Mile 190 Report

February 10, 2019
by oldMGguy

Captain Cook Pt, Cooks Chasm, Cape Perpetua SRA, Cape Cr
Sunday 2:15 PM
35° F
Calm/Light from the SE
Humans / Pets:
Cars/Trucks parking:
Activity Comments:
Notable Wildlife:
Several mature bald eagles, one river otter, song sparrows, chestnut-backed chickadees, winter wrens
Dead Birds:
Fish & Invertebrates:
New Development:
Natural Changes:
Evidence of wave overtopping

I normally don't report on Mile 190 but since I've been a volunteer naturalist/interpretive ranger at Cape Perpetua since 2008, I can report on those things that have been changing over the years.  I walk the Captain Cook , Cape Cove, and Restless Waters trails every Sunday.  Since the south half of Mile 190 is not accessible to casual pedestrian traffic due to a rough and jagged volcanic rock shoreline with no trails of any sort, this report will cover just the paved trails and accessible north half of Mile 190.

Easily the most commonly asked question we answer is "Where is Thor's Well?"  Signs were installed several years ago, but most were quickly stolen and have not been replaced.  Previously known in the 1980s as the "Toilet Bowl", this feature has a huge Internet-based presence and it seems everyone just has to walk out to it for photography with everything from el cheapo point-and-shoots, smart phones, to super high-end cameras.  Since the entire rocky shoreline is technically a state park, its all public property.  The latest trend is to march out there, stand at the edge with your back to the ocean and take your "selfie" with the waves crashing ashore behind you.  We frequently see people get knocked down by waves, causing lots of "rock burn", the occasional broken bone(s), ruined electronics, and a fatality/drowning two winters ago.  It's perfectly safe to go out there at low tide, but approaching Thor's Well near high tide or with large swells crashing ashore is hazardous to your health and potentially fatal.

Since the drowning, we have replaced all of the way-too-wordy "sneaker wave" signs with a simple graphic warning sign (photo).  We positioned the signage so that no matter how you approach Thor's Well, you must walk by two warning signs. The term "sneaker wave" does not translate well into Chinese or Texan, so we removed all references to that term and instead use internationally recognized symbology indicating "Danger!".  We have since observed a definite improvement in visitor behavior and concern for their own safety, although there will always be that 2% of clueless risk-takers we refer to as "Darwin Award Candidates".  They get knocked down frequently.

Oregon state parks have recently installed general warning, location identifier, and beach safety signs at Cape Perpetua.  New tsunami inundation and safety maps have also been installed at all highway trail access points (photo).

The recent "King" tides have swamped the Spouting Horn lower observation platform and damaged the stub trail leading to the tide pools (photos).  A collapsing sand bank undermined the Cape Cove trail alongside Hwy 101, requiring the Forest Service to build a temporary bridge over the collapsed section (photo).  The last set of King tides washed away the base of the slide, which will likely re-activate the bank failure. ODOT has been notified of potential undermining of Hwy 101.

The recent King tides also re-arranged the driftwood log pile at the base of Cape Creek, throwing huge stumps and logs high into the salal - never seen that before! (photo).

The Forest Service has approved a complete re-building and re-paving of the Cape Cove and Restless Waters trails this year.  The 1960s vintage asphalt is badly broken and buckled by tree roots, pavement edges are crumbling, and several pedestrian injuries have recently occurred here due to the uneven and broken surfaces (photo).  Mile 190 ends at the scenic bench out on the point. Mile 191 continues north past Devil's Churn and around the point of Cape Perpetua but there is no pedestrian trail on the north side of the "Churn".  I've scrambled around the point in the past, but it's rough, jagged basalt rock requiring serious scrambling and careful foot placement on slippery, crumbly rocks.  Due to cliffs and a large sea cave on the NW side of the Cape, it is impossible to continue north towards Yachats and to the north end of Mile 191.

FYI - The Forest Service will also be replacing all of the wood structure (roof, beams, posts, and shingles) of the West Stone Shelter, at the top of Cape Perpetua this September.  This will structured as a "Passport In Time" project, with a professional restoration team assisted by volunteers. The volunteer information should be posted soon.




  • View of south half of Mile 190 from Cook's Chasm Overlook
    View of south half of Mile 190 from Cook's Chasm Overlook. Rugged and hazardous basalt, no access trails.
    Cook's Chasm Overlook, Hwy 101
    February 10, 2019
  • Thor's Well from Cook's Chasm Overlook
    Thor's Well area from Cook's Chasm Overlook
    Cook's Chasm Overlook, Hwy 101
    February 10, 2019
  • Warning sign and Spouting Horn
    Spouting Horn and new warning sign
    Lower Spouting Horn observation platform
    February 10, 2019
  • Warning sign
    New graphic warning signs at Cape Perpetua. Visually conveys "Danger!" in all languages - even Texan.
    Every beach access point at Cape Perpetua
    February 10, 2019
  • Tide pool access trail damage
    Tide pool access trail damage (red arrow) caused by king tides
    Tide pools access trail, Cape Perpetua
    February 10, 2019
  • Spouting Horn lower observation platform
    December king tide over-running the lower Spouting Horn observation platform. Has not happened before.
    Cook's Chasm, Cape Perpetua
    December 23, 2018
  • Temporary repairs to Cape Cove Trail
    Temporary Cape Cove trail pedestrian bridge over sand bank failure which undermined the paved trail.
    Cape Cove Trail alongside Hwy 101.
    February 10, 2019
  • New safety signs
    New safety signs have been installed at all beach access points.
    Cape Cove Trail and Hwy 101.
    February 10, 2019
  • Driftwood logs at Cape Creek
    Recent king tides have thrown huge driftwood logs high into the streamside salal.
    South Cape Creek culvert, Cape Perpetua
    February 10, 2019
  • Damaged asphalt trail surfaces
    Damaged asphalt trail surface due to tree roots and edge failure. This surface dates back to the mid-1960s.
    Cape Cove Trail, Cape Perpetua.
    February 10, 2019
  • Bench at the north end of Mile 190
    Bench at the north end of Mile 190 and a perfect spot for lunch on a sunny day!
    Restless Waters Point, Cape Perpetua
    February 10, 2019
Other Mile 190 Reports (33)


December 26, 2019 - LyndaC
A beautiful day at the coast at Cape Perpetua, very strong winds, tide remains high 2 hours following high tide, Devils Churn full of water, foam whipped to consistency of whipped cream.   Cape Cove...


December 26, 2018 - LyndaC
Visited the ocean December 26th, a damp, showery day with small number of visitors.   Waves strong, brisk breeze
  • Entrance to Devil's Churn Cape Perpetua
  • Taking in the power of the surf-Cove Beach CP
  • Pigeon Guillemot
March 10, 2018 - LyndaC
Beautiful day at the beach, large number of people enjoying nature. Parking at Cooks Chasm and Devils Chum, only four parking spaces open.


December 17, 2017 - oldMGguy
I have been a volunteer naturalist ranger, trail crew, trash-picker-upper at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area since 2008.  I have never seen wave-tossed driftwood logs launched so high into the creek-...
  • King tide driftwood logs in the salal brush.
  • Huge driftwood log tossed upward into salal at Cape Creek, Cape Perpetua.
July 18, 2017 - LyndaC
A beautiful July day, the coast  being enjoyed by a large number of people, Devil's Churn parking lot filled.  We visited at low tide, 0.7 enabling us to walk far out on beach and rewarded by seeing...
  • seastars at Cape Cove beach.
June 4, 2017 - LyndaC
 a beautiful day, and a large number of visitors
  • Healthy sea star


April 12, 2016 - LyndaC
The rock walls appear to have been scoured of small blue mussels and the only sea star noted was in a depression at the top of a rock at the western edge of the beach, which also appeared to be part...
April 1, 2016 - LyndaC
A beautiful few days at the coast with strong waves which prevented me getting to rocks to check for barnacles/sea stars. Wave action continues to move logs about on the Cape Cove beach and Cape Cove...


November 26, 2015 - LyndaC
A large number of people enjoying a gorgeous holiday at the coast. Waves splashing high on headland in front of Cape Perpetua visitor center, huge surges into Devils Churn. Cook's Chasm filling with...
September 2, 2015 - LyndaC
Initially cloudy with a bit of drizzle, becoming a sunny, pleasant dayWith Fawn Custer and student, at Cape Cove beach rock noted for future low tide observations and sea star survey performed. >...
July 29, 2015 - LyndaC
Gloriously sunny but very windy week at the coast. A large number of visitors in all areas, heavy traffic. Visitors walking on paths, climbing rocks. Happy to see seastars at Cape Cove beach,...
April 21, 2015 - LyndaC
Astounding number of seastars, 52! where previously none seen. Appeared plump and healthy, in clusters and singly.Plastic pieces in wrack line >1/2", larger than usual.Vela Vela, clumps of dead...
  • And plump and healthy.   Seen 4/18, finally sending this photo.


November 29, 2014 - LyndaC
Wet and windy Thanksgiving weekend. Unable to explore the beach very well due to very strong wave action.
  • on a short stretch of beach, pieces of plastic.  But too many tiny bits of plastic to gather
October 7, 2014 - LyndaC
A grey day at the coast, but a good number of people enjoying the day.
September 5, 2014 - LyndaC
92 degrees at Devils Churn parking area! Cape Creek easy to cross - not much water at presentFewer seagulls noted, 4 sea stars appeared to be healthy, solitary, no clusters8 unleashed dogs on beach...
August 18, 2014 - LyndaC
Heavy tourist traffic in the area and many people enjoying a day that began cool and foggy with sun breaking out and giving us a pleasant day. A group of Chinese tourists were led by volunteer...
August 4, 2014 - LyndaC
Was told by assistant Ranger at Devils Church that a "neatly" decapitated raccoon was found there early in the morning. No explanation offered.Area remarkably free from trash - ?? other volunteers...
June 22, 2014 - oldMGguy
I have been a volunteer trail/beach naturalist at Cape Perpetua since 2008. Our tide pools are historically well populated with 1000's of ocher sea stars, occasional sun star.With the recent alarm...
May 7, 2014 - LyndaC
Quiet day at mile 190. Two bags of trash collected, mostly empty bottles, few pieces of Styrofoam. Surf and wind was low.Collected one 8" float with shells imbedded, photo will be sent. No...
January 26, 2014 - LyndaC
King tides were to occur January 30, however due to predicted rain at that time, we elected to enjoy sunshine so went on the 28th. Tide was predicted at 8.4, and we were there 3 hrs before high...
  • intact bird at Cove beach
  • 3 hours to high tide, but waves still strong


November 10, 2013 - LyndaC
Waves higher than I expected, was glad I took the precaution of not going down onto sand as was surprised by an incoming wave which went higher up onto rocks than I had anticipated. Since I stayed...
  • Foggy in the Willamette Valley, but glorious sun at the beach.   Despite being 1 hr away from low tide, waves very strong and surf high.
September 26, 2013 - LyndaC
Beautiful sunny day and many people in the areaLow tide point was very high and our time on the beach was quite limited. We found very little trash until we walked the final portion of the mile...
August 13, 2013 - LyndaC
This was my first walk on the mile, with visiting daughter. Was unsure of actual end of mileTide cleans out this area quite thoroughly.


June 10, 2010 - mbbsmile
The trail to Cape Cove is so overgrown that the two sides are almost touching. Lots of ferns, horsetail and huge skunk cabbage. New wooden signs with the names of trails or sites to see. Very black...
March 18, 2010 - mbbsmile
A beautiful windy day. The paved trail is in great shape. Cape Cove continues to have lots of large logs near the shore and along the inlet. Good Fortune cove had no water even though it was high...


December 4, 2009 - mbbsmile
My first time walking my mile. Very little beach to walk on but wonderful walk way which gives access to the rocky beaches and coves. Pelicans in flight traveling south. Cape Cove jam-packed with...
  • Large drainage pipe runs under the paved sidewalk heading south toward spouting horn on the Captain Cook Trail.
  • Looks like something that will prevent erosion along the walkway, very close to the drainage pipe
  • Cape Cove inlet and the logs down to the beach.
  • Cape Cove and the logs.


June 27, 2008 - svenbrean
Beautiful sunny day. Lots of people walking the shorelines and trails at Cape Perpetua.
March 22, 2008 - svenbrean
Beautiful sunny day and lots of folks out taking a look. The spouting horn at Cook's Chasm was putting on a show.
February 9, 2008 - Ranger
The effects of recent heavy surf were evident. A lot more flotsam in the redistributed drift wood and much less sand on the pocket beaches.


December 22, 2007 - Ranger
Bluff sloughing is close to undercutting the access trail adjacent to Highway 101. Situation was reported to USFS at CPVC.Weather and sea conditions made it dangerous to access the southern portion...
September 29, 2007 - svenbrean
For a cloudy post-Labor day week end there were quite a few folks out enjoying the views.
April 1, 2007 - svenbrean
Generally quiet day, nothing much out of the ordinary, other than one sea lion carcass found a couple hundred yards north of Cook's Chasm


September 15, 2006 - BJMcConnell
The over all ecological health of this region is excellent and has not changed significantly over the past ten years.