The Final Oregon Highway Journey

Oregon positively earns its spot as among the finest street journeys within the American West, as there’s a lot to see each inland and on the coast. Driving via the state provides you the chance to see all its pure and artifical sights, however with the pliability of a journey plan catered to your pursuits.

Whereas this itinerary solely covers a number of of the highlights, these 10 locations — from mountains to seashores to hipster cities — are abstract of the state.

Notice: The itinerary goes from south to north, so be sure you reverse this in the event you’re coming from Washington State!

Crater Lake

For the primary cease in your street journey, head to Crater Lake Nationwide Park. The spherical lake shaped over 7,000 years in the past, when an eruption brought on a mountain peak to develop into the deepest lake within the nation!

You’ll be able to soak up views of the lake from quite a few angles, because of the Rim Drive. This 33-mile route highlights the perimeter’s panorama and has greater than 30 overlooks for the proper view.

The very best time to go to Crater Lake is in the course of the summer season, as winter clouds could make the lake arduous to see. You’ll be able to all the time test the Nationwide Park Service’s Crater Lake Webcam to see if it’s seen. It’s value spending a day right here, however discovering close by lodging shall be troublesome, because the lake is in the midst of a nationwide park. Nonetheless, tenting is all the time an choice in the event you’re a fan of the outside.

North Umpqua

Drive about an hour northwest of Crater Lake and also you’ll be alongside the North Umpqua River. This area has a wide range of waterfalls and different pure points of interest, however listed below are a number of that make it value visiting:

  • Watson Falls – With a drop of practically 300 toes, this is among the tallest falls within the state! You’ll be able to simply see the falls whereas strolling alongside a 0.4-mile path.
  • Toketee Falls – The hike to those falls is lower than a mile round-trip, and the views are effectively value it! Notice: You could discover a bent fence alongside your hike, the results of folks scaling it to get to the underside. The Nationwide Park Service advises in opposition to crossing the fence, on account of security considerations.
  • Umpqua Sizzling Springs – Right here you’ll be able to soak within the forest ambiance from the consolation of a naturally heated pool.


Picture credit score: Large Mountain Heli

Drive about two hours north and also you’ll be in Bend. With round 20 breweries, this city of 80,000 folks is ideal in the event you’re into the craft beer scene.

If you wish to discover extra of what the realm has to supply, take a drive southeast via the Cascade Lakes Nationwide Scenic Byway. This 66-mile drive has loads of stopping locations so that you can admire Mt. Bachelor and a number of the Cascade Lakes. The whole street is open seasonally, so summer season via early fall is one of the best time to drive it.

Among the finest methods to see the mountainous panorama, although, is by air, on an airplane or helicopter tour.

John Day Fossil Beds Nationwide Monument

About two hours northeast of Bend are the John Day Fossil Beds. This nationwide monument is a file of 40 million years of historical past packed in colourful rock. These distinctive formations include animal and plant fossils, plus geological proof of previous climates and ecosystems.

The monument has three models: Sheep Rock, Painted Hills, and Clarno. Every has its personal distinctive options and mountain climbing trails for an immersive expertise. They’re round 1-2 hours away from one another, so make this a multiday cease to get the total expertise!

Additionally, via displays and a working lab on the customer heart, you’ll be able to find out about and work together with Oregon’s pure evolution. 

Mt. Hood

Drive about 2.5 hours west and you’ll go to Mt. Hood, Oregon’s tallest mountain. See it and lots of lovely waterfalls alongside the Columbia River Gorge by doing a part of the Mount Hood Scenic Loop, which connects Portland, Hood River (referred to as the windsurfing capital of the world), and the Mount Hood Nationwide Forest.

There may be a lot to do within the space, which has the nation’s longest ski season and lots of trails for mountain biking and mountain climbing.

Silver Falls State Park

After Mt. Hood, head about two hours southwest to Silver Falls State Park, one of the famend locations in the entire state. And with so many waterfalls packed into greater than 9,000 acres of land, it’s simple to see why. Listed here are a number of of the hikes you’ll be able to traverse to entry the waterfalls:

  • Maple Ridge Loop (2.6 miles) – This quick hike begins above the 177-foot South Falls and continues till the Decrease South Falls. You’ll be able to stroll a one-mile model of this loop by turning again on the backside of South Falls.
  • Winter Falls Loop (5 miles) – This loop provides you entry to seven falls, together with Double Falls, Drake Falls, and Center North Falls.
  • Path of Ten Falls (7.2 miles) – As that is the longest of the three loops, you’ll see a number of the finest waterfalls the state has to supply by strolling this one! The 7.2-mile loop takes you previous 10 waterfalls and is usually unpaved. It’s a average hike standard with vacationers, with round 800 toes of elevation.

Cape Kiwanda

Now that you just’ve loved loads of what inland Oregon has to supply, head about 2 hours west to see what the coast’s all about. On the northern coast, you’ll find Cape Kiwanda, part of the Three Capes Scenic Loop. This cape is most identified for its wonderful year-round waves, but it surely additionally presents mountain climbing trails, ample area for dangle gliding, and locations to eat and drink. 

Cannon Seashore

In case your supreme Oregon street journey features a picturesque sundown on the seaside, Cannon Seashore is a must-see, about an hour and a half up the coast from Cape Kiwanda. You’ll be able to simply spend a few days right here visiting any of the 4 state parks close to the seaside. You’ll even have simply pretty much as good of a time stress-free on the seaside and admiring the surroundings. When you’re right here, be sure you go to the 235-foot Haystack Rock, one of many state’s most outstanding landmarks.


For a glance right into a previous, you solely must journey half-hour from Cannon Seashore to Astoria, the oldest metropolis in Oregon. Discover the historic riverfront by using the Historic Trolley or by strolling alongside the Astoria River Path. Because the backdrop for The Goonies, motion pictures are part of the town’s tradition, so discover movies made in Oregon by visiting the Oregon Movie Museum. Historic downtown Astoria additionally presents a lot to do, with breweries, native eating places, and impartial outlets for a traditional small-town coastal expertise.

One factor you positively don’t wish to miss is the Astoria Bridge, which is the continent’s longest steady truss bridge!


For the ultimate cease, drive round 2 hours alongside the Washington/Oregon border to get to Portland. Whereas Salem is Oregon’s political capital, Portland stakes its declare because the hipster capital of the Pacific Northwest. Contemplating the town’s motto is “Maintain Portland bizarre,” you might be certain to seek out many distinctive and thrilling issues to do on the town.

Websites like the town’s Japanese Backyard and Chinese language Backyard are nice in the event you nonetheless desire a style of nature in the midst of the hustle and bustle of metropolis life. Listed here are a number of different concepts to your Portland itinerary:

  • Powell’s Books – This bookstore is heaven for voracious reader, because it’s the biggest impartial bookstore on the earth.
  • The Grotto – This Catholic outside shrine is positioned in northeast Portland and contains a selection statues, in addition to a botanical backyard.
  • Bridges – Portland is house to 12 bridges, every with a particular look. If in case you have the time to marvel at a number of the metropolis’s city creations, try the Hawthorne Bridge, Fremont Bridge, or Tilikum Crossing (which is the biggest car-free bridge within the nation.)

A novel strategy to see the town is thru Portland’s 4T path (which stands for path, tram, trolley, and practice.) Although this self-guided path is about 4.5 miles lengthy and will be troublesome to navigate, it provides you with a self-guided metropolis expertise like no different. In the event you actually wish to discover the character of the realm, a brief 30-minute drive from the town will take you to Multnomah Falls, the place you’ll be able to see the great thing about nature by marveling on the 611-foot waterfall; trails and vantage factors will full your expertise.

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As you’ll be able to see from this itinerary, Oregon isn’t a one-stop state! There may be tons to see, so positively carve out time for this particular a part of the nation. Is there a must-see location in Oregon? Let me know!

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