Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
A free permit is required from the Forest Service, even if you are only planning on harvesting a small amount for your personal use. My best advice is to ask the rangers when you stop in the Ranger Station to get your permit. I usually go to the Zig Zag Ranger station to do this. All that is required is a valid photo ID.
Be aware that there are some areas off limits to picking, as they are reserved to Warm Springs tribal members due to treaty rights. These areas are generally well marked. The rangers can also help you with this, and even provide maps.
If you aren’t interested in picking, there is generally a stand in the parking lot next to Charburger in Cascade Locks that sells them during the season. You may also be interested in the Mount Hood Huckleberry Festival.
However, my favorite place to find huckleberries is in one of the famous milkshakes from the Huckleberry Inn in Government Camp.
|Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge|
Some of my favorite day hikes around Grants Pass are along Southern Oregon rivers and connected to mountain bike paths. Below are my top three.
Cathedral Hills Trail System:
Illinois River Trail:
Rainie Falls Trail:
Enjoy hiking near Grants Pass!
Obviously beach activities like beachcombing, kite flying and building sandcastles tops the list, but there are some other attractions and day trips that I would recommend. Depending on your kids’ ages, the Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio offers an opportunity for capable youngsters to create their own piece of art glass. Chinook Winds Casino Resort has an arcade and there is a kids’ park with kayaking and bumper boats on Devils Lake. I would highly recommend a couple of short day trips as well. Depoe Bay has a Whale Watching Center that is the most dependable place to spot gray whales, even during non-migratory times. The small town shops are also fun to explore. A trip to Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a can’t miss for kids and adults of any age. It’s a great place to spend at least two hours. The Newport bayfront is also a good place for kids with family attractions, dining and shopping. You are likely to see blubbery sea lions lounging and barking from the bay front docks. A trip south to Pacific City is also a possibility. The kids can climb the giant sand dune on the flank of Cape Kiwanda.
Hands down, the best and most comprehensive hot springs option in Southern Oregon is Jackson Hot Springs in Ashland. This historic hotel and hot springs is now a wellness and eco-resort, called Jackson Wellsprings. On site, guests can enjoy an olympic sized pool, soaking pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and private pools. The entire resort has a beautiful garden setting, and overnight lodging is available (though not required to ‘partake of the water’). Enjoy!
Thanks for the question! There are some very easy-to-follow routes for waterfall lovers. I recommend you either order a free copy of the Oregon Scenic Byways magazine or view it online as it really outlines the routes with beautiful pictures. As far as the time of year, there will be more water at other times of the year (winter, spring) however in August there is still more than plenty of water for the waterfalls.
From North to South
I-84 and the Columbia River Gorge: This is the iconic waterfall route in Oregon that includes Multnomah Falls (the states tallest). The waterfalls in this area are breathtaking and also easy to access from the road. They tend to be more crowded given the proximity to Portland.
Silver Falls: Given the short distance of the Columbia River Gorge, I suggest visiting the falls and then backtracking. If you love farm land, make your way south through Mollala and Silverton to Silver Falls State Park. This might be one of the best places to visit for waterfalls and hiking. It’s just beautiful here.
Highway 126 – Florence to Sisters: Sweet Creek Falls is one of my favorite waterfall hikes is near Florence and the Oregon Coast. The numerous falls parallel the trail and in the summer months the water is warm enough to wade into. If you continue inland along Hwy 126 you pass Eugene and head into the McKenzie River Valley. About an hour and a half drive from Eugene, you will arrive at Sahalie and Koosah Falls, two beautiful falls that are along the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail. You can park at either waterfall and hike in a loop to see both.
Bend: Highway 126 east links up with Highway 20 which heads into Central Oregon and leads you towards Bend. There are some beautiful falls in Bend, including Tumalo Falls. From here you can head south along Highway 97 to Highway 138 west. Highway 138 offers access to the north entrance of Crater Lake (this entrance is only open in the summer months) and parallels the wild and scenic North Umpqua River. One of the highlights of the waterfalls on this route is Toketee Falls. There isn’t much of a hike to get to this waterfall, but there are other waterfalls along Highway 138 with some more hiking. If you want to hike here, I recommend seeing the falls and then cross the road to hike along the North Umpqua Trail (just watch out for poison oak, which is extremely thick in this area).
I hope this helps you plan a great trip. Let me know if I can offer any more suggestions.
We are staying in Klamath Falls at the end of April. What are some fun day trips we can take from here?
Oh, wow, you are in for a treat! Klamath Falls is a beautiful area with lots to see.
If you are up for a two hour drive north, you’ll catch awesome views of the Cascade Mountains along the way and end up in Bend, the biggest city in Central and Eastern Oregon, where culture, dining, and lots more recreation abounds. Hit the High Desert Museum while you’re up north.
Drive just over 60 miles west of Klamath Falls and end up in Ashland, home of the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival and more great dining, culture and wonderful outdoor opportunities. Absolutely don’t miss the opportunity to drive up to Crater Lake; you’ll have to come in from the south to Rim Village – the only visitors center accessible by car in the winter. Can I answer any other specific questions? Enjoy your trip!
We want to go wine tasting in the North Willamette Valley. Where should we stay and where should we eat?
The towns I love for wine tasting are Newberg, McMinnville and Dundee. All three are driving distance of each other in Yamhill County.
For dinner, The Painted Lady is seriously top notch. Recipe- A Neighborhood Kitchen is also very nice. Downtown Newberg has many tasting rooms all located within walking distance of each other. You can see a map here: newbergdowntown.org/wine-tasting/
In McMinnville, walk the downtown area where you can shop, taste wine and eat at wonderful restaurants. Here you can stay at the Mattey House which is a B&B located in a beautiful 1892 Queen Anne Victorian Home on 10 acres. Or perhaps you would prefer Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn, a 22 year old organic vineyard and tasting room with deluxe accommodations. There is also a classic European style B & B called The Steiger Haus that is located in downtown McMinnville. There are many options for meals in this town but a few of my favorites are: Community Plate (lunch only), Nick’s Italian Café and Bistro Maison. Here is a guide to downtown McMinville: downtownmcminnville.com/explore
If you make a stop in Dundee, The Dundee Manor is a nice place to stay, as is the Black Walnut Inn. While in town, you can even visit Herbert Hoover’s (America’s 31st president) boyhood home. There is no shortage of good restaurants in the area. Thistle, Tina’s and the Dundee Bistro are all great choices. Red Hills Market is good for casual dining.
We are traveling from Astoria to Florence on the Oregon Coast. What are some natural wonders we should stop and see along the way?
For natural wonders between Astoria and Florence, I would suggest starting at Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach. There are wonderful views of the coastline including Oregon’s iconic Haystack Rock and the offshore Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. You can visit Haystack Rock by parking in Cannon Beach and if you visit at low tide you can explore its tidepools. Between April and July, you can observe Tufted Puffins nesting on Haystack Rock. About 15 minutes south, the highway climbs Neahkahnie Mountain and there are dramatic roadside viewpoints. I would then suggest following the Three Capes Scenic Route southwest of Tillamook. Cape Meares offers great views and a short walk to a lighthouse. The next stop is Cape Lookout which offers beach access and hiking. It requires more time to explore, but could be a nice stop for a picnic. Cape Kiwanda is the last stop and it offers great views if you climb to the top of the giant sand dune on its flank.
Other great stops as you continue south include Devils Punchbowl at Otter Rock, a great viewpoint and interesting geological formation. Yaquina Head Oustanding Natural Area is another must see, with a beautiful lighthouse, views and a great intertidal area if you visit at low tide. I would save plenty of time for the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area just south of Yachats. There are roadside viewpoints of interesting rock formations including Spouting Horn, Thor’s Well, Devils Churn and Cooks Chasm. The visitors center offers views and access to easy rainforest hiking trails. Heceta Head Lighthouse also makes a good stop with a short walk the the lighthouse in a spectacular setter. Highway viewpoints just to the south offer good views looking back at the lighthouse. Sea Lion Caves is just around the corner from there and offers more great views and access to America’s largest sea cave that is shelter for wild sea lions.
Just south of Florence, you will find companies that offer dune buggy rentals and tours. Honeyman State Park is a great stop for getting out to climb the dunes and the Oregon Dunes Overlook, a little further south, offers views and dune access too.
My favorite and most scenic hikes in Portland:
There are tons more but this is a good list to begin with. Just outside of the Portland area near Multnomah Falls is whole other list so let me know if you’d like to know which hikes I’ve done there and in the Mt. Hood area as well.
One of my most interesting hikes or what I call city treks to date is leaving from the Pearl District on foot and trekking up to the Portland Rose Garden area and then over to the Pittock Mansion. Awesome views all around.
Hope this info helps and please let me know if I can help further. I always remind folks to wear really comfy shoes/hiking boots, take jackets etc. and lots of water to drink and some snacks. Happy hiking!
Salem is a good city to stay in because it is a central location to all sorts of places to visit in Oregon. It is also the capital so if you want, you can visit our state’s capital building located in downtown Salem. Inside the building are murals painted depicting our state history. Outside are sculptures on the grounds and one on top of the building that is covered in gold leaf and represents Oregon’s first settlers. In 1984, school children raised the $38,000 to cover the statue in the gold leaf holding a penny drive!
If area history interests you, the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill might be another good stop for you. The site houses the 1889 Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, the best preserved Victorian-era factory in the American West, with exhibits that change throughout the year. The current show is “Threads to New Worlds: A Collection of Fiber Arts”. There are also four buildings dating from the 1840s and 1850s that are restored and furnished in period that you can tour.
The Bush House Museum is another nice spot to visit. This Italianate mansion was built in 1878 by pioneer businessman Asahel Bush II and is set in a 100-acre park. You can take a guided tour of the home Wednesday-Sunday at 1, 2, 3 & 4 pm. I suggest walking around the park for a bit after you tour the house. The Bush Barn Art Center is located nearby. It features three galleries and a gift gallery exhibiting the works of artists from the Pacific Northwest. Also nearby is the Historic Deepwood Estate. It is a 1894 Queen Anne Victorian Home situated on approximately 4 acres of manicured gardens and nature trails. If you plan on touring all of these locations, you can buy a pass here- https://www.boxofficetickets.com/bot/wa/event?id=188645 that will get you into these places and also the Hallie Ford Museum of Art for $20.
There are also lots of great places to visit just outside of Salem. I don’t know if you plan on driving around a bit but you are 25 miles from Silver Falls State Park, the largest state park in Oregon. More about the park here- http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=151
Willamette Valley Vineyards is also located just outside of Salem and is an award winning winery and tourist destination. The tasting room is open to the public from 11 am until 6 pm daily. They also provide complimentary winery tours and tastings every day promptly at 2 pm. They ask that you call ahead to confirm availability.
Check out Travel Oregon’s suggestions on planning a getaway to Salem.