Thor’s Well: The Pacific Gateway to the Underworld

Thors Well, Oregon

Thor’s Well is part of Cape Perpetua, a typical Pacific Northwest headland – a forested area of land on the central Oregon Coast, surrounded by water on three sides. Thor’s Well is also often simply called the Spouting Horn. It is essentially a huge salt water fountain operated by the Pacific Ocean’s power.

This natural spectacle is at its best when it’s the most dangerous to watch – at high tide or during winter storms.

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.

Here’s what photographer Darren White has to say about the dangers of the place:

“The big waves come in like you see in the distance, they fill the hole with water and whoosh, it flies out of there… not every wave does this, it’s a matter of timing and wave size. I would guess this hole is about 20 feet deep and anyone who were to fall in would never EVER survive.”


Photographer Chris Mullins agrees about the dangers and says about capturing his shot here:

“This is probably the most dangerous picture I’ve taken. The waves hit the rocks pretty hard, and every once in a while a big wave would come through. If a wave hit hard, it would (at least) knock you over and into all these very sharp rocks. It’s not obvious, but I’m about 50 yards from the shore here, scampering out on the rocks. The rocks are sharp, so traction is good… but still to be careful I had to watch for waves and scamper back as needed.”


Thor’s Well during the day

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…

Thor’s well at sunset

Photographer Darren has had a first-hand experience:

“When I arrived here there was a guy from Chicago standing just to the right of the rim of this hole… I walked up set my tripod down and asked, where are you from, he smiled and said, Chicago. I said ok …um, do you realize that in about a minute you are gonna look like you got out of the shower… he kind of looked at me with this strange face and then calmly walked away from the rim… next thing you know this bad boy spout put out a fountain of water about 20 feet tall and he looked at me and his eyes were as big as softballs.”


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…

With special thanks to Chris, Darren, Miles and Sheldon for granting us permission to use their absolutely stunning photographs!

All images used with the permission of the photographers

Sources: 1, 2, 3