A Guide to the 7 Wonders of Oregon
The 7 Wonders of Oregon were all on our bucket list of places to see in Oregon. Some are areas instead of a specific attraction, but all are amazing places to visit. We are continuously surprised with how diverse this state is and these 7 wonders of Oregon showcase it perfectly.
The Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is 363.1 miles of amazing views, rock formations and beaches. The following is a list of our favorite stops.
The Oregon Coast Highway will take you the entire coastline from California to Washington. Starting in the south and working our way north, these are our favorite spots or must see spots along the Oregon Coast.
- Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor – You will be rewarded with breathtaking views. Rock formations that you have never seen before and can’t be seen anywhere else in the United States.
- Dunes City – If you love to go a bit crazy on a dune buggy or four wheeler, this is your place. The sand dunes are perfect for this. Drive a little further up towards Florence and you get beautiful sandy beaches lined with sand dunes to run around.
- Thor’s Well – Also known as the Drainpipe, it’s literally a hole in a rock where the water explodes through and then slowly seeps out.
- Yachats is a cute little coastal town with a brewery and some great fare when you are hungry.
- Newport is on of the largest cities on the coast. Check out the seals in the harbor, the blackberries that grow along the sidewalks and the beautiful bridge you drive over. Rogue Brewery is here, there are RV parks and some of the best fresh crab you can get. Just before you get to Newport is South Beach, which is our favorite to let dogs just run around and be dogs. Just up the road is Yaquina Head Lighthouse for lighthouse enthusiasts.
- Pacific City could be our favorite coastal town. The brewery is right on the beach, they have a haystack rock to marvel at, there is a HUGE sand dune to run and play on and you can drive right up on the beach. Don’t be confused though, this is not the same haystack rock as in the goonies.
- Tillamook is fun to stop at the Creamery and take a tour or just go eat cheese and ice cream.
- Cannon Beach – This is where you can find the famous Haystack Rock from the Goonies.
- Astoria – This is the last town and spot on the Oregon coast before you get to Washington. It is a beautiful city on the coast with multiple breweries and a fun spot to walk around.
Mt. Hood is an active stratovolcano. It is Oregon’s highest mountain and one of the loftiest in the nation. This is the only mountain that offers year-round lift served skiing.
There is so much to do around this mountain all year round. Here are some of our favorites:
- Timberline Lodge – Made famous for being the exterior shots in the movie The Shining, it’s great any time of year. With hiking trails, skiing, hot tub and a decent restaurant on site, there is something to do here during every season.
- Tamanawas Falls – Easy hike to a beautiful waterfall.
- Clear Lake – A beautiful lake with picture perfect views on a clear day of Mt. Hood.
- White River West Sno Park – Good for a night to boondock, get views of Mt. Hood and play in the snow during the winter.
The Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is like no other place. Unfortunately it was victim of a careless fire in 2016. While most of the gorge is open to enjoy some of the most beautiful spots became too dangerous or destroyed because of that fire.
A few of our favorite spots:
- Multnomah Falls – This is the most popular spot along the gorge. It’s worth a stop, but better in the off season as parking fills up. We went during the summer and they had shuttles, but that was hectic in its own right. Definitely worth a stop.
- Hood River – One of our favorite towns in Oregon. Windsurfing capital of the US, you can sit for hours watching them, explore the sand areas (you can almost walk to Washington), eat at one of their local spots, enjoy a beer at any one of their numerous breweries and enjoy the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. It says highway but it’s a pedestrian/biking trail only. 12 miles of views and through canopy trees. It’s absolutely gorgeous in the fall.
- Oneonta Gorge – This is currently closed, but as it heals add it to the list to respectfully explore. The hike is in water, through a beautiful moss covered gorge to a waterfall.
- Latourell Falls – You can see if from the parking lot but there is also a hike if you feel like stretching your legs.
Oregon’s only National Park and we are lucky to have it. Formed by a collapsed volcano named Mount Mazama, it left an island known as Wizard Island.
The best place to start your exploration of Crater Lake is at Rim Village. You can get a map and an idea of all the activities that you can choose from. There are many hiking trails to choose from, a boat ride to Wizard Island and the Rim Drive that goes the entire way around the lake providing many vistas. The park has 3 restaurants and one general store and camping, but make sure that they are open because times change depending on weather and season. During the winter months multiple roads close and most of the entrances, leaving only one, so you can still enjoy a view of the lake if weather permits.
The Painted Hills – John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
The Painted Hills are a true gem in the state. Located in the center it is part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.
Originating 35 million years ago when the area was a river floodplain, the colors you see are from changes in climate the area went through. This area is very remote and so please practice Leave No Trace.
This mountain range is in north eastern Oregon. Most of the range is designated as the Eagle Cap Wilderness, which is part of the Wallowa-Whitman Nationla Forest. Known as the Alps of Oregon, some of the most beautiful alpine lakes and best hikes are here.
Most people come here to enjoy the backcountry camping because it gets you to some of the most amazing views of the mountains. The highest peak is Sacajawea Peak at 9,838. When we went we were only able to do a few day hikes, but they were still amazing, just be ready for distance or elevation or both!
- Maxwell Lake – This hike is only 8 miles RT but it packs a punch with 2,450′ in elevation gain. Your thighs will be screaming and your lungs tight from already being at 7,000′. The gorgeous alpine lake at the end is worth every step and if you are lucky, you may see some mountain goats. This trail starts at a campground down a long gravel road with multiple trailheads and campgrounds. No internet, so have it planned out and a map.
- Ice Lake – This is one of the most popular hikes in the area. Even at 15.5 miles and 3,356′ in elevation gain, you will always see another fellow hiker. This trailhead is the start to a lot of the major backcountry trails. Get there early or really late for a spot as it’s not really a parking lot but a dead end road close to town.
Make sure to follow our BLOG for a start to finish post about each of these hikes. Perfect for overnight camping or a day hike.
This small area is quite amazing to have in Central Oregon. Known most for almost any kind of rock climbing or bouldering, it is an outdoorsman’s oasis.
Misery Ridge is probably the most popular hike among locals and tourists. On a clear day you can see for miles. Hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, rock climbing of all sorts, bouldering, bird watchers and wild life seekers can all come to this one place. I prefer going on a hike and then watching the river otters play around. The parking is limited, so get there early if you are planning to spend the day. Otherwise, there is camping in the area.
After you reviewed these amazing places, you were probably wondering how a few places didn’t make the cut. Let me know what your spot is that should have made the cut in the comments below.
ALWAYS PRACTICE LEAVE NO TRACE
Make sure to follow along on our adventures!