July 7, 2018 — Early explorer Capt. James Cook first saw the stunning Cape Perpetua Headlands towering some 800 feet above the Marine Garden shoreline just two years after our nation's independence in 1778. Since then, the cape, named after St. Perpetua, has become one of the most popular destination points along the coast. On a clear day, visitors can see as far as 37 miles out to sea and some 70 miles of coastline.
It is the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the Oregon Coast.
All told, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area includes a total of 2,700 acres of natural habitat that offers a truly unique ecological environment that is home to a constantly transitioning spruce rainforest as it stretches to the sea.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt incorporated the area as part of the president’s “New Deal” through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program, which was directed to create campgrounds, trails and structures such as the stone overlook that still remain for visitors to enjoy.
But in addition to the cape’s scenic offerings, the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center hosts a series of summer programs aimed at providing education and context to the area’s natural wonders.
Beginning at noon each Monday, visitors can take a “Walk with a Ranger” during an hour-long hike along trails that begin at the visitors center. Participants learn about local history, as well as how to identify fauna and flora unique to the cape.
There are also evening campfire programs with rangers on alternating Fridays, July 13 and 27, and Aug. 10 and 24, beginning at 8 p.m. at Beverly Beach State Park.
During the campfire programs, rangers cover topics on forests and wildlife.
The same program is offered on alternating Fridays (July 13 and 27, and Aug. 10 and 24) at Eel Creek Camp ground, starting at 8 p.m.
Other summer program events include:
• Fridays and Saturdays beginning July 14, Junior Ranger programs are offered for families at Spinreel, Eel Creek, Driftwood 2 and Lagoon campgrounds on the Oregon dunes at 5:30pm.
• July 17 — Cape Perpetua BioBlitz: Guided hikes and exploration of the rocky intertidal zone where visitors can contribute to science by recording what interesting tidepool critters they observe (no experience necessary; meet at visitor center), beginning at 10 a.m.
• July 19 — Living History: Meet 153-year old Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, who will be making an appearance at the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area.
• July 21 — Canvas at the Cape: Join experienced and budding artists for this open-air public art event where you can practice capturing your perspective this special place with materials and canvas we provide.
• July 19–20 and 26–27, Marbled Murrelet surveys: Contribute to research aimed at saving this threatened seabird.
Join scientists and land managers to learn about murrelet nesting and feeding habits, then help identify and count birds as they fly between the forest and ocean.
For more information on these or other programs, call the visitor center at 541-547-3289.