Nature May 04, 2021
8 Incredible Natural Wonders In Oregon That You Can Witness For Free
With towering mountains, sweeping coastlines, old-growth forests, and dazzling lakes, Oregon is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. Many of our natural wonders can be visited for free! Here are eight incredible natural wonders in Oregon that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and need to be on your bucket list:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is a treasure trove of natural beauty! Within this National Scenic Area, you'll find the Columbia River, mighty Multnomah Falls, majestic Cascade Mountains, and resplendent Hood River -- and that's just the beginning. The Gorge reaches up to 4,000 feet deep in some areas, and the canyon stretches out over 80 miles as the river winds through the Cascades.
Columbia River Highway
For unparalleled views of the Gorge, take a drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Along the way, there are several scenic overlooks where travelers can stop and enjoy the views. With its dynamic horseshoe loops, Rowena Crest Overlook is the most iconic spot along the drive. To get there, take exit 69 off I-84 from Mosier, and head east on Highway 30, or take the Rowena exit (#76) and head west on Highway 30.
The Painted Hills of Oregon
History unfolds right before your eyes in Oregon's Painted Hills, most famously, at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The hills get their name from the colored stratifications in the soil, which form layers of rich red, bronze, copper, and gold. Visit during the "golden hour," and you'll be rendered speechless by the dazzling display of color. To make a day out of it, take the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway, a scenic route that stretches for 286 miles and passes through five Oregon counties, cruising right past Oregon's hued hills.
The Oregon Coast
One of Oregon's most marvelous treasures, all 363 miles of the Oregon Coast are free and open public. That means endless opportunities for beachcombing, whale watching, hiking, exploring, or simply reveling in the beauty of the Beaver State's stunning shores.
Located in Southeastern Oregon, the Alvord Desert is a dry lake bed that's 12 miles long and seven miles wide. It sits in the shadow of Steens Mountain. The desert gets as little as five inches of rain per year, so it's typically pretty dry. It seems like, well, a mirage. A desert in Oregon? It's truly something you have to see to believe.
Oregon's Old-Growth Forests
Few things are as wondrous as Oregon's old-growth forests. These lush, magical worlds offer a deep connection to the past. While there are countless places to marvel in these towering trees, Forest Park in Portland is one of the most accessible. This 5156-acre park features 70 miles of trails, and it's all within the Portland city limits.
Oregon's Rainforest, the Valley of the Giants
Oregon has a rainforest - and it's incredible. The Valley of the Giants covers 51 acres, and you'll find it about 31 miles east of Lincoln City. This temperate rainforest gets more than 180 inches of rain every year, and it's full of towering Western Hemlocks and Douglas firs. There's an easy 1.4-mile trail that allows for an immersive experience of this Oregon wonder.
Oregon's crown jewel needs no introduction -- Mount Hood is a commanding, omnipotent presence in The Beaver State. At 11,239 feet tall and with its base stretching 92 square miles, the mountain is a constant in the Oregon panorama.
Did you know about all of these natural wonders in Oregon? Aren’t you feeling inspired to go out and explore The Beaver State? As you’re out and about, be sure to tag us on
Instagram at #OnlyInOregon to share your adventures with your fellow Oregonians!
And for another epic adventure to add to your Beaver State bucket list, a visit to the
world’s deepest, cleanest lake is a must. Address: Columbia River Address: Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR, USA Address: Painted Hills, Oregon 97750, USA Address: Oregon Coast Hwy, Florence, OR, USA Address: Alvord Desert, Oregon 97721, USA Address: 833 SW 11th Ave #800, Portland, OR 97205, USA Address: Valley Of The Giants, Oregon, USA Address: Mt Hood, Oregon 97041, USA