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Where are the best places to watch the sunset near Salem?

What a great question! Here are my ideas for good sunsets near Salem.

  1. Willamette Valley Vineyards is just south of Salem is on a hill facing west toward the Jory hills and the Coast range. The west facing views at Willamette Valley Vineyards are great any time of day, but when the sun is setting on a clear day  it’s really spectacular. Sitting on their patio with a bottle of wine watching the sun set…not a bad way to end the day.

 

  1. Minto-Brown Island Park is huge, full of trails and secluded spots, and it borders the Willamette River along the entire western boundary of the park. Take a trail down to the riverbank and you can get some nice sunset views with the colors reflecting on the river.

 

  1. Baskett Slough Wildlife Refuge is located west of Salem (near Dallas) off of Highway 22. It’s great natural area with several trails, looking westward toward the Coast Range. I haven’t done it myself, but I’ve heard the hike to the Rich Guadnagno Observation Platform gives you nice sunset views from the top of Baskett Butte.

 

  1. Van Duzer Vineyard is very close to the Baskett Slough wildlife refuge and a great place to reward yourself with a glass of wine after a hike. Their tasting room is up on top of a hill with beautiful westward views.

 

Happy sunset watching! I hope you find some great views.

What are the best mountain bike areas in Oregon?

There are SO many places in Oregon to mountain bike, but I’ll try to narrow them down to the BEST. Are you ready?

Top 5 recommendations:

  1. McKenzie River Trail
  2. Oakridge — Alpine Trail
  3. Sandy Ridge Trail
  4. Surveyors Ridge
  5. Tiddlywinks

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Oakridge — Tire Mountain or Waldo Lake
  2. Tyler’s Traverse
  3. North Umpqua Trail
  4. Black Rock
  5. Post Canyon

Google any of these and your mind might explode. There are just so many awesome places to go. In fact, if you haven’t been to Oakridge, I just went and it blew my mind. There are mountain bike trails, waterfalls, hot springs, and a proper English pub called the Local 180.

Let me know if you have any questions or need to find a place to rent a mountain bike. The Mountain Shop in NE Portland is probably your best bet for a quality ride.

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Can you swim in Crater Lake?

Good question! Short answer, yes, but there is actually only one place where it is safe and legal to get down to the lake shore and swim at Crater Lake National Park. It is the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which usually opens mid to late June. The Cleetwood trail is just over one mile long (each way) and quite steep, dropping nearly 700 feet down to the lake shore. Visitors are welcome to swim in the lake from the shoreline at the end of this trail. There’s really no other access, since Crater Lake is so ‘deep and steep.’

What kind of weather can we expect at the Coast in April?

April is a great time for traveling the Oregon Coast. Spring in general is known for lush growth, blooming plants and shrubs, abundant wildlife and great bird watching. High temperatures in April average in the mid to high 50s and low temperatures average mostly in the low 40s. Our maritime climate is unpredictable, so you will want to be prepared for unseasonably warm or cooler temperatures. You should always be prepared for showers as April rainfall totals up to five or six-plus inches for the month. That’s downright dry compared to our real rainy season between November and February!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on April 4th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Is Bandon Dunes a good golf course to spend my 40th birthday in April?

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a forever memorable experience any day of the year.  You will have a fantastic time experiencing the most spectacular collection of golf in the United States. The only dynamic that April will present you verse being there in summer time is the length of sunshine which impacts whether you play 18 or 36 holes each day. Depending on how many days you stay on property and what kind of housing you want to experience, Bandon offers many choices. That is another plus to this now five-course golf experience. Whatever you do, be sure to play the Preserve (13 holes all par 3 along the ocean….it’s a great walk with a cocktail after playing 18 holes from one of the other courses). The other thing to factor is getting to Bandon. You can fly into Eugene and travel two hours to the resort, fly in direct via San Francisco connection or make the longer five-hour drive via flying into Portland.

If you’re looking to explore more, come to Bend, one of the finest cities in Oregon and a complete destination for skiers, floaters, golfers, bikers, hikers, fishing, food and lots and lots of craft beer. FYI, Central Oregon has 23b golf courses including three Golf Digest top 100 rankers.

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on March 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Can you tell me the best camping spots near the Grants Pass/Medford area?

Glad to help you find a camping site in Southern Oregon! Currently, it’s pretty wet and chilly in the Medford/Ashland area, but fun camping spots do exist. Just expect full rivers and streams and some rain.

For seclusion, I love camping at Squaw Lakes, just above Applegate Lake outside Ruch, Oregon. It can be found just past Jacksonville. There are a collection of walk-in sites, all spaced around the small lake. Fire pits and picnic tables are in place, and there’s a water faucet and pit toilet. Otherwise, no structures exist. In summer, this area gets crowded, but in winter and spring, it’s empty and there’s no fee for the sites. Since the elevation is pretty low, there’s very rarely snow.

Later in the spring, the campground at Mt. Ashland offers the same level of seclusion, but it’s not usually accessible for camping (other than snow camping) until April or May. This year, it may even be later!

If you need something close to I-5 just to lay your head at night, try Valley of the Rogue state park. There are even yurts to reserve.

Where’s a good spot to crab near Astoria without a boat?

You may find some crabbing charters out of the port of Hammond south of Astoria. In addition, the 12th Street bridge in Seaside is a popular non-boat location with crab rings dropped directly off the bridge. One of the best crabbing experiences on the North Oregon Coast is further south on Nehalem Bay. Kelly’s Marina and Jetty Fishery both offer crabbing from the docks (and boat rentals) with rental gear available right there. You can also have your catch cooked and cleaned right there and feast on your catch just steps from where it came out of the water.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on March 25th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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Is it possible to visit Hood/Gorge and the Coast in two days?

You can absolutely do it! My suggestion would be to drive from Portland to the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway. Take in the waterfalls, take in the misty air, take in the probable rain (bring a rain jacket) and then stop for ice cream at EastWind Drive Thru in Cascade Locks before making your way to Hood River. There’s a little coffee shop/restaurant called Doppio’s Cafe on Main Street. They’ve got the best sandwiches in town and even better coffee.

After leaving Hood River, head toward Mt. Hood. Make a quick stop at Tamanawas Falls trailhead and hike through the forest to the jaw-dropping waterfall. It’s an easy 4-mile round trip hike that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired to see what else you can find. Continue heading toward the mountain. You can take in some killer views at Trillium Lake or drink the world’s best hot chocolate at Timberline Lodge in front of a roaring fire. When you’re finished with that, you can drive through Government Camp and stop for pizza or beers, or both!

You can make it back to Portland in time to recharge and plan out the next day.

The Coast is sure to blow your mind. Head west on Highway 26 until you hit Cannon Beach. If you’re looking for a view, stop at Haystack Rock and take it in. This is the most photographed area of Oregon. How cool is that? From there, take a short drive down to Oswald West State Park and walk through the forest for about a mile before it opens up to the Pacific Ocean. You’ll feel like you’re in Jurassic Park, but I assure you, dinosaurs won’t bother you here.

If you’re still feeling jazzed about the Coast, you can head on over to Hug Point State Park, just down the road. It’s a similar beach and is just as rocky and wild as the others, but this one has caves and a waterfall. Just to keep you on your toes. From here you might be chasing the sunset so I’d recommend settling in and taking a few deep breaths because sunsets on the Oregon Coast are about the closest thing to a religious experience I’ve ever had.

From there, you can head back to Portland.

Take lots of pictures. Use our hashtag (#traveloregon) and soak up the experience. There’s no place like Oregon!

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What restaurants should I try in Central Oregon? Mind you, I’m a chef!

I can recommend many great restaurants. Don’t miss 5 Fusion — award-winning chef Joe Kim is amazing. Ariana and Zydeco are other excellent fine dining choices. For more casual food, try Jackson’s Corner and Nancy P’s Bakery. Also, Hola! has great Peruvian food. Definitely hit a few brew pubs — my favorites for both food and beer are Bend Brewing Co., 10 Barrel and Three Creeks Brewing. Do you need lodging recommendations too? I like the Oxford Hotel, Tetherow and Hampton Inn and Suites.

Where should we stay during our romantic honeymoon on the Coast?

There are 363 miles of options for romantic escapes on the Oregon Coast, so your decision will depend on the kind of experience you are after. I would list Cannon Beach, Yachats and Bandon as great small towns that offer options in luxurious resorts with views, intimate dining and beautiful scenic areas nearby.

Cannon Beach, on the North Oregon Coast, checks all of the boxes with several nice oceanfront resorts, including two of the Coast’s top luxury lodgings, Stephanie Inn and The Ocean Lodge, both of which have views of Oregon’s famous Haystack Rock. You’ll find intimate dining at places like Newmans at 988, Irish Table, The Bistro or the Stephanie Inn’s in-house dining room. The town offers quick access to nearby Ecola State Park and its inspiring views. Just to the south you can visit the romantically named Hug Point.

Yachats, on the Central Oregon Coast, is home to the luxurious Overleaf Lodge and Spa, overlooking an active rocky portion of the Coast. Fine dining is more limited than Cannon Beach, but there are a few good restaurants. Yachats is just a few minutes from the spectacular viewpoints and hiking trails of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.

Bandon, on the South Oregon Coast, offers a beautiful beach to stroll and some great restaurants, including Alloro and The Loft. Oceanfront lodging is more limited, though Sunset Oceanfront Lodging has a few rooms perched directly over the stunning beach and its rock formations.

A few other great options for lodging to consider would be Whale Cove Inn near Depoe Bay. It offers luxurious rooms with views of beautiful Whale Cove and an exceptional in-house restaurant. If you want to walk the beach, you will have to drive to nearby beaches at Fogarty Creek or Otter Rock. Also nearby is the isolated, but large complex of the Inn at Otter Crest with access to its own stretch of beach and just minutes from the natural attraction of Devil’s Punchbowl.

For some, the eco-friendly WildSpring Guest Habitat in Port Orford is the ultimate in romance with only five elegant cabin suites in a natural setting. It’s a short drive from the beach at Battle Rock Park and fine dining at Redfish restaurant (which also operates a luxury lodging unit in the building).

Another romantic option, though not on the ocean, is Tu Tu Tun Lodge, up the Rogue River from Gold Beach. It is remote and romantic and also offers fine dining in-house.

I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Proposal Rock on a nice stretch of beach along the tiny town of Neskowin. The town is mostly a quaint residential community, but there are some ocean-view vacation rental condos available and a great little restaurant. From Neskowin, it’s about a 15-minute drive to one of my favorite restaurants on the coast, Blackfish Cafe and 25 minutes away from The Bay House, both fine dining institutions in Lincoln City.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on March 16th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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