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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. (www.therighttrail.org 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 www.visitcorvallis.com 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 www.eugenecascadescoast.org.

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 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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