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What do we need to know before cycling the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway?

Thanks for the question!  I biked the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway in 2011 (read my blog from the ride) and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. I rode in the opposite direction you’re planning, finishing the ride at Champoeg State Park.  Champoeg State Park offers RV spaces that you can reserve online.

One of the best resources for this route is rideoregonride.com.  You can see all the latest about the trip and also see where the closest bike shops, restaurants and lodging are located along the way.

As for transportation from Armitage Park near Eugene back to your RV at Champoeg, the options are limited and there isn’t one point to point option.  What I recommend is to take the Amtrak Cascades from Eugene to Salem.  For an additional fee you can bring your un-boxed bike on board   The only downside to taking the Amtrak Cascades is that you can only get as far north as Salem.  From Salem it’s around 30 miles to Champoeg State Park so you would have to either get a taxi or use pedal-power to get you there.

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

How do you catch razor clams?

ODFW has a lot of good info- http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/razorclams/index.asp

Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA4D2ERtTdo

Sometimes you will see those “shows” on their own, especially right at low tide. I like to stomp my feet as I walk in about a ten foot circle and then walk back over my tracks and look for shows. As the stomping scares the clam it will retract and cause a show.

Here’s one of my blogs- http://www.ifish.net/board/blog.php?b=23&a=3956

Get to the beach one to two hours before low tide. Minus tides are what you will want.
http://www.saltwatertides.com/dynamic.dir/oregonsites.html The Columbia R entrance or Seaside are the ones to look up for the Clatsop beaches.

Answered by David Johnson, Ask Oregon Fishing Expert on May 26th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Where are the best moderately difficult mountain biking trails in Oregon?

Thanks for the question! One person’s definition of “moderate” can vary greatly than the next person’s. I would say that a good number of the trails in Oregon are moderate. I would recommend rideoregonride.com as a resource and also look for local bike groups in the areas where you want to ride. A lot of bike shops have regular group rides. Below are some of my suggestions for moderate trails throughout the state. There are a ton more. So let me know if you want some more suggestions.

Brice Creek Trail (Cottage Grove) – This trail does have some steep cliffs and roots, but with decent bike-handling skills, shouldn’t be a problem. The trail is a lot of fun and goes past some beautiful waterfalls.
McKenzie River Trail (McKenzie Bridge) – Parts of this trail, near Clear Lake, are diffiicult. However, the portion below Trailbridge Reservoir to McKenzie Bridge is intermediate/moderate difficulty. The trail is mostly clear of rocks and roots and there aren’t any major climbs, there are a couple of narrow steep corners.
Waldo Lake Trail (Oakridge) – Outside of Oakridge, towards Willamette Pass, is one of the purest lakes in the state with a 18 mile loop around. The trail has a few obstacles, but for the most part is considered moderate because of the length of the trail. I recommend waiting until late summer, to get in shape for the ride and to wait out the swarms of mosquitos that tend to last until mid August.
Alpine Trail (Oakridge) – Whether you get a shuttle up to the trailhead, or pedal up road 1910, this trail is fun with moderate difficulty as far as obstacles go. Make sure your brakes work, because once you get on the trail it’s mostly downhill.
Timothy Lake Loop in the Mt. Hood National Forest is a fun 16-mile trail
Peterson Ridge (Sisters) This trail is on the easier side of “moderate” and offers great views of Cascades.

Where can I find some nice wines and B&Bs along the Oregon Coast? We’re coming for our anniversary.

North Oregon Coast: For special occasions, it’s hard to beat the experience at Cannon Beach’s Stephanie Inn. This is more of a country inn, not a traditional bed & breakfast home, but it is an exceptional splurge with a great restaurant and fine wines too. You’ll find the best wine list in town at the Wayfarer Restaurant. Another unique experience nearby is Arch Cape Inn & Retreat, a B&B that resembles a French Chateau. You might also consider The Awtrey House in Nehalem, a more traditional B&B home operated by a former professional basketball player who put a lot of attention to detail in this home. Astoria also has a large number of B&Bs, many in Victorian Homes. Rose River House is one of the most popular ones. You’ll find a nice wine list at Bridgewater Bistro on Astoria’s riverfront.

Central Oregon Coast: The Lightkeeper’s Inn Bed & Breakfast in Newport consistently ranks high with visitors, offering bay and bridge views. A few minutes to the north in Otter Rock is the coast’s only traditional working winery, Flying Dutchman Winery, offering tasting daily. There are several highly rated B&Bs in Depoe Bay, including Pana Sea Ah and An Ocean Paradise Whales Rendezvous. Whale Cove Inn is more of a boutique hotel, but offers amazing views and an acclaimed restaurant. It would also be worth the trip to plan a dinner at The Bay House in the south end of Lincoln City where you will find the coast’s largest wine list, literally a bound book.

South Oregon Coast: Tu Tu Tun Lodge up the Rogue River from Gold Beach is more of a country inn, but is highly rated and has an outstanding restaurant on the property. For more traditional B&B homes, consider The Compass Rose Bed and Breakfast in Port Orford. You’ll find the best wine list at Redfish restaurant. Also not a traditional B&B, but worth consider for its uniqueness is WildSpring Guest Habitat in Port Orford.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on April 26th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What should I stop and see between Portland and Pendleton?

There are so very many things! I recommend you request the most current copy of the Travel Oregon Visitor’s Guide, which will serve you for this trip and many others since it covers the whole state, region by region from local travel experts.

As a frequent traveler on I-84 between Portland and Pendleton, I wish I stopped more often at natural sights along the way: Rooster Rock State Park and Multnomah Falls are quick, accessible stops that let you pause to appreciate the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River is always a good stopover for food and drink. Doppio on Oak has coffee and lite lunch fare. Sixth Street Bistro is also a recommended lunch spot. If you’re driving through during the dinner hour, Brian’s Poorhouse and Celilo are sit down options with good wine lists.

Another great way to stretch your legs is to look out for kite board beaches between Hood River and Arlington and pull in to watch.  I also recommend two natural areas: Deschutes River State Recreation Area, only a few miles off the freeway outside the Dalles (an important crossing point on The Oregon Trail) and McNary National Wildlife Refuge, which has hiking trails.

In Boardman, you can visit the state’s newest museum, the SAGE Center, slated to open in May. http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2013/01/boardmans_interactive_sage_cen.html

If you’d like to jump off of the freeway to get a sense of the landscape along the Columbia Plateau, consider taking the Blue Mountain Scenic Highway. Exit I-84 to Highway 206 through Heppner to 395 and come in “the back way” to Pendleton.

Have a great road trip!

What are some easy, dog-friendly trail hikes?

Mt. Pisgah in Eugene is a great place to take dogs and go hiking. For an easier hike, look for the arboretum trails. If the weather is right there are some creeks in the parking area that a dog could play in.

Tryon Creek Trail near Portland is dog-friendly and just friendly, in general.

Wahclella Falls near the Columbia River Gorge is an easy waterfall hike that is dog-friendly.

The coast is very dog-friendly with lots of hikes and even yurts that pets can stay in with you.

Cape Lookout South Trail near Tillamook is a great example of the Oregon Coast’s wide array of dog-friendly hiking trails.

Cape Perpetua’s Giant Spruce Trail: This trail is one of my favorites on the coast.

Eagle Cap Wilderness: Hurricane Creek near Joseph is a dog-friendly hike in the northeast of Oregon.

This book is a really good reference for hikes with dogs: http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/Best-Hikes-with-Dogs-Oregon-2nd-Edition-P705.aspx

I hope this helps! Happy travels!

Which restaurant serves the best oysters on the Oregon Coast?

Any part of the coast you visit will offer great options for enjoying fresh, local oysters served in many preparations, from raw to pan-fried or in stews.

Here are some of my personal favorites and popular spots all along the coast. On the North Oregon Coast, Bridgewater Bistro in Astoria prides themselves on featuring the freshest Willapa Bay oysters and often features innovative accompaniments like the extra small Pacific oysters with an absolut pepper cocktail sauce or perfectly pan fried oysters with a creole mayo. Pacific Oyster Company located on a jetty in Tillamook Bay at Bay City is a commercial oyster packing plant with a casual restaurant. It will be harder to get fresher oysters than that. You’ll also find oyster stew and oyster burgers there.

On the Central Oregon Coast, Blackfish Cafe in Lincoln City never disappoints with their oyster choices, such as half-shell oysters with a shallot-infused sherry vinegar or crispy cornmeal fried Yaquina Bay oysters. Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport, a fish market and restaurant offering fresh oyster shooters, pan fried oysters and even an oyster salad with pan-fried oysters served with greens dressed with a warm bacon vinaigrette. Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay offers great pan fried oysters and I enjoyed their creamy-buttery oyster stew.

On the South Oregon Coast, the Hilltop House in North Bend is a longtime favorite that offers fresh local oysters including Cajun oysters. In nearby Charleston, you’ll find several restaurants in this fishing community that offer fresh oysters such as Fisherman’s Grotto. In Bandon, the Bandon Fish Market offers retail seafood and a casual restaurant with fresh local oysters.

I could keep going, but I hope this gives you a few can’t miss options for each region of the coast. I’ll be anxious to hear what you enjoy and the favorites of other readers. Most importantly, enjoy your search for the Oregon Coast’s best oyster and I’ll expect a full report.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on March 28th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What is there to see in Pendleton?

Pendleton is a great place to get a sense of the Native American, pioneer and cowboy history of Oregon. This guide will give you an overview of the history-related activities. Not to be missed are the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute and The Umatilla County Historical Museum.

The town is most renowned for the annual Pendleton Roundup Rodeo. If you’d like to travel there at that time, you will want to book your accommodations well in advance.

Can I visit Crater Lake in June?

Glad to hear you’re focusing some of your visit on Crater Lake National Park. It’s perhaps Oregon’s most unique feature and an attraction I routinely recommend.

June still isn’t considered high season for visiting Crater Lake, but your chances will start rapidly improving for seeing more of the park. While there likely will still be some snow on the ground, and lake visibility could be affected by weather, more of the trails will be accessible. Last year, the park’s north entrance and most facilities opened in mid-June, but the year before that, it wasn’t until the end of the month.

Because Crater Lake is at 6,000 feet above sea level, snow has been known to fly in midsummer, and conditions can change in a flash. Be sure to pack a weatherproof jacket and shoes, long pants and a hat and gloves for the time of year you plant to visit. The only way to know what the current conditions are at the park is by checking its website http://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/current-conditions.htm

Answered by Sarah Lemon on March 27th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

We are traveling the entire Oregon Coast. What are the top scenic viewpoints?

The top 10 attractions I would recommend include (north to south):

Astoria’s historic attractions including the Columbia River Maritime Museum and Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop.

Seaside’s automobile turnaround and oceanfront promenade, famous landmarks dating from the 1920s.

Ecola State Park and Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

Three Capes Scenic Drive southwest of Tillamook (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda).

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport (lighthouse, views, bird watching and beautiful tidepool area).

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).

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Honeyman State Park and Oregon Dunes Overlook near Florence or hike the John Dellenback Trail south of Reedsport).

Cape Arago (three spectacular State Parks southwest of Coos Bay).

Beach Loop Drive in Bandon (beautiful beach with many rock formations at the edge of the shore).

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor (lots of viewpoints and beaches south of Gold Beach).

 

Hope this helps and happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on February 28th, 2013 - Post Your Answer
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