Nature March 22, 2021
A Nature Lovers Definitive Guide To Oregon’s Natural Beauty – Waterfalls, Beaches, Hikes And More!
Oregon is a natural beauty, with some of the most resplendent
natural wonders in the world. The state is home to endless majestic mountains, piercing blue lakes, wondrous waterfalls, stunning beaches, and lush, and straight-from-a-fairytale forests, making Oregon an absolute paradise for nature enthusiasts. Whether you choose to hike, visit a garden or park, explore an underground cave, or even climb a mountain, Oregon has some of the best outdoor recreation in the country. Today we’re highlighting the “best of the best” of what The Beaver State has to offer nature lovers, to inspire and fuel endless expeditions reveling in Oregon’s natural beauty.
The Best Little Known Park In Oregon
Oregon is home to myriad must-visit parks, but there are also numerous lesser-known gems in the state worth visiting.
is one of these hidden treasures. This wondrous park is located about 24 miles off Highway 101, and you'll travel on a narrow dirt road to get there. But the effort is well-worth it: the natural beauty of this Oregon park is unparalleled, and the eponymous falls here will take your breath away.
The Most Pristine Beach In Oregon
With over 360 miles of coastline, Oregon has some seriously beautiful beaches. While all offer Oregonians incredible 'beach day' experiences, Indian Beach is perhaps the most pristine beach in Oregon. Located at Ecola State Park on the northern Oregon coast, Indian Beach is tucked away just north of the popular Cannon Beach, hidden from view by lush forests and dramatic cliffs. It sort of feels like your own personal paradise here; the water is a breathtaking, bright-blue hue, and lush forests surround the sandy shores.
is pure magic.
The Most Jaw Dropping Lake In Oregon
Did you know that Oregon is home to the
cleanest, clearest large body of water in the world
? The most famous lake in Oregon is Crater Lake – and people come from all over the world to gaze upon its azure glory. Crater Lake National Park has around 700,000 visitors every year, and if you’ve ever been, you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s often named as the most beautiful place in the state. Crater Lake sits in the caldera of an ancient volcano, Mount Mazama, which erupted around 5700 B.C. When its peak collapsed, it left a massive depression. Over time, the crater was filled with rainfall and snowmelt, creating what is easily the most jaw dropping lake in Oregon. In terms of Oregon's natural beauty, it doesn't get more sublime than Crater Lake.
The Most Beautiful Island In Oregon
Located just outside of Portland,
is a world unto itself. Surrounded by nature and farmland, you will feel a million miles away from it all. Sauvie Island boasts numerous incredible beaches -- North Unit, Walton, Collins, and Warrior Point -- all of which feature sandy shorelines and gentle waters. Warrior Point requires a little effort to access: you will have to boat or take a 3.5-mile hike to get there; but if you do, your reward will be a near-private beach to enjoy all to yourself. This island really does feel like a remote little getaway.
The Best Trail To Hike In Oregon
Tucked away in the Columbia River Gorge, the
Emerald Falls-Gorton Creek Falls Hike
is an overlooked hidden gem. The trail is only one mile long and leads through a lush green forest past two lovely waterfalls: Gorton Creek Falls and Emerald Falls. You'll wander through old-growth forest to Jawbone Flats, an abandoned mining town that is now part of the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. It's a hauntingly beautiful place to explore. The trail ends at Opal Pool; an enchanting, turquoise swimming hole fed by a majestic little waterfall. This scenic trail is an absolutely magical experience.
The Most Beautiful River in Oregon
is absolutely resplendent. The largest river in the Pacific Northwest, this river is beloved by Oregonians, who flock to the eponymous Columbia River Gorge for outdoor recreation of all varieties. The Gorge is up to 4,000 feet deep in some areas, and full of diverse beauty that includes dense forests and eastern grasslands. The Columbia River Gorge has all kinds of beauty to explore, but its waterfalls are world-class. Multnomah Falls is the most famous, and the largest in the state, plunging 611 feet in two tiers. You'll also want to feast your eyes on Fairy Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and several more.
The Most Scenic Mountain In Oregon
Mt. Hood's snow-clad peak is an
iconic Oregon symbol
. This majestic mountain is unimaginably beautiful, and reigns over Portland like a king. The views of Mount Hood from below are incredible, but actually being
the mountain provides vistas unlike any other. There are myriad hikes within Mt. Hood National Forest where you can experience the splendor of this scenic mountain for yourself, but if you want a
sublime experience, definitely opt for an
over this majestic mountain.
The Most Unique Garden In Oregon
Located in Oregon’s iconic Washington Park, the
Portland Japanese Garden
is a 12-acre urban oasis that's breathtakingly beautiful. The Garden's overlook offers stunning views of Downtown Portland; and on a clear day, you can even see majestic Mt. Hood. As a Japanese garden, this space is supposed to evoke a sense of peace, harmony, and tranquility; and to experience the absolute awe of nature.
The most unique garden in Oregon, this hidden treasure also has some of the very best cherry blossom trees in the state.
Most Glorious Swimming Hole In Oregon
The Beaver State is full of utterly beautiful swimming holes. One of the most spectacular is
, located within the Opal Creek Wilderness. To reach this enchanting spot, you’ll hike through an old-growth forest filled to the brim with stunning scenery. In fact, as the largest old-growth forest in the western Cascades, you'll feel like you're taking a step back in time. Some of the trees are over a 1,000 years old! True to its name, the pool itself is an emerald swimming oasis that's truly magical.
Most Extraordinary Rock Formation In Oregon
Oregon's natural beauty will take your breath away, and this is most definitely the case with Haystock Rock. The Oregon Coast is actually home to two different sea stacks known as
, but the one at Cannon Beach is truly iconic. This 235-foot-tall sea stack is one of the tallest such intertidal structures in the world. Not only is it incredibly picturesque, but at low tide, it's surrounded by tide pools teeming with Oregon wildlife.
5 Spectacular Natural Wonders In Oregon
1. If you're only going to visit one waterfall in Oregon, make it
. The Platonic Ideal of waterfalls, Multnomah Falls plunges 620 feet from the cliffs above, cascading into two perfect tiers.
2. No, this isn't the Sahara Desert; it's
Christmas Valley Dunes
, part of an 11,000-acre sand dune system located less than two hours south of Bend. Some of these dunes reach 60 feet tall!
is absolutely breathtaking. When the lake is calm, Mt. Hood is perfectly reflected in its placid waters.
Smith Rock State Park
looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. Here, natural beauty meets outdoor recreation: the towering cliffs attract climbers from all over the world.
Sky Lakes Wilderness
covers 116,300 acres and is brimming with natural beauty. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through the heart of this wild area, and it's home to more than 200 ponds and lakes.
Oregon’s natural beauty truly is extraordinary. The state is one big playground for adventurers. So get out and explore!