Sitting on the Pacific North West coast north of its more fashionable neighbour, California, Oregon is a state blessed with natural wonders; from the historic towns, serene wineries, miles of unspoiled coastline and the deepest lake in the USA.
Oregon is home to America’s deepest river Gorge (Hells Canyon), deepest lake (Crater Lake) and the world’s second-most-climbed mountain (Mt. Hood). Explore, experience and adore charming beach communities along the coast. See towering rock formations, lookout for marine life at Coquille Point and watch the waves sculpt the sandstone shoreline at Shore Acres State Park. Oregon’s Seven Wonders are a must visit and stunning Crater Lake National Park has to be number one on your list. Ride dune buggy’s across the sand in America’s largest coastal sand dunes in Florence, sip pinot and chardonnay in the Willamette Valley and head to cowboy country in eastern Oregon’s Wild West.
Oregons largest city, Portland is a hip urban hotspot with national accolades for its cuisine, a vibrant arts scene, great theatres and funky shopping districts inspired by the creative spirit of the city. Whilst just a short drive from Portland, The Columbia River Gorge and majestic Mt. Hood offer year-round recreation opportunities including; skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping and biking.
Central Oregon offers Cowboy adventures, whitewater rafting, quiet mountain retreats. The region’s geological history, marked by explosive volcanic activity, is showcased at several parks, and its rich cultural history is on display at the High Desert Museum in Bend. And the spirit of the West is alive and well in the high desert of Eastern Oregon, where snow-capped mountains, dusty plains and jagged red rocks look down on rolling hills of sage, wild rivers and fertile wheat fields.
Whatever your passion, Oregon’s natural and scenic variety – coast, mountains, rivers, high desert, plains, forests and valleys – lends equally to exhilarating outdoor adventure or tranquil exploration. You can cycle along hundreds of miles of designated bike lanes, play world-class golf courses, drink fresh and exciting new wines and explore mile after unspoiled mile of deserted beaches and pristine forest wilderness.
Whatever you decide to do, you are bound to find your own slice of paradise in Oregon.
Must See Places in Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
With a landscape like nowhere else, Crater Lake National Park lies in the Cascade Mountains in southwestern Oregon. Intensely blue and unusually deep (1,935 feet), the lake is almost exactly circular. It is the water-filled caldera of an extinct volcano, Mount Mazama, and lava cliffs rise to heights of up to 2,000 feet around the lake.
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area follows the course of the Columbia River as it cuts through the Cascade Mountain Range. Formed by the river, the gorge is known for its spectacular views and numerous waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls – the second highest waterfall in the country.
A popular tourist resort, Cannon Beach is located in northwest Oregon. The beach offers a wide stretch of sand and spectacular views of jagged coastal rocks. The largest of these is known as Hay Stack Rock, thought to be one of the largest monoliths in the world. Nearby Seaside is another popular resort town, close to beaches and surf breaks. Astoria lies 20 miles north of Cannon Beach, at the mouth of the Columbia River. The town is historically important as the location of Lewis & Clark National Historic Park.
Mount Hood National Forest
Mount Hood is an unmistakable landmark in Oregon, its peak rising 11,239 feet to make it the highest mountain in the state. On its slopes are a mix of ski hills, hiking trails, and scenic viewpoints accessible via Mount Hood Scenic Loop. The national forest fans out from the peak to encompass waterfalls and hot springs. All told, the scenic area is impressive in its diversity and a top pick for those looking to explore Oregon outdoors.
Oregon Coast Trail
Most visitors are drawn to Oregon’s coast for the wide ocean views, interesting rock formations, and sandy beaches. The Oregon Coast Trail is a hiking route that takes in 382 miles of these scenic attractions, from the mouth of the Columbia River in the north to the California border in the south. Most of the trail edges the beach, but a portion also runs along roadways, mainly US 101. There are numerous points of entry allowing easy access to sections of the trail all along the coast.
Willamette National Forest
The vast Willamette National Forest is located along the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains and covers nearly 1.7 million acres. The forest contains spectacular scenery including a number of volcanoes, mountains, and rivers.
Newport mixes beach scenery with its Victorian heritage. Lighthouses dot the coast between attractions such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center. The town’s busy bayfront faces sheltered Yaquina Bay (home to a large fishing fleet), while the wild Pacific beaches offer storm-surge rollers and unfiltered sunsets. The town is a good base camp for exploring along the coast and whale watching.
In the extreme northeast of the state, Hell’s Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States and marks the Idaho border. The protected area within Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is largely inaccessible, but for the adventurous is offers lengthy outdoor excursions, wildlife watching opportunities, and fishing.
Best Time to Visit Oregon
Oregon is generally mild and rains can be heavy by the coast in winter, while the high deserts of Central and Eastern Oregon are much drier. In January, temperatures range from 7°C on the coast to between –4°C and –2°C in the southeast. In July, between 18°C and 21°C in the central valleys and between 21°C and 26°C eastwards.