Oregon is a state that is often overlooked when people think of the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t have the same level of fame as its neighbors Washington and California, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less special. In fact, Oregon is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. From the rugged coastline to the stunning landscapes of the Cascade Mountains, there is so much to explore in the Beaver State.
One of the best ways to discover Oregon’s hidden gems is to take a road trip. The state is full of scenic byways that showcase some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. One of the most popular routes is the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, which runs along the entire length of the Oregon coast. This 363-mile route takes you through charming seaside towns, past towering cliffs, and alongside pristine beaches.
One of the highlights of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway is the town of Cannon Beach. This picturesque town is home to Haystack Rock, one of the most iconic landmarks on the Oregon coast. The towering basalt sea stack rises 235 feet above the beach and is home to a variety of seabirds, including puffins and cormorants. The beach itself is also a popular spot for surfing and kite flying.
Another must-see destination on the Oregon coast is Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. This 2,700-acre park is home to some of the most stunning views in the state, including the Thor’s Well, a natural wonder that appears to be a bottomless sinkhole. The park also has several hiking trails that take you through old-growth forests and along the rugged coastline.
As you head inland from the coast, you’ll come across the stunning landscapes of the Cascade Mountains. One of the best ways to explore this area is to drive the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. This 82-mile route takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state, including the Dee Wright Observatory. This unique structure is made entirely of lava rock and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Another hidden gem in the Cascade Mountains is the town of Sisters. This charming town is surrounded by towering peaks and has a vibrant arts scene. The town is also home to the Sisters Folk Festival, an annual event that showcases some of the best folk music in the country.
As you continue your journey through Oregon, be sure to stop in the city of Bend. This vibrant city is known for its outdoor recreation, including hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. It’s also home to several craft breweries and distilleries, making it a great destination for beer and spirits enthusiasts.
One of the most unique destinations in Oregon is the Painted Hills. This colorful landscape is part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and is made up of layers of brightly colored clay. The hills look as if they’ve been painted with a brush, hence the name. The colors change throughout the day, creating a constantly shifting landscape.
Finally, no trip to Oregon would be complete without a visit to Crater Lake National Park. This stunning park is home to the deepest lake in the United States and is surrounded by towering peaks. The water in the lake is an incredible shade of blue and is so clear that you can see down to depths of over 100 feet. It’s truly a sight to behold.
In conclusion, Oregon is a state that is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re exploring the stunning coastline, the rugged mountains, or the colorful Painted Hills, there is something for everyone in the Beaver State. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an unforgettable journey across Oregon.