Ask Oregon Questions & Answers

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Where can I hike to a view of all the mountains?

Off the top of my head, I believe the trail you’re referring to is the Larch Mountain trail in the Gorge. From the top on a clear day you can see Mt. Shasta, the Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.

Larch Mountain has 3 trailheads. The first is at Multnomah Falls. The second is about half way up the road, where the gate usually is locked during the winter season, or (!) you can just drive up to the landing .25 miles from the top. My personal preference is starting from the bottom and earning the view, but if you’re in a hurry to catch a sweet sunset with friends, I’d just drive up.

Another one you might be thinking of is Mount Defiance. But the views there aren’t nearly as epic from the summit.

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Which Central Coast town is best for secluded beaches and a laid-back vibe?

Consider Yachats as your destination. I think it fits your description and desires better than any town on the Central Oregon Coast. It’s a popular destination, but it’s definitely quieter than North Coast destinations like Seaside or Cannon Beach in mid-September. It’s just outside of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area where you will find more secluded beaches and some of the best hiking on all of the Oregon Coast.

You will find a reasonable gentle hike between Cook’s Chasm (Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well) and Devil’s Churn or you can just explore the paved trails that extend from either the Cook’s Chasm and Devil’s Churn waysides. There are also a variety of rainforest trails including some shorter interpretive nature trails. A visit to Heceta Head Lighthouse, a little further south in Florence, is also a must and the short walk from the State Park to the lighthouse is beautiful. You could easily explore as far south as Florence and the Oregon Dunes, where Honeyman State Park makes an easy stop and offers nature trails around Cleawox Lake.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on September 19th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where can we play golf and go wine tasting?

In the state of Oregon, the Willamette Valley is most prevalent with wines (as you probably already know) but too has some pockets of good golf to enjoy.

If you focus on southern Willamette Valley area, Eugene has its fair share of wineries and a few public access courses worth checking out; my two favorites are:

  • Emerald Valley Golf is the home for the Oregon Ducks golf team, and depending on the time of year, it can be in great shape to play — plus it’s not a hard course at all.
  • River Ridge is a family-owned course with 18 holes and a par 3 nine-hole track too. This place is really special in that it reflect the old days of golf course ownership. I think you’ll like its home-spun feel

If you wine taste down by the Medford area, there are several great golf courses to try. For sure play Centennial Golf Course — it has a John Fought design and is really pretty right in the heart of Medford.

If you end up staying in Portland and driving to the wineries near the city, then Pumpkin Ridge and The Reserve are two very find golf facilities, both with two 18-hole courses.

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on September 15th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What are the must-do trails south of Bend?

Definitely check out the Green Lakes Trail on Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. It’s popular, but for a good reason — it’s a very scenic and a great trail. The more ambitious climb would be South Sister, an accessible but challenging hike. In Newberry, don’t miss the Obsidian Trail. There’s also a short hike to the Paulina Creek Waterfall. Have a great time!

Are there hiking trails between wineries in the Willamette Valley?

There are several wineries south of Eugene that border each other — King Estate and Iris Vineyards are backdoor neighbors, and Chateau Lorane is also very close. I have heard anecdotally that you can walk from King Estate to Iris, and last year there was a 5K/10K trail run in the area that took the racers to all three wineries. However, I do not believe that it is an officially designated or marked trail. My suggestion would be to stop in at Iris or King Estate and ask the tasting room staff.

If you’re not looking for a hiking trail, per se, but just a beautiful route, you should definitely check out some of the routes in the Eugene area and South Willamette Valley. You can find maps and directions to guide you on scenic drives or bike rides that go from winery to winery. You could also walk these routes if you choose, but they are on roads, not hiking trails.

If you are really interested in the wine-hiking (aka “wiking!”) experience, here are a few vineyards in the Willamette Valley with hiking trails:

  • Sokol Blosser, just outside Dundee: they have a guided vineyard hike you can sign up for.
  • Winter’s Hill Vineyard, Dundee Hills: They’re an official stop on the Willamette Valley Birding Trail, and they have a native oak savannah you can hike through.
  • Left Coast Cellars, Eola-Amity Hills, just west of Salem: They invented the term “wiking” and have a great map of trails through their property.
  • Eola Hills Legacy Estate vineyard: this is just a few minutes from Left Coast and in a very pretty location.
  • Tyee Wine Cellars, Corvallis: This small vineyard is on land that’s been owned by the same family for more than 100 years. Their hiking trail takes you through native wetlands, farmland, and hazelnut orchards all on their family property.
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Are dogs allowed on Oregon Coast beaches?

In general, most of Oregon’s beaches allow dogs. Some beaches within local enforcement areas may require that dogs be leashed and there are a few beaches that do not allow dogs or require leashes to protect wildlife. Inter-tidal areas designated as Marine Gardens by the State of Oregon require that dogs be leashed and a few beaches do not allow dogs during the Snowy Plover nesting season March 15 to September 15.

Generally speaking, off-leash dogs are tolerated on most beaches as long as under “direct control” of the owner. This means the dog’s handler must remain within sight of the dog and the dog must respond to voice commands. Other common sense rules apply to dogs on beaches according to state law. Handlers must prevent their animals from harassing people, wildlife and other domestic animals; and you are responsible for the removal of the animal’s waste while in the ocean shore state recreation area. Owners are required to carry a leash and leash their dog at the request of authorities, including Oregon State Parks personnel. If your dog is well behaved, does not approach other people or dogs, does not chase birds, approach wildlife or other domestic animals, you can enjoy most Oregon beaches off-leash with your dog.

I almost always travel the coast with my girl Gracie and we not only enjoy the beaches, but find many dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor dining areas and dog-related or dog-friendly businesses. There can’t be a better destination for dogs than the Oregon Coast.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on September 2nd, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Is there RV camping at Crater Lake?

Yes, you can RV camp below the rim at Crater Lake at Mazama Village Campground, the only RV camping in Crater Lake National Park. You can make reservations in advance online or by phone, but only for a limited number of RV sites. However, there are a number of first come, first served sites as well.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on August 31st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What hikes near La Grande do you suggest?

The city of La Grande is home to a lot of great hikes, including the Mount Emily Recreation Area (MERA). At 3,669 acres, MERA is one of the most elite trail systems in Eastern Oregon — plus it’s only two miles from downtown La Grande.

If you have a day to spare, I highly recommend traveling a little more east to Wallowa Lake, just four miles past the town of Joseph. It’s a beautiful part of Oregon that I encourage everyone to go check out. The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has great day hiking areas.

 

Answered by Emily Palmer, Ask Oregon Eastern Oregon Expert on August 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Are there hiking trails all the way around Foster Lake?

You happened to ask a good person — I grew up near Foster Lake and my family used to walk on the shoreline trail every evening! The walking trails at Foster Lake are great, and there are lots of places where you can walk right up to the lake shore and dip your toes in the water. However, they do not extend all the way around the reservoir.

The north shore trail begins at Lewis Creek County Park, which is located off of North River Drive.

On the south shore, the walking trail begins at Shea Point (just off Highway 20, across from the spot where Riggs Hill Road intersects with Highway 20) and extends up to the far edge of the dam.

If you visit the Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce website and scroll to the bottom of their list of local trails, you’ll find a good description of both the North Shore and South Shore trails.

If you visit Foster, stop and get a bite at the Point Restaurant. It’s right across from the South Shore trail and has good food plus beautiful lake views. It’s especially known for its homemade pies — yum!

How can I see the Oregon Coast on a budget?

Oregon State Parks offer access to some of the most remarkable scenic views and natural areas on the Oregon Coast. Many of the Oregon Coast’s State Parks do not require day-use fees and of those, my favorites are Cape Meares, Seal Rock and Cape Arago.

Those with day use fees that I would not hesitate to pay even for a brief visit include Ecola State Park, Heceta Head Lighthouse State Park and Shore Acres State Park. Likewise, the day use fee for entrance to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is also well worth it. On a related note, the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport covers day use fees for all Oregon State Parks, BLM sites (Yaquina Head), Forest Service managed natural areas including the Oregon Dunes and Cape Perpetua; and National Park sites (Fort Clatsop near Astoria) on the Oregon Coast.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on August 22nd, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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