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With only three days to visit, should we ski Mt. Bachelor or Mt. Hood?

It sounds like you already have an idea of some of the best things to do in Oregon (skiing!), and you really can’t go wrong with either option, but I can offer some more details that might help you decide.

March tends to be the best month for skiing in the Cascades! We usually get quite a bit of snow in February and March. You’ll want to make sure to factor this into your travel plans and be prepared for snow conditions if you drive to Sisters or even up to Mt. Hood via Hwy 26. Bend is about three hours from the Portland area in good conditions, but it is a gorgeous drive over the mountains. Sisters, Bend, and Sunriver are all great options in terms of small towns with shops, good restaurants and breweries, though Bend and Sisters have a little bit more to offer simply due to their larger size. Bend and Sunriver are closer to Mt. Bachelor, which is convenient especially if the weather is inclement. I love exploring the little shops in both Bend and Sisters and I would be happy to recommend places to eat or drink if you’re interested.

If you opt for Mt. Hood, you certainly won’t have to drive as far and it would be easy to ski one day and check out the Columbia River Gorge for another day or two. Sandy and Government Camp are cute small towns, and Government Camp has some yummy food options and also the feeling of being in a real mountain town. For small shops to check out, I’d suggest Hood River. It’s a great town at the base of Mt. Hood and right on the Columbia River. There are plenty of quaint shops, cafés, breweries and restaurants, and there’s a nice path for walking along the river. It’s also close to both Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area and many of the best Columbia River Gorge hiking trails.

If I were you, with three days to spend after flying into PDX, I would probably head for Hood River and ski Mt. Hood Meadows, then check out Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge. I think you could do the most from there. However, like I said, you really can’t go wrong with either option!

What is the best area for senior citizens on the Coast?

Most people visiting Oregon fly into Portland. If that’s your plan, you can reach the North Oregon Coast by car in about 90 minutes. Cannon Beach offers a good introduction to the Oregon Coast with long stretches of easily accessible beach, Oregon’s iconic Haystack Rock, a small walkable downtown and nearby State Parks, notably Ecola State Park, that offer panoramic views and easy walking paths. From there, it really depends on how much time you have and what kind of experience you desire for your visit. The Oregon Coast includes 363 miles of options and exceptional accessibility to viewpoints, beaches and natural areas. You could easily spend a week on the North Oregon Coast and include towns like Astoria, Seaside, Manzanita and the Tillamook area on your itinerary, or you can explore further to the Central Oregon Coast where Lincoln City offers miles of beaches and many options for accommodations; the Newport area offers many scenic and historical attractions; and the small town of Yachats provides the gateway to some of the coast’s most scenic areas. If you have the time, the South Oregon Coast has its own vibe with smaller towns and less touristed natural areas. I love the South Oregon Coast towns of Bandon, Port Orford and Gold Beach.

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

What are the scenic backroads in Southeastern Oregon?

Southeast Oregon is a beautiful region with some great sightseeing opportunities. I love spending time in the city of Burns, they have some great parks and restaurants.

Also, the Alvord Desert and the Steens Mountains are in the region as well. These a great stops with exciting backroads.

I can recommend a few Scenic Byways in Southeast Oregon:

Answered by Emily Palmer on October 31st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where should we go stargazing near Bend?

Hi Jason, welcome to Bend! There are two actual observatories, one in Sunriver and one at Pine Mountain east of town. Aside from that, I’d suggest getting away from the lights of town. Smith Rock would be a good choice, or head up Cascade Lakes Highway to Mt. Bachelor or one of the Cascade Lakes. Brasada Ranch is also an excellent place to see the sunset or stars. Good luck and have fun!

Which Willamette Valley city is the most walkable?

When I think of cities in Oregon that are highly walkable for non-drivers, the two local college towns, Corvallis and Eugene, both come to mind immediately. Others are either too large or too small or don’t have amenities like groceries, restaurants, medical facilities and housing all clustered in a central area. Here’s a little bit more about both:

Corvallis: Home to Oregon State University, home of the Beavers, Corvallis is consistently rated highly for being pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly and safe. It’s got a nice downtown, a beautiful riverfront and miles and miles of public pathways and trails. ( is a great website devoted just to Corvallis trails and pathways.) One of the things that I think makes Corvallis particularly friendly for a non-driver is that there are grocery stores and small markets scattered in many different areas around town, which means that no matter where you live you don’t have to walk far to get your food and household essentials. Corvallis also has a decent (and free) public bus system with stops throughout town for times when you don’t want to go places on foot. Corvallis has just under 50,000 residents, and it’s a town with a small, homey feel. Definitely give it a visit! You can go to for more information.

Eugene: Eugene has all the same great things going for it that Corvallis has — fun downtown, river access, and miles of paths and trails — but it’s a bigger city with a few more amenities, such as a train station, a nearby airport and beautiful performing arts center downtown, The Hult Center. Eugene is also a university town, home to the University of Oregon Ducks. It’s famous for being the birthplace of Nike and a major force in track & field sports, so it should be no surprise that public trails for running and walking are a big deal in Eugene. You can find a good map here. It also has grocery stores and medical facilities that are close to places to live, as well as a good public transit system. One thing that does give Eugene an edge over Corvallis for non-drivers is its easy public transit access to other Oregon cities — the Amtrak station is right downtown, with daily train service up and down the I5 corridor, as well as Greyhound, BoltBus and other bus services. It also has a small airport. In Corvallis, connecting to other cities on public transit usually requires riding a bus to Albany, then getting on a train or bus at the Albany station to Portland or Eugene. You can get more info about Eugene at

What is the best brewery on the Oregon Coast?

Thanks for the inquiry. I always have a hard time with “best” questions, because that’s a fundamentally subjective judgment. What I can say is that we have several award-winning breweries that are much beloved on the Oregon Coast. In Astoria, I’d direct you to Fort George and Buoy, two great places. Heading south, you might like to hit Pelican in Pacific City, which has one of the best views in the world. Pelican is one of the most-lauded brewery in the state, but if you can’t make it as far as Pacific City, they have a new outpost in Cannon Beach.

Your next stop south is the Rogue mothership in Newport — it’s as wonderfully working class and inviting as any brewery you’ll find. Finally, in the far south is a brewery called Arch Rock in Gold Beach that has a small but impressive range of beers.

Answered by Jeff Alworth, Ask Oregon Beer Expert on October 21st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What are the top 10 things to do on the Oregon Coast?

There are many things to see and do along the 363-mile Oregon Coast and without knowing your interests or if you are planning on concentrating on any specific region, let me give me my top picks along the entire Coast. The top 10 attractions I would recommend include (north to south):

  1. Astoria’s historic attractions including the Columbia River Maritime Museum and Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop
  2. Seaside’s automobile turnaround and oceanfront promenade, famous landmarks dating from the 1920s
  3. Ecola State Park and Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
  4. Three Capes Scenic Drive southwest of Tillamook (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda)
  5. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport (lighthouse, views, bird watching and beautiful tidepool area)
  6. Cape Perpetua Scenic Area (rainforest hiking trails, views of dramatic coastline formations like Spouting Horn, Devil’s Churn, Cook’s Chasm and Thor’s Well)
  7. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Honeyman State Park and Oregon Dunes Overlook near Florence or hike the John Dellenback Trail south of Reedsport)
  8. Cape Arago (three spectacular State Parks southwest of Coos Bay)
  9. Beach Loop Drive in Bandon (beautiful beach with many rock formations at the edge of the shore)
  10. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor (lots of viewpoints and beaches south of Gold Beach)
Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 18th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Is November a good time to visit Ashland?

If you visit in early November, check out the Ashland Culinary Festival. And to make a weekend out of it, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival often has discounted tickets on plays during late fall.

November in Southern Oregon tends to be chilly and rainy, but the snow hasn’t usually flown at that point. This means that during a November visit, our winter recreation won’t yet be in full swing (think skiing, snowshoeing, and the like), but in most weather, you can still hike during November, if outdoor excursions are your thing.

If you’re looking for indoor entertainment, I would suggest a wine tour in November, since our summers are quite hot (making an afternoon of wine tasting somewhat difficult at times). Try the Applegate Trail or Upper Rogue Trail to see some pretty fall colors at the same time.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on October 14th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

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 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
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