Oregon Nature June 10, 2022
7 Natural Wonders Unique To The Beaver State That Should Be On Everyone’s Oregon Bucket List
What makes a
natural wonder, exactly? It is a place that’s bucket-list worthy? A natural phenomenon words can’t explain? A sight to which photos simply cannot do justice? It’s all of these things, and more; namely, for us here at Only In Oregon, we believe a natural wonder is something that simply must be experienced… . There are seven named natural wonders in Oregon, and we agree that they’re all pretty wondrous. The in person 7 Wonders of Oregon are all wholly unique to the Beaver State, and absolutely belong on your Oregon bucket list.
Hailed as The Crown Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge is the largest natural scenic area in the United States. The mighty Columbia River serves as the border between Oregon and Washington, and there are all sorts of treasures awaiting you on both states’ sides -- though, of course, we're partial to the Beaver State's boundary.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River County, OR 97031, USA
Known for its
abundance of waterfalls
(there are more than 90 on the Oregon side alone), the Columbia River Gorge is immensely scenic and beautiful. One of the best ways to see the highlights of this natural wonder is by driving the Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway. This 75-mile scenic highway winds past dozens of amazing waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, charming small towns, and hiking areas rife with opportunities for exploration and adventure. Lewis and Clark first happened upon the Columbia River Gorge during their expeditions in 1806, and we can only imagine how awestruck they were at discovering this pristine PNW paradise.
Presiding over Portland and pretty much all of northwest Oregon (folks from as far away as 100 miles are able to see this stunner!), Mount Hood is a place that needs no introduction.
Mount Hood, Mt Hood, Oregon 97041, USA
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. Our advice? Book an aerial tour with
Envi Adventures to experience
from the skies!
Smith Rock State Park is a striking state park located in Oregon's high desert. This 650 expanse is home to some of the most sought-after climbing adventures in the country, with the Misery Ridge and Summit Trail Loop a bucket-list accomplishment for many.
Smith Rock, Oregon 97760, USA
that will take you up 1,778 feet. Yes, it's a challenge, but the views from the top of this natural wonder in Oregon? Jaw dropping.
Oregon is a stunner of a state, full of wondrous places and immense natural beauty. It’s also incredibly geographically diverse, with everything from stunning shorelines and old-growth forests to rolling countrysides and high desert regions. The east-central Oregon is often forsaken for its coastal brethren, but it truly is a wondrous place to behold.
Painted Hills, Oregon 97750, USA
Within this high desert region,
the Painted Hills
are one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The Painted Hills are listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, named after the colorful layers of its hills, which correspond to different geological eras. The colors of these hills will change with the position of the sun, last rainfall, and temperature, making for a wholly unique experience whenever you visit!
Don't get us wrong; the Oregon Coast *is* absolutely resplendent -- all 363 miles of it!
With the entirety of the coast free and open to the public, the Oregon Coast presents endless opportunities for beach combing, hiking, birding, swimming, surfing, and artistic endeavors. The
massive monoliths along the Oregon Coast
are some of the PNW's most iconic natural wonders!
The Wallowas are one of Oregon's most striking natural wonders. Home to majestic mountains, pristine alpine lakes, and verdant forests, there's nowhere in the PNW quite like this range.
Wallowa Mountains, Oregon 97846, USA
There are numerous hiking trails in the Wallowas, each offering thrilling views of the majestic mountains. And while we're all for lacing up our shoes and hitting the trails, nothing quite compares to the views you'll get on the Wallowa Lake Tramway. This lift opens for the season in mid-May, and it's a perennial favorite worth enjoying year after year. This unique tram was the steepest four-person gondola in all of North America when it was built in 1970; and decades later, it remains a superlative Beaver State attraction. Ogle the views from the top at the aptly named Summit Grill, which sits at the 8,150-foot-level of Mt. Howard. And if you can't bring yourself to leave, stay and enjoy amazing,
year-round camping at Wallowa Lake State Park
most beautiful place in Oregon, Crater Lake isn't as much of a destination as it is an experience.
Crater Lake, Oregon 97604, USA
Steeped in epic history, extraordinary wonder, and breathtaking beauty, Crater Lake is truly one of the crown jewels of Oregon. It’s a place we truly can’t get enough of, whether it’s tackling one of its superlative scenic trails, staying overnight at its historic lodge, or stargazing in its immensely dark skies. Adventures abound in Crater Lake, making it a bucket-list must for pretty much everyone.
Embrace the spirit of awe and wonder when you visit the 7 Wonders of Oregon — be sure to share your photos with us on
Facebook and Instagram while you’re out exploring! Address: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River County, OR 97031, USA Address: Crater Lake, Oregon 97604, USA Address: Painted Hills, Oregon 97750, USA Address: Cannon Beach, OR, USA Address: Mount Hood, Mt Hood, Oregon 97041, USA Address: Wallowa Mountains, Oregon 97846, USA Address: Smith Rock, Oregon 97760, USA