains back into the hole creating the magically site you see in the photos here. It’s a visually stunning natural occurrence and provides an opportunity for some seriously amazing photography.
I have also heard it called the “Gate to Hell” (this is not my favorite name for it) and the “Drainpipe of the Pacific.”
Is it a Safe Place for Families to Visit?
As a mother, I would not feel right to say that Thor’s Well is a “safe” place to take your children. However, adventures will be only as safe as you make them. I have taken my children here, but only when the timing is right. If the ocean is too rough, we stand back at the viewpoints and look from there. Also, the rocks can be very slippery, so that is a concern. Another thing worth mentioning is there are steep drop offs throughout the area. It is very important that if you do bring you children here, you keep them close by.
Also, do not get too close to the hole itself. You never know when a large wave will come up and trust me, the ocean is far too powerful. I have witnessed a couple of near falls into Thor’s Well and I know that there have been people seriously injured by falling in because they got too close. This seemingly bottomless sinkhole in the ocean is incredibly dangerous if you aren’t careful.
The Thor’s Well photos that I have shared on this post should give you an idea of how dangerous it can be, so pay close attention and be careful out there!
What Other Things are there to do at Cape Perpetua?
While at Thor’s Well, check out these other great things to do in the Cape Perpetua area:
- Look for sea creatures. There are little tide pools everywhere here and you will likely be able to see many sea anemone as well as starfish and other fun sea life.
- Spouting Horn. If you happen to be in the area at high tide, you likely won’t get a great view of everything there is to see, but you will be able to see Spouting Horn and it’s very cool.
- Go Hiking. At Cape Perpetua, there are over 26 miles of hiking trails available and they are all amazing.
- Check out the Visitor’s Center. We may be a little different than some families, but we love visitor’s centers, museums, etc. The visitor’s center at Cape Perpetua has some really great exhibits that take you through the history of the area.
- Take in the view. The Cape Perpetual headland sits at 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean and is the highest viewpoint accessible by car along the entire Oregon Coast.
- Go Whale Watching. There are some seriously great whale watching opportunities at nearby Depoe Bay. Check them out here.
Where is Thor’s Well?
It is very easy to drive right by (we have done it several times), so you really do need to be looking out for it. The easiest way to get there is to drive just a little south of the visitor’s center and park on the west side of the highway. That parking lot is quite small though and is often full. If it is full, head to the East side of the highway and enter the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area day use area. Parking here requires a small hike to get down to it, but it’s well worth it. Plus, you get to walk through a tunnel to get there and my kids always love that.
This was on my Oregon Bucket List for a long time and I didn’t make it here until just a few short years ago. I highly recommend everyone making a trip here. It is beautiful and seriously just a cool thing to see in nature. Please do be careful though!
Have you visited Thor’s Well before? What did you think? I would love to hear about your experience.