When you live in the most beautiful state in the nation, it’s pretty easy to find places that will remind you of the awe and wonder of nature. It’s impossible to make a list that includes every single spot in the Beaver State, but here are some of our favorites. They should definitely go 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:
The Waterfalls Of The Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge has all kinds of beauty to offer, 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.
Silver Falls State Park
Speaking of waterfalls, hiking the Trail of 10 Falls at Silver Falls State Park is an iconic Oregon experience. It's impossible to choose a favorite waterfall because each is different and beautiful in its own way. Don't forget to bring your camera on this 7.2-mile hike.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument - Painted Hills
The vibrant layers of the Painted Hills show millions of years of geologic history. This otherworldly place is a favorite with those interested in plant and animal evolution and fossils, but the scenic beauty is enough to thrill any visitor.
If you want to feel small compared to the vast, natural world around you, park on the dry lakebed of the Alvord Desert. This 12-by-7 mile area is surrounded by towering mountains. The lake was once 200 feet deep - today it's bone dry and typically fairly empty of visitors.
Three Sisters Wilderness
It's hard to beat the beauty of the Three Sisters Wilderness. It covers 285,000 acres, and includes picturesque rivers, lakes, and mountain meadows.
Three Capes Scenic Loop
The Three Capes Scenic Loop takes you to Cape Lookout, Cape Kiwanda, and Cape Meares, and showcases some incredible scenery.
Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
On the other end of the coast, the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor stretches for 12 miles from Brookings to Gold Beach. See Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint, visit Whaleshead Beach, and take one of the many trails to see countless vistas.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Nestled in the midst of the Deschutes National Forest, the Newberry Volcano provides a stunning example of the change that can occur when nature's forces erupt. The volcano is still considered active, and the U.S. Geological Survey continues to monitor it closely.
Smith Rock State Park
Photos of Smith Rock State Park always look like something from a fairytale, and they're pretty accurate in their representation. This place is heaven for rock climbers, but even if you like to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, you'll enjoy the soaring cliffs and meandering Crooked River.
The Wallowa Mountains are stunning gems that offer all kinds of recreation and scenic beauty. Check out Ice Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, shown here, and make sure to visit Wallowa Lake and take its tram for an exciting ride and pretty views.
This vast, 40,000-acre dunes area is the largest on the West Coast. Whether you explore on foot or via ATV, you'll be amazed at the stark beauty of the dunes.
Located on the border between Idaho and Oregon, Hells Canyon is the deepest gorge in North America. The scenery is awe-inspiring, and a journey on the Snake River is the perfect way to explore this rugged place.
No nature-loving bucket list would be complete without Crater Lake! It's not only the deepest lake in the country, it also has the cleanest, clearest water. Drive or hike the rim, but also make sure to take the boat tour to explore Wizard Island and see many of the lake's features close-up.
Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from the California/Mexico border all the way to the Canadian border. Hiking the 455-mile stretch through Oregon takes you through several wilderness areas, past pretty lakes, across the tops of mountains, and through lush forests. Hike it all at once over many weeks, or choose a small section to tackle in a day or two.
What are your favorite places to bask in Oregon’s natural beauty? Tell us in the comments!