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Visiting Oregon on Your Next Road Trip
Oregon is truly a national treasure. Don’t believe me? Just ask them and they’ll tell you the same thing. But seriously, the Beaver State is good for hundreds of miles of the Pacific Coast. The interior of the state isn’t too shabby, either, boasting pristine waterways, the Cascade Mountains, canyons, and even a little bit of desert thrown in.
A great place to start is the state's most famous natural wonder, Crater Lake National Park, located in the southern region of the state. At nearly 2,000 feet deep, Crater Lake is the country's deepest lake and – unofficially - the bluest. We’re talking a deep, penetrating blue here, a color you won’t soon forget if you’re wise enough to schedule a stopover here. Where does this radiant color come from? I don’t know, but I think it has something to do with the way it was formed eons ago when a volcano blew its top leaving an immense crater to eventually be filled with rain water and melted snow. In any event, take the rim-wide driving tour, hike or snowshoe the paths (depending on season, of course), or take a boat ride on the lake itself. You won’t be disappointed.
When on Oregon’s southern coast be sure to visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, with its majestic dunes rivaling those found in California's Death Valley; some are even larger than ones found in Africa's Sahara Desert. We’re talking more than 500 feet high. The Dunes also feature unprecedented solitude as well as a wide array of vegetation and wildlife. If you do intend to visit the area, remember this - the hills are alive and always on the move, thanks to Mother Nature's gusts. Dress for wind conditions and watch your footing.
Just north in Florence is Sea Lion Caves, the largest sea cave in the world – featuring a wave-cut passage that’s 1,315 feet long. A trail leads to a viewing point where visitors can see the frolicking antics of these awesome creatures.
The Columbia River Gorge plays host to some of the most breathtaking views in all the Pacific Northwest. After thousands of years, the Columbia River now winds its way through the Cascade Mountains and flirts with the northern edges of Mount Hood. Superb fishing, too.
Scenic Highway 30 takes you through this wonderland rich with lush terrain, cascading waterfalls, and miles and miles of hiking trails. Aren’t you glad you decided to take a look-see? Stop by the Vista House at Crown Point and you'll be rewarded with a nice long look at the gorge. Nearby Crown Point is waterfall country, with 11 located within just a few miles of each other. (But who’s counting?) The big attraction of this area is Multnomah Falls, which drops 620 feet, making it the fourth highest waterfall in the United States.
If you continue through the gorge, about 60 miles south of Portland you'll find the awe-inspiring Mt. Hood towering at 11,235 feet. This extinct volcano still possesses active steam vents and is the largest peak in the Oregon's Cascade Mountains. Mt. Hood is home to an abundance of outdoor activities, and during the winter months, the area has emerged as a skier’s paradise.
Widespread parts of central Oregon have retained their "frontier days" feel. This remote landscape is windswept and rocky, a far cry from the lush, green landscape of the western part of the state. The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument offers some of the area’s best hiking, where oftentimes you can go miles without even seeing another soul. This 14,000-acre park was once a hotbed of paleontological activity around the turn of nineteenth century. Many of the specimens removed from this area are still being researched in museums today as scientists try to put pieces together of how this variable wasteland was once part of a sea floor. Although collecting fossil material is no longer permitted in the park, John Day Fossil Beds provides an outstanding firsthand look into our natural history. The Sheep Rock Visitor's Center is a great place to start and get educated about this unique area.
Oregon’s northeastern portion brings you back into the heady terrain, complete with snow-capped mountains and deep valleys shaped by rushing rivers. Often overlooked as more of an "in-between" area before hitting Oregon's more popular natural wonders, the northeast corridor is an outdoor enthusiast's playground. Not for the faint of heart, but for the adventuresome, the Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area offers up more than 650,000 acres, split up by the Snake River. While float and rafting trips are available, this part of the Snake River is sometimes very treacherous and not for amateurs. This waterway was designated a Wild and Scenic River for good reasons. But if you don't care to get your feet wet, the scenery is inviting enough. This dramatic canyon runs for nearly 40 miles with depths averaging around 5,500 feet. The canyon rim averages less that 10 miles across, making Hell’s Canyon an intimidating, yet unique adventure.
Article Courtesy of Woodall's Campground Directory where you can find Oregon campgrounds and Oregon RV camping resorts at the turn of a page. Browse