Glad to hear you’re focusing some of your visit on Crater Lake National Park. It’s perhaps Oregon’s most unique feature and an attraction I routinely recommend.
June still isn’t considered high season for visiting Crater Lake, but your chances will start rapidly improving for seeing more of the park. While there likely will still be some snow on the ground, and lake visibility could be affected by weather, more of the trails will be accessible. Last year, the park’s north entrance and most facilities opened in mid-June, but the year before that, it wasn’t until the end of the month.
Because Crater Lake is at 6,000 feet above sea level, snow has been known to fly in midsummer, and conditions can change in a flash. Be sure to pack a weatherproof jacket and shoes, long pants and a hat and gloves for the time of year you plant to visit. The only way to know what the current conditions are at the park is by checking its website http://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/current-conditions.htm
The top 10 attractions I would recommend include (north to south):
Seaside’s automobile turnaround and oceanfront promenade, famous landmarks dating from the 1920s.
Three Capes Scenic Drive southwest of Tillamook (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda).
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport (lighthouse, views, bird watching and beautiful tidepool area).
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area (rainforest hiking trails, views of dramatic coastline formations like Spouting Horn, Devil’s Churn, Cook’s Chasm and Thor’s Well).
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Honeyman State Park and Oregon Dunes Overlook near Florence or hike the John Dellenback Trail south of Reedsport).
Cape Arago (three spectacular State Parks southwest of Coos Bay).
Beach Loop Drive in Bandon (beautiful beach with many rock formations at the edge of the shore).
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor (lots of viewpoints and beaches south of Gold Beach).
Hope this helps and happy exploring!
Greetings from Southern Oregon.
Many attractions in this region depend on the season and how active visitors are. The Grants Pass area is renowned as the gateway to the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River. As such, it is a destination for whitewater rafting and fishing. For those who prefer to see the river from a motorized craft, there is Hellgate Jetboat Excursions.
Grants Pass also is very near Oregon Caves National Monument, the state’s oldest and one of the region’s top attractions. The city’s downtown is popular with antique collectors, and there are lots of wine-tasting opportunities in the nearby Applegate Valley, as well as a Saturday farmers market downtown.
Wildlife Images in Merlin and the Bear Hotel Artworks Museum are popular with kids and adults alike. Here are recent stories from the Mail Tribune’s Joy magazine about those attractions: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101020/JOY/10200347&cid=sitesearch and
Just south of Grants Pass in Gold Hill is the offbeat and quirky Oregon Vortex House of Mystery. Here’s another story about that: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120415/OURVALLEY/204150329&cid=sitesearch
Medford is the headquarters of Harry & David and home to its Country Village. The city of Jacksonville, just west of Medford, is an Old West-style town designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Most tourists come to this area for activities in Ashland, which has the region’s highest concentration of art galleries, live music, restaurants and the popular Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oregon Cabaret Theater. The city’s beloved Lithia Park, which extends for miles into woodland above downtown should not be missed.
Thanks for the question! Waldo Lake is a true Oregon gem. The Willamette National Forest does an excellent job maintaining the webpages for this area (http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/willamette/recarea/?recid=4528). Their interactive map will give you the overview. Shadow Bay, Islet, and North Waldo are developed campgrounds with pit toilets and drinking water. There really aren’t bad places to camp around this lake, it’s all very natural, quiet, and close to the water. I’m sure you are aware that mosquitoes are quite prevalent in early summer. Late July is a great month to camp and enjoy the clarity of the water.
There are numerous trails in the Waldo Lake Wilderness, including the Pacific Crest Trail on the east side of the lake. Trails to Bobby Lake, Betty Lake and Fuji Mountain are some of the favorites in the area. A great local resource in Oakridge is the Willamette Mountain Mercantile. The local staff hikes, bikes, and camps in the area and all are very knowledgeable about trails and conditions.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions I can answer.
Hello! Lucky you, there are some beautiful places near Bend to ride horses! Here are my top faves:
Greetings from Southern Oregon,
Our outdoors writers always tout that the Pacific Crest Trail runs through our region, through the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Soda Mountain Wilderness and Sky Lakes Wilderness. Of course, those areas are most popular for longer, overnight treks.
If you want a relatively easy day hike, consider locals’ favorite, the Table Rocks. While the trail to the top of these mesas cuts through the region’s typical, oak-savannah flora, the view from the top of these distinctive geographic and geologic features is unsurpassed: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111023/READERSCHOICE/110230356.
There also are popular trail systems through the Jacksonville Woodlands and Ashland’s Lithia Park. For more on the region’s hiking trails, check out the landing page on the Mail Tribune newspaper’s Oregon Outdoors site: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=OREGONOUTDOORS01&keyword=Hiking
Enjoy your trip.
Just south of Portland, you can exit the main freeway and get on to 99W. I would suggest you do this and then sit back and enjoy the ride! You will be soon be entering the Willamette Valley and I will suggest some stops along your route.
One of the first stops should be McMinnville, Oregon where you will find a sweet town filled with shops, restaurants and wine! You will also find the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This is a great stop and depending on time, you could actually spend several hours there if you wish. From this area, you will be surrounded by our Willamette Valley wine country. If you are wine drinkers, you will most surely want to stop at many of our wineriess. We have hundreds so pace yourselves and enjoy! A few of my favorite stops for tasting are as follows: Adelsheim, Sokol Blosser, Cubanisimo, and Van Duzer.
If you plan to spend a few days traveling, you could certainly check out some B & B’s in wine country as well: www.obbg.org will give you a nice list and be sure to utilize the interactive map to find one to suit your specific area.
If you are into seeing some waterfalls, check out Silver Creek Falls along the way. You can choose to just sight see a bit or take an easy or difficult hike depending on what you want to do. Also a great place for a pic nic too! It’s not too far from Salem, OR however on the east side of I 5 but totally worth the stop!
From the area of Lane County, you will be heading south toward Ashland. You can choose when you’d like to jump on I-5 and make it to Central Point. There you will want to visit Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Chocolates.
And if you have time… you will not want to miss seeing our Crater Lake!
There would be many cities, towns and natural areas I would recommend along the 363-mile Oregon Coast for your September birthday trip. Since you like natural areas with unique geologic formations, I’d recommend a visit to the Central Oregon Coast. Newport is centrally located and is one of the coast’s larger towns, but will offer access to great natural areas and attractions nearby. Newport itself features the world-class Oregon Coast Aquarium, has nice beaches and an interesting bayfront area that is blend of working waterfront and tourist attractions. Just to the north is the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area featuring one of Oregon’s prettiest lighthouse in a spectacular setting at the end of the cape offering panoramic views and great wildlife and marine life watching. A stairway leads to one of the most beautiful and easily accessible tidepool areas on the coast. Just a little further north is Otter Rock, another headland overlooking a unique geologic formation called Devil’s Punchbowl. Also worth a visit to the north is Depoe Bay, the world’s smallest navigable harbor. The town is built right on the edge of the ocean with a seawall where spouting horns send geysers of water high into the air when the surf is up. There is a whale watching center here which is one of the most dependable locations to spot gray whales during the non-migratory times of year.
South of Newport, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area also offers access to great natural areas and viewing of unique geologic formations. Trails and roadside parking areas offer viewing of Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn, Thor’s Well and Cook’s Chasm, interesting geologic formations driven by the ocean waves. There is a great interpretive center here and hiking trails through old growth Sitka Spruce rainforest.
If you’d prefer to stay in a small town, you could consider Yachats (close to Cape Perpetua), which would make day trips possible to Newport’s attractions and other attractions to the south like Heceta Head (another beautiful lighthouse) and Sea Lion Caves, one of the coast’s longest running attractions with an elevator down to the world’s largest sea cave frequented by sea lions.
There would be other options for your trip in other regions of the coast too. On the
On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend the Cannon Beach area, home to Oregon’s iconic Haystack Rock, famous for tidepools and nesting seabirds. There are nearby State Parks that offer beach access and viewpoints of sea stack decorated shoreline. Ecola State Park is located in the north end of Cannon Beach and Oswald West State Park is located just about 10 minutes to the south. Cannon Beach is another charming beach town known as one of the coast’s more upscale destinations and one of the Northwest’s top art towns.