Cape Perpetua Day Use Area

Whispering Spruce Trail is always a must-see stop when we have out-of-town visitors. Easily a top contender for the best view on the Oregon Coast, you can see dozens of miles of coastline and sweeping views of churning sea and white-capped waves from this mountaintop. Most trails in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area are long and steep. Although sloped, the portion of Whispering Spruce Trail described in this extended walk is moderate climbing for the area and includes plenty of resting points.

Overlook bench

75 Steps


This bench is the first stop after embarking from the Day Use Area parking lot. The panoramic view here is indisputably spectacular. Near this bench there are also 10 rock steps to a lower landing area. They are lacking a handrail, and the view is the same. I always choose to linger at the bench. You won’t be disappointed, even if your journey ends here.

Wall viewpoint

150 Steps

After the longest stretch of this extended walk, you are rewarded with a vision of seascape, and a bird’s-eye view of the Devil’s Churn area and nearby beaches from this stone wall resting spot.

Pathway bench

100 Steps

Peering between mountaintop trees from this bench offers yet another glorious spectacle. I usually pause here only long enough to rest for the next portion of the hike.

West shelter

100 Steps

You can enjoy a commanding view of the Pacific to the north, south, and west while tucked out of the elements in this stone refuge. A sign describes the parapet’s history. From here, the trail makes the return circuit through the trees. I have not paced out that part of the trail. Instead, I favor the shorter return on the same route I arrived, skirting the walled cliff’s edge and keeping the ocean in sight.

Terrain: There is a gradual incline to the overlook bench, then a continual downward slope to the West Shelter (which means a rather long incline on the return trip). The trail is packed dirt with some embedded gravel. As you get nearer to the West Shelter the gravel gets larger and looser and can be dicey for rolling your foot on – particularly after the little sign that says “Rock Shelter” on it. Tread carefully!
Seating: There is a seating option at each of the indicated resting spots. Between the wall viewpoint and the West Shelter, there is a wall along portions of the trail and one additional bench not listed above, so you have options to stop more frequently if necessary. The parking area has three picnic tables settled in grassy areas.
Fee: Day pass, recreation pass, or camping receipt
Restrooms: Yes, in the parking lot.
Directions: Turn off the 101 at the Cape Perpetua Day Use Area and Campground sign. Follow the road as it winds up the hill to the Day Use Area parking lot (2 miles).

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