I am officially going on record with declaring Oregon, the most beautiful state in all of the USA. My apologies to the people of Oregon for foolishly thinking the only place worth visiting is Portland, but I was wrong. After researching this great state, I discovered there were amazing waterfalls, massive lakes and miles, and miles of beautiful coastline. I decided to spend a few days driving around Oregon. I started from the top of the state and made my way south down the heart of Oregon and then worked my way back north to Portland via the coast. Here are some of my 10 “Must-sees” in Oregon in the order of my road trip.
WRECK OF THE PETER IREDALE
Located within Fort Stevens State Park, this vessel ran ashore on October 25, 1906, sailing from Salina Cruz, Mexico, to Portland, Oregon. The bow, mast, and some of the ribs that remain are worth visiting.
Peter Iredale Rd, Hammond, OR 97121- Fort Stevens State Park
Adjacent to Cannon Beach is the 235-foot rock formation prominently standing tall in the Pacific Ocean. You may have seen the rock in such films as “The Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop.” A great time to visit is around sunset.
US-101, Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Located just outside of Portland, this is the most visited waterfall in the U.S. Pacific North West. Legend has it from the Multnomah tribe (from whom the falls take their namesake), the waterfall was formed after a young woman sacrificed herself to the Great Spirit to save Multnomah village from a plague by jumping from the cliff, and the Multnomah people were saved. After her death, water began to flow from above the cliff, creating the waterfall.
HWY I-84 Exit 31, Oregon 97014
Considered one of the “7 Wonders of Oregon” behold colored hills in the heart of Oregon. The layers of reds, yellows, golds, and blacks in its soil change colors depending on the moisture and light and weather. There are multiple trails around the area offering views of different colored hills and valleys. The more famous trail (pictured) is Painted Cove Trail.
US-26, Oregon 97750- John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
I have only seen a few waterfalls in my travels, but this waterfall located in Willamette National Forest is the most beautiful of all. There are two waterfalls Lower Proxy Falls standing at 226 feet with Upper Proxy Falls being the other. Access starts off Highway 242 with an easy 1.6-mile hike. After a quarter of a mile, you will come upon Lower Proxy falls. You can then proceed to Upper Proxy Falls and loop around back to the trailhead.
OR-242, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413
My decision to take a trip to Oregon was based on a picture I saw of a lake with incredibly blue water. I honestly thought it wasn’t real, but once I did my research, I discovered it was indeed real and located in the U.S. The lake was formed 7,700 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. You can drive the 33 mile Rim Drive around the park to get stunning views of the lake from different viewpoints.
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, OREGON 97604| Entrance fee $25 per vehichle
If you’re in the southern part of Oregon, head over to the coast and work your way north. The first stop is the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, which consists of 12 miles of fantastic coastline. There are a few natural bridge signs, but to see this one, you need to pull into the parking area at mile 346 on HWY 101. The Pacific Coast Trail runs along the parking lot. If you are facing the ocean, take the trail to your right, at the fork in the road veer towards your right and continue to veer right at any forks, you come upon. You will then be at the bridge, and if you are brave enough, you can walk across the bridge. The trail is very steep and slippery, so always be cautious. The other option is to head left when facing the parking lot and there are steps that will lead you to a viewing platform.
U.S. 101, Brookings, OR 97415- Mile marker 346
NATURAL BRIDGE (TINY HUMAN)
If you make your way down to the Natural Bridge (directions above), walk to the far end of the bridge area, and you will get a perfect view of another natural bridge that is equally beautiful.
U.S. 101, Brookings, OR 97415- Mile marker 346
Located 50 miles up the Oregon coast from the Natural Bridges in Brandon, Oregon, you will find a natural rock formation that resembles…. a wizard hat.
1490 11th Street Southwest, Bandon, OR 97411
I never imagined one of the coolest things I’ve seen would be a big natural hole in the ocean. Finishing my road trip along the Oregon Coast near Cape Perpetua, you will find this fantastic natural wonder that appears to be draining water from the sea. Some researchers believe the well started as a sea cave dug out by ocean waves before the roof eventually collapsed and created the massive opening.
US-101, Yachats, OR 97498
Roadtrips, in my opinion, are underrated but are such a great way to see the country. I spent five days in Oregon alone experiencing all of these fantastic natural points of interest, and all of them were free except for Crater Lake. Vacations can be very affordable and won’t always break the bank with just the right planning and research. My original plan was to mostly hang out in Portland and drive to see three points of interest. After researching Oregon, I discovered all these other locations that I never knew existed, pulled up google maps, and made myself an itinerary. I logged in over 1200 miles on this trip, and every moment was worth it.