Many people, I believe even the locals of Oregon do not realize the existence of an amazing nature place. Sitting on the edge of the Oregon coast is what appears to be a gaping sinkhole that never seems to fill despite the unbroken stream of sea water that drains into it, but Thor’s Well, as the natural wonder is known, is not bottomless, but it is very dangerous. It sure looks like a mythological god might have slammed his hammer down to create this hole in the sea. It certainly has the appropriate name, “Thor’s Well.” Thor is one of the most important and well known Norse gods. He is god of thunder with a powerful hammer-weapon capable to destroy Thor’s enemies and protect humans and other gods in trouble from the giants who roamed the earth.
Also known as the drainpipe of the Pacific, the well is actually a hole in the rock that only appears to drain water from the ocean. In reality the huge hole is likely only around 20 feet deep. Even if the well is not quite as magic as it seems, it still manages to produce amazing sights, but is not for the faint of heart. This natural spectacle is at its best when it’s the most dangerous to watch – at high tide or during winter storms.
The site is said to be most spectacular at high tide, or during storms when water washes violently over the rocks and falls back through the hole. During these sudden torrents, unsuspecting visitors to the site run the risk of being swept right into the maelstrom, in which survival seems unlikely. Regardless of the risks, photographers and nature lovers continue to flock to the stunning fountain in the hopes of getting that perfect shot of the aggressive waters that live up to their namesake’s stormy personality.
It’s quite a remote place, located in Cape Perpetua and reached from a winding road in what feels like the middle of nowhere. When I arrived, there were still a couple of hours before sunset so I parked up and wandered down to look for it. It’s certainly a lot different to Bandon Beach where I’d been the night before; where at least 20 other photographers were knocking around and plenty of people walking dogs, but Cape Perpetua was deserted.
Thor’s Well is also known simply as Spouting Horn and is located in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats. It can be viewed by taking the Captain Cook Trailhead from the Visitor Center. When surf is up, water shoots upward from the bowl carved out of the basalt shoreline, then drains back into the opening. Many photographers trying to capture the action report how dangerous it is to try to get close to the spouting horn when it’s active, so if you visit, be careful and keep your distance.
Formations like these are typically formed over long periods of time geologically. They begin as a sea cave and eventually the top of the cave collapses, leaving an opening where the tide surges in, then shoots upward with dramatic force. Similar dramatic formations can be seen nearby at Devil’s Churn and at Devil’s Punchbowl in Otter Rock to the north.
Thor’s Well can be accessed from the north side of Cook’s Chasm but there are sharp rocks everywhere and the danger of a strong surge sweeping brave visitors right up is high.
For photographers, the area’s a delight, especially at sunset, yet not many know about the place or dare stay long enough to set up their tripod. We’ve found a few who did and who have come back with stunning results.
The calm of the area and the depth of the hole can be quite deceptive. So deceptive, in fact, that many visitors would walk up too close before potentially being sucked in…As you watch the waves rolling in at the horizon, you almost miss the gaping hole that seems to suck in everything in its path, stunning viewers with its beauty just to make them get careless and come too close…
What we know for sure is, this amazing saltwater well is also a fountain. At high tide, water spirals deep down into the hole, and then periodically huge gushes of water burst back out (sometimes reaching as high as 20 feet into the air), rhythmically swaying between violence and beauty.
Photographers from all over the country have tried to capture the beauty of this natural phenomenon, but it’s not an easy task. Not only do the conditions have to be right, it’s very dangerous because of the splashing waves, sharp rocks, and strong tide that could pull a viewer into the well’s depths. Here are some beautiful photos of Thor’s Well, taken by daring photographers. This place was the hunting area of Native Americans for over 6,000 years. They caught clams, crabs, sea urchins and mussels there. Today, there are some numbers of people coming to visit this area not for hunting some of those animals, but hunting for some beautiful scenery. Indeed, the Thor’s Well Oregon is a good place for photographers. It is because it offers several unique natural coastal phenomena. The Cape Perpetua scenic area Oregon provides some natural attractions to explore. The area includes the Western Hemlock, Douglas-fir and the old growth spruce. The area spans around 11 square kilometers. It has been one of favorite tourist destinations in Oregon since 1960s. Besides sightseeing the beauty of the nature, visitors are also served with some activities to do such as hiking, camping, whale watching, and picnicking. Hiking is a nice activity to do there. There are 26 miles interconnected hiking trails available. The trails pass the old forest and lead to the Pacific Ocean. One of the favorite trails will deliver visitors to see the Giant Sitka Spruce aging 600 years old. It is 185 feet high and 40 feet circumference. Another must see thing is The Devil’s Churn. It is a unique coastal feature that refers to a long crack filled with ocean wave. It is sometimes exploding and it is perfect for a photo. The next unique feature is the natural water fountains Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well Oregon. Among some of those natural phenomena, the Thor’s Well Oregon seems to be the most popular one that some visitors and photographers come to see.