Photo courtesy of Jessica Beauchemin

The Saint Perpetua Trail connects the visitor’s center with the stunning ocean viewpoint at Cape Perpetua. Most people drive the road up to the viewpoint, but you can earn your views by hiking up this scenic footpath.

The trail passes by the Cape Perpetua Campground and ascends by way of several switchbacks up to the viewpoint. The old-growth forest is lush with sword fern and salal growing beneath towering spruce trees. As the trail nears the top, the forest gives way to broad meadows and glimpses of the ocean. On a clear day, the view from Cape Perpetua is often regarded as one of the best views on the Oregon Coast.

From the overlook, continue along the Whispering Spruce Trail to the West Shelter. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933, the shelter briefly served as a lookout for the Coast Guard during World War II. Today it provides an excellent place to duck out of the weather or to watch for whales off the coast. Turn back to retrace your steps to the trailhead, or continue around the quiet, 0.3 mile loop before heading back down to your car.