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OREGON TRAVEL GUIDE

Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Welcome to the bigroads.com travel guide to Oregon! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to Oregon.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons

OVERVIEW



Oregon is renown for its rugged coastline, lush green forests, waterfalls, wineries, and beautiful mountains. If you enjoy the outdoors, you'll find a lifetime of adventures in the state. In addition to world-class hiking, there's also excellent rock climbing, skiing, and whitewater rafting. Wine lovers flock to Oregon, especially to the Willamette Valley. If you like waterfalls, the Columbia River Gorge will deliver on that. The entire coastline is public-access, and the scenery is as good (or maybe even better) than the coastal scenery you'd find along the California coast. History buffs will appreciate the various Lewis & Clark attractions found in the state.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN OREGON



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in Oregon? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in Oregon, in no particular order:

Spend a week driving the entire Oregon coastline on US-101 (and the side roads that lead to various sites and attractions)
Visit the deepest lake in the U.S. at Crater Lake National Park
Take an underground cave tour at Oregon Caves National Monument
Go whitewater rafting on one of Oregon's wild rivers
Ride a dune-buggy in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Drink your way through a few wineries in the Willamette Valley
Hit the slopes at Mt. Bachelor Ski Area, one of the premier winter resorts of the U.S.
Hunt for waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge
Find great reads at the massive Powell's City of Books in Portland
See colorful desert scenery at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

If I could select only one place to visit in Oregon, I would choose the Columbia River Gorge. There isn't a better cluster of 5-star waterfalls like this anywhere else in the U.S.

For a list of 10 great attractions in each U.S. state, click here.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN OREGON



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in Oregon. I believe each of these attractions should be on your Oregon bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Oregon Coast: Northern (including Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Tillamook)
Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site, Arch Cape - a scenic beach with tide pools that is just south of Cannon Beach; known for "singing sands"
Astoria Column, Astoria - climb up a 125-foot tall concrete and steel historic landmark for scenic views
Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria - a long and impressive steel cantilever through truss bridge over the Columbia River
Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa, Astoria - an iconic 5-star luxury hotel built out on a pier on the Columbia River; "every room has a view"
Cannon Beach - one of the Oregon Coast's most popular towns and famous beaches
Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook - a scenic park on a sand spit between Netarts Bay and the ocean; great hiking trails and beaches
Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, Tillamook - offers scenic views, a lighthouse, and a giant Sitka spruce tree
Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria - one of the top maritime museums on the West Coast
Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach - offers dramatic views of the Oregon coastline, including Indian Beach
Fort Clatsop National Memorial, Astoria - visit a replica of the winter fort used by the Lewis & Clark expedition; the park also has hiking trails
Fort Stevens State Park, Astoria - a diverse park with a historic fort, many forms of outdoor recreation, and the Peter Iredale shipwreck
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach - a 235-foot tall seastack on Cannon Beach; one of Oregon's most iconic natural landmarks
High Life Adventures, Warrenton - offers excellent mile-long zip-lining tours
Hug Point State Recreation Site, Cannon Beach - features a beach, sea caves, rocky ridges, and a waterfall; beware of the tides!
Lewis & Clark National Historical Park, Astoria - includes a small museum, historic canoe landing, and some hiking trails; the fort is gone
Neahkahnie Mountain - hike to one of the best elevated views on the Oregon coastline
Nehalem Bay State Park, Nehalem - features a beach, kayaking in Nehalem Bay, a short cycling trail, and good crabbing and fishing
Oregon Coast Highway (US-101) - one of the finest coastal drives in the U.S.; there are many scenic viewpoints and state parks to explore
Oswald West State Park, Arch Cape - features four miles of scenic coastline and excellent hiking trails
Seaside Beach, Seaside - a large beach adjacent to a lively beach boardwalk and tourist area
Silver Point Interpretive Overlook, Cannon Beach - one of the standout scenic wayside stops along the Oregon coast
Tillamook Cheese Factory, Tillamook - features a "Creamery experience"; stop in to try their famous cheeses and ice cream; one of OR's most popular tourist attractions

Oregon Coast: Central (including Depoe Bay, Florence, Newport, and Yachats)
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Yachats - scenic, highly-elevated coastal views from "one of the jewels of the Oregon coast"; Thor's Well is here
Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area, Otter Rock - rocky coastline with tide-pools and a thunderous pothole
Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint, Florence - one of the finest scenic views along the Oregon coast; has a famous lighthouse
Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport - one of the best aquariums in the U.S. and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Oregon
Oregon Coast Highway (US-101) - one of the finest coastal drives in the U.S.; there are many scenic viewpoints and state parks to explore
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Reedsport - hike or ride a dune-buggy vehicle on an extensive series of sand dunes
Sea Lion Caves, Florence - the largest sea cave in the U.S.; the best time to see the famous sea lions that reside here is in fall and winter
Thor's Well, Yachats - a geologic formation that looks like it is draining the ocean; the "drainpipe of the Pacific Ocean"
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport - one of 11 lighthouses remaining along the OR coast; this is different from the Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Newport - a scenic area that includes the Yaqiuna Head Lighthouse (the tallest lighthouse in OR)

Oregon Coast: Southern (including Bandon, Coos Bay, and Gold Beach)
Bandon Beach, Bandon - one of Oregon's most famous beaches; the beach features huge seastacks and tide pools
Cape Arago State Park, Coos Bay - scenic headlands located a few miles north of Bandon; in some months you can see migrating whales
Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, Bandon - features views of some of the best seastacks on the Oregon coastline
Harris Beach State Park, Brookings - offers miles of beaches and scenic coastline views
Jet boat tours in Hellgate Canyon - at least two companies offer exhilarating jet boat tours up the Rogue River
Oregon Coast Highway (US-101) - one of the finest coastal drives in the U.S.; there are many scenic viewpoints and state parks to explore
Prehistoric Gardens, Gold Beach - a roadside attraction with more than 20 dinosaur sculptures; some may not appreciate this tourist attraction
Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Brookings - a 12-mile long linear park with secluded beaches, interesting rock formations, and tall bluffs
Shore Acres State Park, Coos Bay - highlights include rugged coastline views and a variety of plant-life

Portland (see below for the rest of Northwestern Oregon)
Boat tours in Portland - e.g. sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises, sailing charters, jet-boat rides, etc.
Donut shops in Portland - there are several famous donut shops in Portland to try (e.g. Voodoo Doughnuts, Annie's, Pip's, etc.)
Forest Park - a huge urban park with 80 miles of trails, fire lanes, and forest roads; many different parking areas provide trail access
Grotto, The - a famous Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary
Guided food tours in Portland - Portland is a dining destination, and several companies offer excellent guided food tours
International Rose Test Garden - a famous garden that is the "centerpiece of Portland's famous rose blooms"
Lan Su Chinese Garden - visit an authentic Ming Dynasty-style garden that was built by Suzhou artisans
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) - a great science and technology museum with a theater, planetarium, and submarine
Oregon Zoo - a good medium-sized zoo with more than 1,800 animals
Pittock Mansion - tour a historic home museum that was built in 1914
Portland Art Museum - visit one of the oldest art museums in the U.S.
Portland Japanese Garden - visit the "most authentic Japanese garden in the U.S."
Powell's City of Books - supposedly the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world; an "empire of new, used and rare books"
Washington Park - a diverse park that has an archery range, arboretum, rose garden, several memorials, a zoo, Japanese garden, and more

Northwestern Oregon (including Hood River, Salem, Mount Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge; see above for Portland)
Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area - an area just east of Portland that is world-famous for its spectacular waterfalls
Eagle Creek Trail, Cascade Locks - one of the best hiking areas in the Pacific Northwest; visits several great waterfalls
Enchanted Forest Theme Park, Salem - a popular theme park for children and families
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville - see more than 200 historic aircraft & exhibits on display
Latourell Falls, Corbett - one of the prettiest of Oregon's waterfalls; requires a short walk within the Columbia River Gorge
Mountain biking the Sandy Ridge Trail System, Brightwood - some of the best mountain biking in Oregon
Mount Hood, Government Camp - Oregon's tallest mountain; a challenging mountaineering effort is required to summit
Mount Hood National Forest - a wilderness of forested mountains, lakes, and streams
Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil - this waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge is widely considered one of the five best in the U.S.; 620-feet tall
Oneonta Gorge, Corbett - a fantastic slot canyon in Columbia River Gorge; may be closed and/or require permits (do research before visiting)
Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour, North Plains - excellent zip-lining tours with two suspension bridges
Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Hillsboro - an great rock/mineral/gem museum
Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure, Central Point - excellent zip-lining tours
Silver Falls State Park, Sublimity - this state park has 10 waterfalls, five of which are more than 100 feet tall; 24 miles of hiking trails
Timberline Lodge, Government Camp - a historic hotel at the base of Mt. Hood; there's a ski area and hiking trailheads here too
Trillium Lake, Government Camp - a beautiful lake that reflects Mt. Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain
Vista House, Corbett - a stone building that offers elevated scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge
Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, Hood River - lots of "still-flying and driving" historic aircraft and autos on display
Whitewater rafting the Deschutes River - one of many rivers in Oregon that offer excellent whitewater rafting
Whitewater rafting the Hood River - one of many rivers in Oregon that offer excellent whitewater rafting
Wineries in Willamette Valley - there are more than 700 wineries in the Willamette Valley; this area is famous for its Pinot Noir wines

Central Oregon (including Bend, Eugene, and Sisters)
ATV/ORV-ing in/near Bend - the area around Bend is excellent for ATV/ORV-ing
Autzen Stadium, Eugene - a large college football stadium; home of the Oregon Ducks
Boyd Cave, Bend - explore an 1,880-foot long lava tube within Deschutes National Forest; bring a headlamp!
Breweries in Bend - there are more than 20 breweries in Bend, and more in nearby towns
Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene - visit a raptor rehabilitation; self-guided and guided tours are offered
Dee Wright Observatory, Blue River - a unique stone observation building at the summit of McKenzie Pass that offers scenic views
High Desert Museum, Bend - an excellent history museum with live animal demonstrations
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Kimberly - a colorful desert park with badlands-like formations
Lava River Cave, Bend - grab a headlamp and take a self-guided tour of a mile-long lava tube
McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway - a paved 82-mile scenic driving loop around two of central Oregon's Cascade Mountain passes
Mt. Bachelor Ski Area, Bend - one of the largest and best ski resorts in the U.S.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Bend - known for its volcanic landscapes (lava flows, lava tubes, etc.); explore some lava tubes!
Paulina Falls, La Pine - an 80-foot waterfall in Deschutes National Forest that is about 45 minutes south of Bend
Proxy Falls, Sisters - a towering 226-foot waterfall in Willamette National Forest
Sahalie & Koosah Falls, Sisters - a pair of excellent waterfalls in Willamette National Forest
Simpsons Murals, Springfield - the city of Springfield, Oregon has dozens of murals of the famous cartoon show
Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne - world-famous for rock-climbing, but the park also has excellent hiking trails and scenic views
Terwilliger Hot Springs, Willamette National Forest - a popular set of natural geothermal pools (hot springs)
Toketee Falls, Idleyld Park - a beautiful two-tiered, 120-foot waterfall in Umpqua National Forest
Tumalo Falls, Bend - a stunning 97-foot waterfall in Deschutes National Forest
Whitewater rafting the McKenzie River - one of many rivers in Oregon that offer excellent whitewater rafting

Southcentral Oregon (including Ashland, Klamath Falls, Medford, and Crater Lake National Park)
Crater Lake National Park - visit the deepest lake in the U.S and one of the most pristine bodies of water on Earth.; gorgeous in all seasons
Crater Lake ZipLine, Klamath Falls - popular zip-lining tours
Great Cats World Park, Cave Junction - a medium-sized,, privately-owned big cat zoo (e.g. tigers, jaguars, lions, leopards, etc.)
Lithia Park, Ashland - a nice public park with gardens, hiking trails, and a variety of other outdoor activities
Oregon Caves National Monument, Cave Junction - the best guided cave tours in Oregon
Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland - a world-renowned repertory theatre
Rogue Valley Wine Country - there are more than 80 wineries in this region
Whitewater rafting the Klamath River - one of many rivers in Oregon that offer excellent whitewater rafting
Whitewater rafting the Rogue River - one of many rivers in Oregon that offer excellent whitewater rafting
Whitewater rafting the Umpqua River - one of many rivers in Oregon that offer excellent whitewater rafting
Wineries of Umpqua Wine Country/Roseburg - there are roughly 30 wineries to be enjoyed in this region

Northeastern Oregon
Eagle Cap Wilderness - offers some of the finest backpacking opportunities in the Pacific Northwest
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City - one of the finest Oregon Trail museums/attractions

Southeastern Oregon
Whitewater rafting the Owyhee River - one of many rivers in Oregon that offer excellent whitewater rafting

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in Oregon? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

For a list of 5-star attractions in neighboring states, click on any of these links:  CA  |  ID  |  NV  |  WA

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN OREGON



These towns and cities in Oregon are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Oregon Coastline
Astoria - a small city known for its Victorian architecture, the Astoria Column, Lewis & Clark history, and The Goonies movie set locations
Bandon - a small town with beautiful coastal scenery, seafood shacks, historic buildings, great golfing, and a historic lighthouse
Cannon Beach - a very lively small town with beaches, huge sea stacks (e.g. Haystack Rock), art galleries, and boutique shops
Depoe Bay - a small town with great coastal scenery; the "whale watching capital of Oregon"; many outdoor recreation activities nearby
Florence - a small town with beaches, historic buildings, sand dunes, and the famous Heceta Head Lighthouse
Newport - a small town with great coastal scenery, two lighthouses, great bird-watching, an excellent aquarium, and a historic bayfront
Seaside - a small town with beaches, a boardwalk, Lewis & Clark history, and the excellent Ecola State Park
Yachats - a small town with beautiful coastal scenery, great hiking, and the famous Cape Perpetua Scenic Area; "gem of the Oregon coast"

Inland Oregon
Ashland - a small city known for its Victorian architecture, many B&Bs, and its highly popular Shakespeare Festival theater
Bend - a medium-sized city that offers an abundance of breweries and outdoor recreational opportunities (e.g. hiking, mtn biking, skiing)
Hood River - a small city that is the eastern gateway to the Columbia River Gorge; offers many breweries and great views of Mt. Hood
Portland - a major city famous for its green spaces, cycling trails, breweries, and hip culture; western gateway to the Columbia River Gorge
Sisters - a small town near Bend that is closer to many excellent outdoor recreation areas / nature parks; it has a lively tourist area

My favorite large city in Oregon is Portland - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 nights there
My favorite medium-sized city in Oregon is Bend - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 4-5 nights there

If you want to visit the Columbia River Gorge, stay in Portland or Hood River.
If you want to visit Crater Lake National Park, try to stay inside the park since the towns around the lake are generally small with limited services.
If you want to visit Mount Hood, stay at the Timberline Lodge or in nearby Government Camp or Hood River.

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS OREGON FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that Oregon is famous or well-known for:

Asian gardens
beaches
breweries
capes
covered bridges
hippies
hot springs
Lewis & Clark history
lush green forests
mountains
Oregon Trail history
public access to the entire coastline
rocky coastline
sea stacks
tree-huggers
waterfalls
whitewater rafting
windsurfing
wineries / wine tastings / wine tours

Click here if you'd like to explore what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN OREGON



There is currently one national park in Oregon. There is also a slew of other federally-managed parks and properties in the state, including:

National Parks
Crater Lake National Park - visit the deepest lake in the U.S and one of the most pristine on Earth.; a drop-dead gorgeous park in all seasons

National Monuments
Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Newberry Volcanic National Monument
Oregon Caves National Monument

National Recreation Areas
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
Mount Hood National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

National Forests
Deschutes National Forest
Fremont-Winema National Forest
Klamath National Forest
Malheur National Forest
Mount Hood National Forest
Ochoco National Forest
Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Siuslaw National Forest
Umatilla National Forest
Umpqua National Forest
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Willamette National Forest

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks & Properties
California National Historic Trail
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Lewis & Clark National Historical Park
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Oregon National Historic Trail

For more information on Oregon's national parks, visit the Oregon page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN OREGON



Oregon has hundreds of state parks and other state-run recreation sites and natural areas. I believe Oregon has one of the five best state park systems in the country. Here is a list of many of Oregon's finest state parks:

Oregon Coast: Northern (including Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Tillamook)
Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site, Arch Cape - a scenic beach with tide-pools that is just south of Cannon Beach; known for "singing sands"
Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook - a scenic park on a sand spit between Netarts Bay and the ocean; great hiking trails and beaches
Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach - offers dramatic views of the Oregon coastline, including Indian Beach
Fort Stevens State Park, Astoria - a diverse park with a historic fort; offers many outdoor activities; the Peter Iredale shipwreck is here
Hug Point State Park, Cannon Beach - features a beach, sea caves, rocky ridges, and a waterfall; beware of the tides!
Nehalem Bay State Park, Nehalem - features a beach, kayaking in Nehalem Bay, a short cycling trail, and good crabbing and fishing
Oswald West State Park, Arch Cape - features four miles of scenic coastline and excellent hiking trails

Oregon Coast: Central (including Depoe Bay, Florence, Newport, and Yachats)
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Yachats - scenic, highly-elevated coastal views from "one of the jewels of the Oregon coast"; Thor's Well is here
Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area, Otter Rock - rocky coastline with tide-pools and a thunderous pothole
Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint, Florence - one of the finest scenic views along the Oregon coast; see the famous lighthouse
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Newport - a scenic area that includes the Yaqiuna Head Lighthouse (the tallest lighthouse in OR)

Oregon Coast: Southern (including Bandon, Coos Bay, and Gold Beach)
Cape Arago State Park, Coos Bay - scenic headlands located a few miles north of Bandon; in some months you can see migrating whales
Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, Bandon - features views of some of the best seastacks on the Oregon coastline
Harris Beach State Park, Brookings - offers miles of beaches and scenic coastline views
Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Brookings - a 12-mile long linear park with secluded beaches, interesting rock formations, and tall bluffs
Shore Acres State Park, Coos Bay - rugged coastline views and variety of plant-life

Northwestern Oregon (including Hood River, Portland, Salem, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge)
Silver Falls State Park, Sublimity - this state park has 10 waterfalls, five of which are more than 100 feet tall; 24 miles of hiking trails

Central Oregon (including Bend, Eugene, and Sisters)
Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne - world-famous for rock-climbing, but also has excellent hiking trails and scenic views

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN OREGON



Oregon has more than 1,000 natural waterfalls, making it a top five U.S. state for waterfall hunting. Here are some of the best waterfalls in Oregon:

Columbia River Gorge area (northcentral/northwestern Oregon)
Bridal Veil Falls
Dry Creek Falls
Fairy Falls
Gorton Creek Falls
Horsetail Falls
Latourell Falls
Multnomah Falls
Oneonta Gorge
Punchbowl Falls
Tunnel Falls
Wahclella Falls
Wahkeena Falls

Mt. Hood National Forest (northcentral Oregon)
Ramona Falls
Tamanawas Falls

Willamette National Forest (central Oregon)
Proxy Falls
Sahalie & Koosah Falls
Salt Creek Falls

Umpqua National Forest (southcentral Oregon)
Fall Creek Falls
Toketee Falls
Watson Falls

The rest of Oregon
Abiqua Falls in Santiam State Forest
Drift Creek Falls in Siuslaw National Forest
Tumalo Falls in Deschutes National Forest
South Falls in Silver Falls State Park
White River Falls in White River Falls State Park

For a listing of all known waterfalls in Oregon, visit the World Waterfall Database.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN OREGON



Here is a list of the best scenic drives in Oregon:

Historic Columbia River Highway - a 75-mile paved route from Troutdale to The Dalles offering scenic views and many trailheads for waterfalls
McKenzie-Santiam Scenic Byway - a seasonal 82-mile paved loop over Santiam Pass and McKenzie Pass using US-20, WA-126, and WA-242
Mount Hood Scenic Byway - a 105-mile paved loop around Mt. Hood (e.g. US-26, OR-35) that includes the Historic Columbia River Highway
Oregon Coastline/US-101 - an exceptional 363-mile paved route along the Oregon coastline that is on par with the Big Sur Highway in CA
Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park - a seasonal 33-mile paved route that encircles Crater Lake
Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway - a 120-mile paved route from Roseburg to Prospect using OR-138, OR-230, and OR-62
Three Capes Scenic Route - a 40-mile paved loop along the Oregon coast that includes Cape Meares, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda

The Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway, Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, and Journey Through Time Scenic Byway are all very nice drives, but their scenery is just not on par with the roads listed above. I haven't driven the 66-mile Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway or the 220-mile West Cascades Scenic Byway yet, but it's possible those are good scenic drives. The "Fruit Loop" drive near Hood River is more about farms and wineries than scenic views, but there are some scenic views along on it.

For a list of great scenic drives in each U.S. state, click here.

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN OREGON



Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in Oregon:

Banks-Vernonia Trail - northeastern Oregon (west of Portland); often rated one of the best rail trails in the U.S.
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail - three disconnected paved paths along highway OR-30 in the Columbia River Gorge
Row River Trail near Eugene

For detailed information on all known rail trails in Oregon, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN OREGON



There are only a few notable amusement parks in Oregon. They include:

Enchanted Forest Theme Park, Salem
Oaks Amusement Park, Portland
Wings and Waves Waterpark, McMinnville

BEST MUSEUMS IN OREGON



Oregon has several great museums. The best museums in Oregon include:

Oregon Coast: Northern (including Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Tillamook)
Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria
Fort Clatsop National Memorial, Astoria
Lewis & Clark National Historical Park, Astoria

Northwestern Oregon (including Hood River, Portland, Salem, Mount Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge)
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville
Oregon Historical Society, Portland
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Portland
Oregon Rail Heritage Center, Portland
Pittock Mansion, Portland
Portland Art Museum, Portland
Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Hillsboro
Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, Hood River

Central Oregon (including Bend, Eugene, and Sisters)
Erickson Aircraft Collection, Madras
High Desert Museum, Bend

Northeastern Oregon
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City
Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, Pendleton

BEST DAY HIKES IN OREGON



Oregon offers some of the finest hiking in the United States. The central and western portions of the state are absolutely packed with 5-star trails. Here is a list of many of the premier day hikes in Oregon:

Oregon Coast: Northern (including Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Tillamook)
Cape Falcon Trail, Oswald West State Park
Cape Lookout, Cape Lookout State Park
Ecola State Park trails
Neahkahnie Mountain, Oswald West State Park
Saddle Mountain, Saddle Mountain State Park

Oregon Coast: Central (including Depoe Bay, Florence, Newport, and Yachats)
God's Thumb via the Knoll, Siuslaw National Forest
Hobbit Trail, Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park
Lower Cascade Head Trail, Cascade Head Scenic Research Area
Sweet Creek Trail, Siuslaw National Forest

Oregon Coast: Southern (including Bandon, Coos Bay, and Gold Beach)
Oregon Coast Trail-Sunset Bay to Cape Arago, Sunset Bay / Shore Acres State Parks
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor trails
Umpqua Dunes, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Northwestern Oregon (including Hood River, Portland, Salem, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge)
Angel's Rest, Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area
Bald Mountain from Lolo Pass Trail, Mount Hood National Forest
Cooper Spur, Mount Hood National Forest
Dry Creek Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Eagle Creek Trail / Punchbowl Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Horsetail Falls to Triple Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Latourell Falls Loop, Guy W. Talbot State Park
Lookout Mountain, Badger Creek Wilderness
McNeil Point Trail, Mount Hood National Forest
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Paradise Park / Zigzag Canyon, Mount Hood Wilderness, Mount Hood National Forest
Ramona Falls, Mount Hood National Forest
Tamanawas Falls, Mt. Hood National Forest
Tom Dick and Harry Mountain, Mount Hood Wilderness, Mount Hood National Forest
Wahclella Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Yocum Ridge, Mount Hood Wilderness, Mount Hood National Forest
Zigzag Overlook, Mount Hood Wilderness, Mount Hood National Forest

Central Oregon (including Bend, Eugene, and Sisters)
Abiqua Falls, Santiam State Forest
Camp Lake & Chambers Lakes, Three Sisters Wilderness, Willamette National Forest
Crooked River Trail, Smith Rock State Park
Drift Creek Falls, Suislaw National Forest
Green Lakes via Fall Creek, Three Sisters Wilderness, Willamette National Forest
Green Lakes Trail, Deschutes National Forest
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument trails
Koosah and Sahalie Falls, Willamette National Forest
Misery Ridge Loop, Smith Rock State Park
No Name Lake, Deschutes National Forest
Obsidian Trail, Three Sisters Wilderness, Willamette National Forest
Painted Hills Overlook, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Paulina Peak Trail, Newbury National Volcanic Monument
Pilot Butte, Pilot Butte State Park
Proxy Falls Loop, Willamette National Forest
Smith Rock State Park trails
South Sister Mountain, Three Sisters Wilderness, Willamette National Forest
Tamolitch Falls / Blue Pool, Willamette National Forest
Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park
Triangulation Peak & Boca Cave Trail, Willamette National Forest
Tumalo Falls, Deschutes National Forest
Tumalo Mountain, Deschutes National Forest

Southcentral Oregon (including Ashland, Klamath Falls, Medford, and Crater Lake National Park)
Cleetwood Cove Trail, Crater Lake National Park
Garfield Peak, Crater Lake National Park
Mount McLoughlin, Sky Lakes Wilderness, Rogue River National Forest
Mount Scott, Crater Lake National Park
Mount Thielsen, Mount Thielsen Wilderness, Umpqua National Forest
Toketee Falls, Umpqua National Forest
Umpqua Hot Springs, Umpqua National Forest
Watchman Peak, Crater Lake National Park
Watson Falls, Umpqua National Forest
Wizard Island, Crater Lake National Park

Northeastern Oregon
Chimney Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness
Maxwell Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness

Southeastern Oregon
Wildhorse Lake, BLM land

The highpoint of Oregon is Mount Hood (11,239'). A serious mountaineering effort is required to reach the top.

BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN OREGON



Oregon offers some amazing backpacking opportunities. Some of premier backpacking routes/areas in Oregon include:

Coastal Oregon
Oregon Coast Trail
Rogue River National Recreation Trail - includes some backcountry lodges

Northwestern Oregon (including Hood River, Portland, Salem, Mount Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge)
Eagle Creek Trail in Mt. Hood National Forest
Pacific Coast Trail
Timberline Trail in Mt. Hood National Forest

Central Oregon (including Bend, Eugene, and Sisters)
Mount Jefferson Wilderness - although a fire in 2017 heavily impacted this place
Pacific Coast Trail
Three Sisters Loop / Three Sisters Wilderness

Southcentral Oregon (including Ashland, Klamath Falls, Medford, and Crater Lake National Park)
Pacific Coast Trail

Northeastern Oregon
Eagle Cap Wilderness
Elkhorn Crest National Recreation Trail
Hells Canyon Loop in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
Strawberry Mountain Wilderness
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN OREGON



Oregon offers a huge amount of excellent outdoor adventures, including these classics:

Backcountry skiing Broken Top Bowl on Mount Bachelor
Backcountry skiing to remote ski huts in the Central Oregon Cascades (e.g. Three Sisters Backcountry)
Backcountry skiing Tumalo Mountain
Backpacking the Eagle Cap Wilderness
Backpacking the Rogue River National Recreation Trail - includes some backcountry lodges
Backpacking the Three Sisters Loop / Three Sisters Wilderness
Backpacking the Timberline Trail
Bouldering at Carver Woods
Bouldering at Lost Lake Boulders
Canoeing/kayaking the Tualatin River
Canoeing/kayaking the Upper Klamath River
Canoeing/kayaking the Willamette River (e.g. part of the 187-mile Willamette River Water Trail)
Cycling the Banks-Vernonia Trail
Day hiking in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Day hiking in Crater Lake National Park
Day hiking in Smith Rock State Park
Helicopter tours in Troutdale
Hot air ballooning in Newberg
Ice climbing in the Columbia River Gorge
Kiteboarding / windsurfing in the Columbia River Gorge
Mountain biking the Blackrock Mountain Bike Area
Mountain biking the McKenzie River Trail
Mountain biking at Mt. Bachelor Bike Park
Mountain biking in Oakridge
Mountain biking some or all of the Oregon Timber Trail
Mountain biking the Phil’s Trail Complex in Bend
Mountain biking the Sandy Ridge Trail System in Brightwood
Mountaineering on Mt. Hood
Mountaineering on South Sister
Rock climbing at Broughton Bluff near Portland
Rock climbing at Rattlesnake Rock in Umpqua National Forest
Rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park (a world-famous climbing destination)
Rock climbing at Spring Mountain in Pendleton
Rock climbing at Trout Creek in Willamette National Forest
Skydiving in Creswell, Madras, Molalla, or Mulino
Snowmobiling in/near Bend
Whitewater rafting the Clackmas River
Whitewater rafting the Deschutes River
Whitewater rafting the Hood River
Whitewater rafting the Illinois River
Whitewater rafting the Klamath River-Upper
Whitewater rafting the Klickitat River
Whitewater rafting the McKenzie River
Whitewater rafting the Molalla River
Whitewater rafting the Owyhee River
Whitewater rafting the Rogue River
Whitewater rafting the Sandy River Gorge
Whitewater rafting the Umpqua River-North Fork

SKI RESORTS IN OREGON



There are just under a dozen actively-operating ski resorts in Oregon. These ski resorts are generally considered the best in Oregon:

Premier Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Mt. Bachelor - 101 trails; 3,365ft vertical drop; 9,065ft summit
Mt. Hood Meadows - 85 trails; 4,477 vertical drop (includes hiking); 9,000ft summit

Other Notable Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Anthony Lakes
Mt. Hood Skibowl
Timberline Lodge

Mt. Bachelor is the 6th largest ski resort in North America, and widely considered one of the very best ski areas in the United States.

The Timberline ski area is the only ski area in the U.S. that is open ten months of the year. It also has the most vertical drop of any ski area in the country.

OREGON TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique Oregon attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN OREGON



Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in Oregon:

coffee houses
crab louis
hazelnuts
marionberries
marionberry pie
Oregon clam chowder
razor clams
salmon

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in Oregon (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each of the 50 U.S. states, click here.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in Oregon (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

OTHER KEY OREGON INFORMATION



State Capital:
Salem

Major Airports:
Portland International Airport (PDX)

Largest Cities:
Portland (666,249), Eugene (180,748), Salem (179,715), Gresham (115,977), Hillsboro (109,415), Bend (103,686), Beaverton (99,032)

Primary U.S. Interstates:
I-5, I-82, I-84

State Highpoint:
Mount Hood (11,239'); a serious mountaineering effort is required to reach the top

Professional Sports Teams:
NBA: Portland Trail Blazers

Funny or Unique Town/City Names:
Boring, Government Camp, and Nimrod

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.



Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon


ROAD TRIP GUIDEBOOKS



In addition to the information found on my website, I personally recommend purchasing these road trip/travel-related guidebooks. Click on any book cover to read reviews and/or purchase these books on Amazon.com.

        


MORE U.S. STATE TRAVEL GUIDES



Did you enjoy this state travel guide? If so, here are links to more of my comprehensive U.S. state travel guides:

Alabama Maryland Oregon
Arizona Massachusetts Pennsylvania
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California Minnesota South Carolina
Colorado Mississippi South Dakota
Connecticut Missouri Tennessee
Delaware Montana Texas
Florida Nebraska Utah
Georgia Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico Washington DC
Iowa New York West Virginia
Kansas North Carolina Wisconsin
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Louisiana Ohio  
Maine Oklahoma  

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