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What are the must-see places in Salem?

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.
1-800-344-9463  http://wvv.com/visit/tasting_room/

Check out Travel Oregon’s suggestions on planning a getaway to Salem.

What is the Oregon Coast like in February and March?

February and early March on the Oregon Coast are part of the quiet seasons, though Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend do see an increase in visitors. This can be a great time for general sightseeing since attractions, State Parks and natural areas are less crowded. You do have to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Low temperatures average in the high 30s and highs average in the mid-50s. You should also be prepared for rain as February is still part of the wet season and can still see 8-10 inches of rain for the month. While the typical forecast may be overcast and showery, we often experience beautiful clear days that are sometimes unseasonable warm. I always recommend being prepared for whatever Mother Nature delivers and you can enjoy the coast during a very special season unlike what many warm weather visitors see. It’s a great season for birdwatching and wildlife. Bald eagles patrol the beaches and herds of Roosevelt Elk or commonly seen grazing in meadows. Wave action can often be dramatic unlike the summer when typically small waves roll to the shore.

There are also some major events during this time. Lincoln City celebrates Antique Week Feb 7-16, Feb 20-23 Newport hosts its annual Seafood and Wine Festival and Astoria presents the Fisher Poets Gathering. Cannon Beach hosts a Yoga Festival Feb 28-March 2 and then the Savor Cannon Beach Wine & Culinary Festival March 6-9.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on December 27th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What are some good family-friendly lake resorts where we can go kayaking?

There are some really cool places to visit where you can enjoy a vacation rental with access to kayaking.

Twin Lakes Resort is a paddler’s dream as no motorized boats are allowed. It is in a rather remote area between the Willamette Valley and Bend. The drive is beautiful along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. Not really known for wine and more renowned for its craft beer, Bend is relatively close and a fun town for all ages. If you are more adventurous you can explore the Deschutes Paddle Trail.

Crescent Lake Resort is a beautiful lake near many other lakes that can be explored by kayak. Cabins line the lake. Explore nearby Waldo Lake- one of Oregon’s purest lakes where motorized boats are banned.

Cove Palisades State Park has some really cool cabins along the water. Like Twin Lakes Resort it is in a rather remote area.

Loon Lake Lodge is located along the beautiful Oregon Coast near Reedsport on Loon Lake where you can enjoy kayaking. You can pass through two different wine regions to get here- Southern Oregon (known for Cabernet and Syrah) and the South Willamette Valley (known for its Pinot varieties).

There are more, but these seem to me to be the most family friendly, with great kayaking opportunities. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Answered by Cari Soong, Ask Oregon Outdoor Adventure Expert on December 20th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Where can I take my family rafting, fishing and hiking near Eugene?

Thanks for the question.  I suggest a trip east on Highway 126 from Eugene.  You can raft on the McKenzie River.  There are numerous guided trips.  I highly recommend Helfrich Outfitters and if you want to begin and end at Belknap Hot Springs Resort check out High Country Expeditions.  To get a great view of the Cascades take the scenic drive up Highway 242 a few miles from Belknap Hot Springs to the Dee Wright Observatory at the highest point of the road.  You can climb to the top of the observatory and view 360 degrees of the Cascades with a cool compass of sorts, that helps you figure out which peak is what.

You can fish in numerous spots along the McKenzie.  Some popular places are at Leaburg Dam and along the shore.  One of my favorite places to fish is at Clear Lake at the headwaters to the McKenzie River.  You can rent a row boat and drop a line in and troll while you take in beautiful scenery atop strikingly clear water.  (Here’s a tip if you do- use corn as your bait, with a very light weight sinker). In Eugene, you can also find some decent fishing near Autzen Stadium in the Alton Baker Canal and in Junction City at the Junction City Pond.

Check out www.eugenecascadescoast.org for more ideas on a trip in this area or stop in at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center in Springfield for more ideas and maps.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if you have any more questions.

Answered by Cari Soong, Ask Oregon Outdoor Adventure Expert on November 24th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Can we see Multnomah Falls and the Oneonta Gorge in one day?

You can absolutely visit both the waterfalls and then make the “loop” around the mountain to visit Mt. Hood thanks to extended summer daylight hours, or if you plan on getting an early start.

I would suggest taking I-84 east, then taking the Corbett exit to join the historic highway. While most people start in Troutdale, you really won’t be missing any of the major sights, and this will save you some time if you plan on making the loop around the mountain.

After you reach Corbett, make sure to stop at both Women’s Forum and Vista House/Crown Point. Both spots have incredible panoramic views of the Gorge. Vista House is a beautiful historic building, originally built as a “rest area”, but you will have a hard time believing that after you see it.

From there, you will enter the “waterfall area”. Besides Oneonta Gorge and Multnomah Falls, you will definitely want to stop at Latourell Falls, Wahkeena Falls, and Horsetail Falls. Let me know if you would like me to suggest any hikes in this area. There are some nice, short ones in this area well worth your time.

Shortly after Horsetail Falls, you will rejoin I-84. Continue on to Bonneville Dam. The Fish Hatchery here is well worth a stop to see the HUGE sturgeon, and if you have some extra quarters feed the trout.

From there, return on the freeway east and you can stop either in Cascade Locks for lunch, or continue on to Hood River to eat. It all depends on how hungry you are. There are some great brewpubs in Hood River.

From Hood River, you will travel on Highway 35 around Mt. Hood. This will take you through the heart of the “fruit loop“, filled with orchards, wineries, and other attractions.

You will see some beautiful scenery as you travel around the mountain and then join Highway 26. There are some great places to stop for views of the mountain. Let me know if you would like some specific suggestions on scenic spots.

One definite MUST STOP is Timberline Lodge. The craftsmanship of the place is incredible. It was all hand built during the depression. From there you will travel highway 26 and head back towards Portland.

Let me know if you want any dining suggestions, or have any more questions. I realize this is probably a little information overload, but wanted to make sure I got everything covered for you.

Have fun planning your adventure!

Where can I go gold panning in Oregon?

Greetings from Southern Oregon! Our region is one of the state’s most prevalent for gold mining. Two of the four areas set aside on the state’s federal lands for recreational gold panning are located here:

Butte Falls Recreational Area:
Located in southwestern Oregon, Medford District, Bureau of Land Management (free site).
3040 Biddle Road
Medford, OR 97504
(541) 618-2200.

Applegate Ranger District:
Located in southwestern Oregon, Rogue River National Forest (four fee sites where there is a charge of a dollar a day for panning in areas adjacent to campgrounds).
Applegate Ranger District
6941 Upper Applegate Road
Jacksonville, OR 97530
(541) 899-3800.

Additionally, in Oregon, areas below the vegetation line on navigable rivers and streams and ocean beaches belong to the state and are therefore open for recreational gold panning.

If you want more guidance, there is an outfitter in Southern Oregon that specializes in gold mining:

Oregon Gold Trips, LLC.
P.O. Box 285, Grants Pass, OR 97528, toll free: (877) 672-8877, email: golddust@oregongoldtrip.com; www.oregongoldtrip.com

Answered by Sarah Lemon on November 24th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What towns with lodging are near Crater Lake?

Because Crater Lake is in a very remote part of the state, there are few accommodations nearby. The closest actual town to Crater Lake is Prospect, which has a historical hotel (here’s a story about it from the Mail Tribune newspaper: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050817/BIZ/308179989&cid=sitesearch).

Another 20 miles south on Highway 62 is the town of Shady Cove, which has an Edgewater Inn. Medford, which has numerous accommodations is still another 20 miles down the road. All of those towns are on “Crater Lake Highway,” making them the most convenient.

Staying in Ashland would require you to drive on Interstate 5 about 15 miles from Medford. The drive between Ashland and the national park takes about two hours.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on October 31st, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Are there dog-friendly campgrounds on the Southern Oregon Coast near Florence?

Nearly all Oregon State Park campgrounds welcome dogs. Pets must be confined by the owner, or on a leash not more than six (6) feet long, and kept under physical control at all times. The closest State Park campground to Florence would be Honeyman State Park.

The following link is to Oregon State Parks brochure on pets in parks: http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=main.loadFile&load=_siteFiles/publications/pets-in-parks.pdf

The following link is to Oregon State Parks “Find a Park” page and you can check all of the State Park campgrounds south of Florence: http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=visit.dsp_find

There are also countless private and Forest Service campgrounds that are dog friendly, but rules can vary.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 31st, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Where can we have a dog sledding adventure this winter?

Did you know that the Wallowas are the site for the only qualifier for the Iditarod in the lower 48? The event is called the Eagle Cap Extreme and it’s held every January.

So, I’d recommend getting in touch with the organizers for more detailed information about routes in the Wallowas, and there are lodgings that accept dogs as well, including Barking Mad Farm.

That should certainly get you started in the right direction. Let me know if you need any more on-the-ground information.

Answered by Lynne Curry, Ask Oregon Eastern Oregon Expert on October 31st, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Where are some good spots for a scenic Oregon camping and fishing trip?

Thanks for the question! As you can imagine there are a ton of great places to camp and fish in Oregon. The following is a list of my favorites based on region.

Coast: Gold Beach or Loon Lake near Reedsport. There are some really cool coastal campgrounds in both locations. Tugman State Park and Umpqua Lighthouse both offer yurt rentals on site and are close to fishing sites. Lobster Creek Campground is a small site with access to both river fishing on the Rogue and proximity to saltwater fishing.

Central Oregon: Is home to numerous lakes with fishing and camping. Waldo Lake, Crescent Lake and Odell Lake near Oakridge, Elk Lake near Bend, Detroit Lake, and Lake Billy Chinook.

Southern Oregon: Summer Lake (Ana Reservoir) and Klamath Lake

These are just a few of the places in the state that you can fish and camp, but some of my favorites.

Let me know if I can help with any more questions. Fish on!

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