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What are the best fall camping spots near Portland?

Everything within 3 hours of Portland right now (October) is going to be gorgeous. So I’ve put together a few lists for you.

The Coast:

  • Cape Lookout State Park
  • Nehalem Bay State Park
  • Fort Stevens State Park
  • Lincoln City (~4ish hours)

Mount Hood:

  • Devil’s Peak Fire Tower
  • Trillium Lake
  • Timberline Trail
  • Timothy Lake

Columbia River Gorge:

  • Surveyor’s Ridge Campground
  • Eagle Creek

Keep in mind that the weather has a tendency to change quickly, so make sure to double check before you take off… and bring a rain shell.

Also a good thing to keep in mind is that you can camp for free in any National Forest area (i.e. Mt. Hood) as long as you adhere to Leave No Trace principles and are fine with hiking at least 100 yards off trail and away from running water.

If you’re looking for campsites, specifically, you can get out recreation.gov and type any location into the search bar.

Answered by Kristen Mohror on October 6th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where do I go to fish for big salmon?

Salmon fishing in Oregon is great year-round, but fall does yield some large catches. Your best bet for big salmon at this time of the year is along the Oregon Coast Range at Tillamook Bay, Nestucca River, Chetco River and Elk River.

Answered by David Johnson, Ask Oregon Fishing Expert on October 3rd, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What should we do in Bend if we only have one day?

There is much to be discovered in Bend. If you only have a day, here are my suggestions. Walk a bit of the Deschutes River Trail, in town. Visit a few of our famous breweries – I suggest Crux, Bend Brewing Co. and Worthy. Walk through Drake Park (the leaves should be changing, and beautiful, then). Drive to the top of Pilot Butte to see the amazing view. Visit downtown and eat at Zydeco or McMenamins Old St. Francis School.

Also, from Bend you can have an incredible daycation.

Can we stay close to Crater Lake in an RV in October?

I think October is an ideal month to visit Crater Lake! The two campgrounds within the national park are only open during the summer, but there are several wonderful campgrounds located on Highway 62 between Prospect and the park, plus Diamond Lake, located just northwest.

I suggest Natural Bridge Campground or one of the others nearby along the Rogue River.

No matter where you stay, make sure to look at the operating hours and road closures before your trip, just in case something has changed. You can find that information here, on the National Park website. If you decide not to camp, you can always park your RV at the rim and stay a night in the historic Crater Lake Lodge. We love it, and you might be able to get a reservation now that summer is behind us! Here’s more info.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on September 26th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

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.

Answered by Kristen Mohror on September 22nd, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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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
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