Photo courtesy of Heron Marychild
The Giant Spruce of Cape Perpetua is a truly amazing specimen of Sitka spruce. The 500 year-old tree is the return point for this 2-mile there-and-back hike along Cape Creek. It stands over 185 feet tall and has a circumference of over 40 feet. It was even taller until the Columbus Day storm of 1962, when winds in excess of 160 mph blew off the uppermost 35 feet of the tree.
The trail starts at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center and follows the south side of Cape Creek. As you climb gently up the narrow valley, a number of large Sitka spruce line the trail. While these trees seem enormous, they appear more ordinary when compared to the Giant Spruce at the end of the trail.
The upper end of the trail is also accessible from Cape Perpetua Campground, which stretches along the northern side of Cape Creek and is visible for much of the hike. The hike is mostly easy, with only a few slightly technical sections. Be sure to stop and enjoy the view that extends up some of the tiny side creeks that flow in from the south as you make your way through the shady old-growth coastal forest that wraps Cape Creek in its timeless embrace.