Things to Do in Oregon - page 2
Set alongside the beautiful Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the Deschutes National Forest is a scenic natural forest and recreation area in central Oregon. The alpine and evergreen forest, lakes, and streams draw those interested in hiking, fly fishing, hunting, river-rafting, mountain biking, camping, and more. An extensive amount of nature trails provide many options to explore the outdoors. The green trees, clean water, and fresh air abound here. In the winter months skiing and snowboarding are popular in the mountains. The five designated wilderness areas, including six Wild and Scenic Rivers, each offer something different. Meadows, caves, and even desert areas are also a part of this diverse landscape. Camping is available during the warmer months of the year at over 125 developed campsites. Overall the forest covers around 1.7 million acres of land, so there’s much to explore.
Driving around the bend from Portland, the first view many see of the Columbia River Gorge is from the corner of land called Crown Point. The outlook provides an overview of the dramatic scenery and surrounding canyon. On a clear day there is a panoramic view of the heavily forested area, the mountains, and the Columbia River. The point itself is an enormous rock formation that was caused by multiple lava flows, which once altered the course of the river. Looking to the west, you can see Rooster Rock, another well-loved rock formation that slopes down into the canyon.
With the Vista House constructed on Crown Point at the same time the highway was being formed, it remains one of the best loved visitor stops on the historic Columbia River Gorge Highway and is considered the gateway to the area. Crown Point was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. It remains a popular stop for both views and refreshments.
Roughly 30 miles east of Portland along the Columbia River Gorge is one of Oregon's iconic symbols – Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state. The water actually falls in two stages, so there are technically two waterfalls.
There's a small bridge – the Benson Footbridge – that spans the top of the second waterfall, and offers an excellent view of the taller of the two waterfalls. There are lots of great hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge, and some start nearby – including the Mark O. Hatfield Memorial Trail.
At the base of the falls is the Multnomah Falls Lodge, which has a restaurant, some snack vendors, and visitor facilities. The Multnomah Falls Lodge (built in 1915) and footpath are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Forty miles east of Portland, the Bonneville Lock and Dam spans the Columbia River, providing electricity and flood control, as well as creating recreational areas.
The dam was started in 1934, replacing locks and a canal built in 1896, as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal construction projects. It was completed three years later, with a second powerhouse added in 1974. The dam produces an enormous amount of hydroelectric power – more than 1,180 megawatts between the two powerhouses.
The Bonneville Reservoir was created behind the dam, and is a popular spot for summer activities like boating and swimming. Fish ladders installed at the dam are intended to help salmon, steelhead, and other native fish navigate past the dam in order to spawn upstream – and that journey is also a tourist attraction during spawning season. There are “fish cams” you can see on the dam's website, and large viewing windows at the dam itself.
About 16 miles east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge stretches from Troutdale to Biggs on the Oregon side, and from Vancouver to Maryhill on the Washington side. An 80-mile canyon ranging from sea level to 4,000 feet, this National Scenic Area separates the two states in a wide, rocky and leafy ribbon which runs between the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains.
In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition used the Columbia and its craggy banks to reach the Pacific; these days, two smoothly-paved highways on the Oregon side would greatly simplify the explorers' epic journey. Interstate-84 parallels the achingly wide, cornflower-blue Columbia, wending past dense, dark forests and jagged, lavender-grey mountains. Beside the Columbia River Highway (which runs adjacent to I-84 from Troutdale to Dodson), the Gorge is webbed with hiking trails and more than 90 waterfalls, including the 620-foot-high Multnomah Falls.
Located about 50 miles (81 kilometers) outside of Portland, Mt. Hood sits majestically at 11,249 feet (3,429 meters), making it the highest mountain in Oregon. As it is a dormant volcano you’ll constantly see steam rising from its fumaroles, adding to the serenity of the scene.
Mt. Hood offers a range of experiences, like hiking, fishing, camping and skiing. Of Mt. Hood’s five ski lodges, the most famous is the Timberline Lodge, a designated National Historic Landmark that’s home to the only year-round ski season in North America. Additionally, there are over 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) of hiking trails in the Mt. Hood National Forest, with options from beginner to expert and chances to see waterfalls, lakes, woodland and wildlife.
For true adventure-seekers, Mt. Hood is the second-most climbed mountain in the world with over 10,000 climbers each year, and mixes thrills with natural beauty.
Cannon Beach is a small town on the Oregon coast, but it's got a big reputation. And yes, there's an actual cannon.
Part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition visited what became Cannon Beach in 1805-1806, and a settlement called Elk Creek grew there in the mid-1800s. In 1922, the community was renamed Cannon Beach after a U.S. Navy ship's cannon that had washed up on the shore in 1846. The actual cannon is on display in a city museum, with a replica perched near the coastal highway.
Today, Cannon Beach is known for its art galleries, fine restaurants, boutique hotels, and beautiful beaches. The iconic Haystack Rock – a National Wildlife Refuge – juts out of the ocean very close to shore, and at low tide the tide pools around its base are otherworldly. Nearby, Ecola State Park offers spectacular hiking and views overlooking the Pacific.
More Things to Do in Oregon
Oregon’s Columbia River Highway was the first scenic road in America to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. It is particularly noted for its colorful displays of fall foliage and its many waterfalls year-round. The route allows for access to the Columbia River Gorge, which cuts more than 4,000 feet deep into the Cascade Mountain Range. Rich in both animal and plant life, the area along the road is home to more than 100 rare species, some that only exist in the gorge. Various hiking trails dotted throughout offer access to otherwise hidden waterfalls and views.
The highway was modeled after the scenic roads of Europe and has been long recognized for its excellence in engineering and design. Most of all the road is a path leading into some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. Outside of its wide vistas and expansive overlooks, hiking, biking, fishing, and sailing are all popular activities to immerse yourself in the surrounding nature.
The Mt. Hood National Forest covers more than one million acres, including lakes, wilderness areas, mountains, and of course – a vast forest.
First established in 1892 as the Bull Run Forest Reserve, the area was expanded and eventually the name was changed to its current Mt. Hood National Forest in 1924. The forest area extends into six different Oregon counties, is managed by four district offices, has eight designated wilderness areas, and includes 170 recreation sites. Visitors can go hiking, mountain biking, boating, fishing, hunting, camping, mountain climbing, skiing, and horseback riding in the National Forest, among other things. Part of the Pacific Crest Trail crosses into the National Forest. The towering peak of Mt. Hood – the tallest point in the state – sits in the northern part of the National Forest, and Timberline Lodge has year-round skiing. The forest area stretches from the Columbia River Gorge south about 60 miles through the Willamette Valley.
Things to do near Oregon
- Things to do in Portland
- Things to do in Washington
- Things to do in British Columbia
- Things to do in Nevada
- Things to do in Seattle
- Things to do in Victoria
- Things to do in Vancouver
- Things to do in Sunshine Coast
- Things to do in Vancouver Island
- Things to do in Alberta
- Things to do in Wyoming
- Things to do in California
- Things to do in Utah
- Things to do in Arizona
- Things to do in Baja California