Oregon is Now Home to One of the Top Five “Hidden gems” in the Country

by | Jul 30, 2023 | Adventures, News

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We all know and love Oregon for its natural wonders found far and wide, but when our great state gets recognized by an international travel company, it’s time to sit up and take notice.

On Wednesday, DiscoverCars.com, a website that helps travelers find the best deals on car rentals throughout the world, published a comprehensive list of “hidden gems” both globally and in the U.S. Working with data compiled by Atlas Obscura, they diligently researched the most distinctive and popular tourist spots in the country focusing on the lesser-known landmarks. 

Thor's Well is depicted at low tide, with water flowing into the hole
Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

Coming in at #3 on the U.S. list is a coastal attraction right here in the Beaver State—the majestic Thor’s Well. We’ve highlighted Thor’s Well on our site before because of its mesmerizing beauty and power, but now folks from across the world can also get a glimpse into this natural phenomenon and see just one of the reasons that Oregon is so special.

A photo of Thor's Well at high tide, with water spouting out from the top
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

What is Thor’s Well?

For those who have never been, Thor’s Wells is located in the Central Oregon coastal town of Yachats, within the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. Also known as the “Drain Pipe of the Pacific” it’s a bowl-shaped hole carved out basalt rock that is constantly filling and draining ocean water throughout the day. At high tide, the water shoots straight up like a geyser and can reach heights of nearly 50 feet! When it drains, it looks like the world’s biggest vacuum sucking the sea water into an invisible abyss below.

Cape Perpetua. Photo by Charles Peterson via Flickr CC2.

For years, researchers remained uncertain on how exactly it formed, once thinking it was a sinkhole though it’s widely believed to be a sea cave that collapsed in on itself. Now, the 20 foot deep hole has openings at the bottom and top that allow the pounding surf to flow in from below and shoot like a rocket out from the top.

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What to Know Before Visiting

As with all coastal points of interests, you always need to be one step ahead of the tides. Getting too close to Thor’s Well at high tide can be a legitimately dangerous move and there have unfortunately been incidents of people being injured. You’ll also need to keep an eye out for sneaker waves which can seemingly come out of nowhere. 

A photo of Thor's Well at low tide, with water flowing in through its open top
Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

Check the tide tables and try to hit it up about an hour before high tide so you can see the difference of what it looks like empty compared to it in its full glory as it fills with water before jetting up to the sky. It’s also especially stunning during a storm, though extreme caution should be taken if you attempt this. 

While you’re in the area, stop by some of Oregon’s other geological wonders like Spouting Horn or Devil’s Churn, both within the Cape Perpetua area. Who knows—maybe they’ll also end up on a best-of list one day!

devil's churn
Photo of Devil's Churn at Cape Perpetua in Oregon (Public Domain, Jeff Hollett)

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Written By Diana Flowers

Diana is a writer living in Portland with her delightful son and crotchety cat. Growing up in the area, family vacations were often to nearby destinations reachable by car. She has since expanded that love of local road trips and has been all over the great state of Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest, frequently pairing backpacking trips with exploring new towns and regions.

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