Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
If I had 3 days in Oregon, where would I travel to? Love sun, water and rock formations. Love to eat seafood (especially shell fish).
Sounds like you need to plan a trip to the Oregon Coast! If sun is an important part of the equation, you should plan your trip for July, August or September. Of course, the coast is spectacular no matter what the weather, but those are the months with the best chance of dry days and sunny skies. The rocks, water and seafood are the easy part. The Oregon Coast is known for its coastline punctuated by nearly 2000 sea stacks and small islands that are all part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. They are great areas for exploring tidepools and watching birds, marine life and crashing waves. On the North Oregon Coast, the state’s most famous landmark is Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. From Cannon Beach, you can also see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse built on a small rock a mile from the shore. Pacific City also has a Haystack Rock a little further offshore and the beautifully sculpted sandstone headland, Cape Kiwanda. On the Central Oregon Coast, Seal Rocks is named for it’s rock formations at the edge of the shoreline. Other great geologic formations include Devil’s Punchbowl in Otter Rock and Devil’s Churn in the Cape Perpetual Scenic Area near Yachats. On the South Oregon Coast, the beach at Bandon offers numerous rock formations. These are just a few examples. Here’s a recent story we did on the Oregon Coast’s sea stacks.
Wherever you choose to go on the coast you will find great, fresh seafood. Dungeness Crab, oysters and razor clams are among the Pacific shellfish delicacies you will find. If you’d like to provide more information on what area of the coast you are interested in or where you are coming from, I can make some more specific recommendations. I hope this helps for now.
Thor’s Well is also known simply as Spouting Horn and is located in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats. It can be viewed by taking the Captain Cook Trailhead from the Visitor Center. When surf is up, water shoots upward from the bowl carved out of the basalt shoreline, then drains back into the opening. Many photographers trying to capture the action report how dangerous it is to try to get close to the spouting horn when it’s active, so if you visit, be careful and keep your distance.
Formations like these are typically formed over long periods of time geologically. They begin as a sea cave and eventually the top of the cave collapses, leaving an opening where the tide surges in, then shoots upward with dramatic force. Similar dramatic formations can be seen nearby at Devil’s Churn and at Devil’s Punchbowl in Otter Rock to the north.
Editor’s Note: Our own Grant McOmie traveled to Cape Perpetua earlier this year; see the story and video here: /trip-ideas/grants-getaways/cape-perpetua-scenic-area/
We are thinking of doing a road trip through Oregon for 2 weeks in early July 2013. We’re most interested in mountain / wildlife scenery in Oregon and coastal and wine experiences. We would also like to know if it is easy to do this by motorhome rather than car? – Gill W., Cardiff, Wales.
I believe I can give you some great ideas on how you can road trip your way around Oregon and see as much as possible in two weeks! First of all, let me say that either way you choose to travel, you will love it. I personally would love a road trip via motorhome because of all the perks of “having your home ride with you” and it will give you a chance to pick up some delicious food from many regions and prepare and enjoy it yourself. Although, traveling via auto isn’t bad either cause I do enjoy dining at a different place each day when I’m out and about so be sure to treat yourself to some of our local restaurants too if you do motorhome it! We have some pretty amazing chefs in our towns and cities that LOVE to share all the goodness found here.
I would probably begin in or near the Portland area. From there, I would def stop at Multnomah Falls and possibly enjoy a short hike and of course take tons of photos. It’s quite beautiful there and if you have never seen it, you will wonder what took you so long!
Moseying along hwy 84 east, you will find the town of Hood River. You must stop and stay a day to enjoy all it has to offer! There is always something delicious going on in that region! Also, as you may well know, a stunning Mt. Hood awaits your visit too! Gaze and be amazed at our mountain and be sure to bring your camera and binoculars! Here’s more info about the area. There is hiking at my favorite Mt. Hood area trail called Tamanawas Trail; it’s pretty easy and worth the surprise at the end!
If you can tear yourself away from Mt. Hood, head east once more and follow the road to places such as Pendleton, Enterprise and Joseph, Oregon. I would suggest a night in Joseph so you can enjoy the beautiful Wallowa Mountains via Hells Canyon Scenic Byways.
This site is awesome and will take you on a wild ride of beauty and the “all natural” side of Oregon! Baker City is where I would suggest you take a break! I loved this route when I took it a few years ago. Don’t be surprised if you see a “real” cowboy herding cattle or find some restaurant in some quaint western Oregon town where everyone turns and looks at you when you walk in. You aren’t a local but it’s all good cause you’ll sit and enjoy a burger made of all local ingredients and smile as you enjoy every bite!
From the Baker City area, it’s time to head to Bend and Sisters Oregon! Stay a night in either town and enjoy our Central Oregon region. I have taken a Lava Cave Tour in Bend, I have taken the beer tour at Deschutes Brewery… and I love downtown Bend! If you decide to drive a car, you have to check out The Old St. Francis School for lodging. I have also enjoyed snowmobiling a few times too at Mt. Bachelor but of course there won’t be any snow however, driving around and enjoying some of our cascade mountains in this region is quite spectacular. See Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Bachelor and the rest! You can see many of these mountains when you take hwy 20 toward the Willamette Valley! Hwy 20 is also the part of the Over The River and Through The Woods Scenic Byway! Enjoy the gorgeous ride all the way to Albany, Corvallis and up in to hwy 99W!
You are now nestled quite nicely in to the Willamette Valley so it’s time for some delicious wine! You can certainly find info on our hundreds of wineries or you can wing it and enjoy finding some on your own! I always enjoy finding new things and experiences by chance but for just a little guidance, here are a few of my fav wine stops:
It’s a little tough to choose here but if you’d like, you can shoot over to the coast whenever you want from the Willamette Valley. If I could suggest a few cities that I love along the Oregon Coast… Canon Beach, Seaside, Tillamook and Astoria! I truly love all of it and the cities I listed are all pretty much in our North Coast and so would be doable in a day or two depending on your timing. Once you are in Astoria, you aren’t too far from Portland.
You can of course change up this route as much as you want and if time allows, you can shoot down to Crater Lake in Southern Oregon around the Albany area taking I 5. It’s probably a “must see” if I may say so but I wouldn’t stuff so much in that you can’t take your time to enjoy where you are!
As far as enjoying our Oregon wildlife, you will find that we do take preservation of many things very serious. Our reserves and estuaries are protected wildlife areas and to name a few places for viewing wildlife:
William Finley: http://www.fws.gov/WillametteValley/finley/ (loved this area)
Oak Park Refuge: http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?PropertyID=490&action=ViewPark (I’m actually hiking this refuge tomorrow!)
Sauvie Island: http://www.pdxinfo.com/hikes/sauvie.php (awesome hikes and scenery!)
Here’s a few links to check out when you choose which mode of travel you will be taking:
This is a lot of info to take in so please let me know if I can overwhelm you some more! I can provide more detail about roads to take, etc. but I am sure part of the fun in planning is finding your way and finding those out of the way places that will make your trip so special.
Please feel free to follow my on Facebook page… look for Oregon Bliss and on my blog at www.whitebreadandjam.blogspot.com I am Sweet Bliss there! You can follow me around Oregon and beyond at both these sites. I enjoy Oregon and my new experiences and share all of them!
The Oregon Coast is different and spectacular in each season. Summer is the warmest and driest, but busiest time. Spring is beautiful with new growth on the foliage, blooming wildflowers and is good for enjoying birds and wildlife. Winter is a favorite for storm watchers and those who like it quiet and secluded. The ocean is a totally different experience in the winter with dramatic crashing waves. There are many savvy travelers that wait until after the summer rush (after Labor Day) and enjoy the usually beautiful Indian Summer and fall. I personally love mid-September to mid-October. There’s still a good chance of warm weather and it can be beautiful or dramatic with fog, mist and beautiful cloud formations.
If you like to antique along the way, I would suggest the quieter seasons. Lincoln City is known for it’s numerous antique stores. Astoria and Seaside also features several. Each February, Lincoln City hosts Antique Week – actually 10 days of antique sales and events. We just did a story on Antiquing in Lincoln City you can find HERE.
Hope this is helpful.
Is there a bad time of the year to visit Oregon (i.e. when is the rainy season)? We are thinking of a visit along the coast and across the Columbia River Gorge in July or august in a couple years; however, we are open to any suggestions of a better time of the year.
No, there is not a bad time of year to visit the Oregon Coast, but there is a rainy season. Between November and January, many parts of the coast average over 10 inches of rain each month. Many people come to the coast during this time to experience the awesome storms that can whip the seas into a frenzy and showcase the dramatic forces that shape the landscape. It can be wet and windy, but many are attracted to this quieter season at the coast. Hotels offer great off season rates too.
July and August are the most dependable months for dry weather and sunny skies. It is also the busiest time of year. My favorite time of year is September and early October. There are typically smaller crowds and the weather can still be nice, though slightly cooler than summer. Fall can offer scenes of fog, mist and cloud formations that can be stunning.
Whatever time of year you come, you will want to be prepared for cool temperatures and the possibility of rain. If you are prepared, you will be able to enjoy the magic of the coast in any season you visit.
Greetings from Southern Oregon,
West of Crater Lake in northern Jackson County, there are stands of maple that turn orange and crimson this time of year. East of Crater Lake, the fall color show is put on by native aspens. The main concentration is in the Fort Klamath area. But there are numerous groves in the vast Fremont National Forest scattered in the upper reaches of the Sycan, Chewaucan, Sprague and Williamson rivers, between Klamath Falls and Lakeview, according to the Oregonian.
Here’s a story from the Mail Tribune newspaper about some of the best aspen viewing: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071011/LIFE/710110301&cid=sitesearch
Is there an apple tour in the Hood River area or around Mt Hood? Where is the best place for fall color?
Are you looking for an organized tour, or one you can drive on yourself?
There are actually Gravenstein apples are actually in season right now, and there are many U-pick farms where you can go and pick your own. For the most variety in apples the best time to go is generally anytime in October. (This is usually when I stock up on my own to make apple butter.) See the Hood River Fruit Loop for detailed information.
For best fall colors, I suggest a drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway. The combination of waterfalls and autumn foliage is outstanding! This can also be done on your way to Hood River to fetch apples!
|Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge|
For a coast trip, I recommend taking Highway 26 from Portland, and then take the Highway 6 turnoff to Tillamook. In Tillamook visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory! Then proceed up Highway 101 and stop whenever your curiosity is piqued. There are lots of beaches and parks and vistas to check out. Some cute towns along that route are Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Seaside, and Astoria. If your kids are fans of the movie The Goonies, you’ll definitely want to check out the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria.
Returning to Portland, if you’re spent already, just take Highway 30 back. But if you still have time, I recommend taking highway 202 from Astoria past the Jewell Meadows wildlife viewing area – if you’re lucky, you’ll see herds of elk. You can proceed to Highway 26 which will take you back to Portland. You could also do this whole trip in the reverse direction, if you’d prefer.
We are planning a road trip along the entire Oregon Coast next year. I would like to know when is the best time for whale watching, what wouldn’t you miss, and how long a trip should we take to make it worth our while? We like to hike and would love to do some fun things as well as the scenery and tide pools. Where are the best places to camp along the way?
You didn’t mention what time of year you were planning your trip, but their are two times of year that Gray whales migrate along the Oregon Coast. They travel south during the winter, with mid-December to mid-January beginning the typical peak of migration along the Oregon Coast. The last week of December there is a coast wide program called Whale Watching Spoken Here with volunteers at dozens of the top whale watching locations to help assist visitors in spotting them. The whales return north in early spring with the peak of the migration between March and April. The Spring Whale Watching Spoken Here program is the last week in March.
There are also resident whales that might be spotted year-round. Your best bet would be to visit the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, an area the whales are known to frequent.
If you plan on doing a fair amount of hiking on your trip, I would definitely plan on two weeks.
A pretty spectacular start to your journey would be Ecola State Park at the north end of Cannon Beach. You’ll have great panoramic views of the local icon Haystack Rock and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse just offshore. There are several hiking trails within the park. Cannon Beach is a cute upscale beach town with an easy to walk downtown filled with boutiques and art galleries. Haystack Rock is known for its easily accessible tidepools and at many low tides the Haystack Rock Awareness Program is on the beach offering interpretive information on tidepools and nesting seabirds including puffins during the spring and summer.
About 10 minutes to the south is Oswald West State Park with more hiking trails. I would recommend the Cape Falcon trail, that is just under five miles roundtrip to the end of the cape and back (a great whale watching spot!). Just a couple minutes to the north on the highway, you climb Neahkahnie Mountain where several highway turnouts offer expansive views hundreds of feet about the surf (another great whale watching location!). There is a nice campground a little further south at Nehalem Bay State Park.
As you continue south, you may want to stop at the Tillamook County Creamery, home of Tillamook Cheese, one of the region’s best known products. Then, I’d make a sidetrip off Highway 101, following signs to Cape Meares and the Three Capes Scenic Route. Cape Meares is just a few minutes away where Cape Meares State Park offers great views and a short walk to a historic lighthouse. Your next stop would be Cape Lookout State Park. This would be another great camping spot with adjacent hiking trails. The last cape on the sidetrip is Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, a sculpted sandstone headland with a giant sand dune on its flank and just offshore is another of Oregon’s Haystack Rocks. You rejoin the highway just south of Pacific City.
The drive between Lincoln City and Newport will offer many views. I’d stop at Boiler Bay State Wayside and the town of Depoe Bay (whales!). Make another off the highway trip to Otter Rock and Devil’s Punchbowl State Park. Just a little further south, you can make Beverly Beach State Park another camping destination before you continue toward Newport. Take time to visit Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural area just north of Newport. There are great views, bird watching, whale watching, a beautiful lighthouse and, if you plan your visit for a good low tide, an incredible tidepool area. In Newport, be sure to visit the Bayfront area and you should probably set aside a minimum of two hours for the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
As you continue south, you may want to make time for a visit to the beach at Seal Rock for more tidepools, then set your sights on the Cape Perpetua Natural Area just south of Yachats. You’ll find some great hiking and beach areas there.
Further south, I’d camp at Honeyman State Park in Florence, offering access to sand dunes and for dune hiking you may also want to stop at the John Dellenback Dunes Trail south of Reedsport.
We’ll be staying in Corvallis for about a week and are most interested in seeing Oregon’s natural wonders. How much could we jam into our itinerary?
I happen to live only 10 miles from Corvallis and love so much about this region so let’s go!
Here are a few links to check out:
I know this is a lot to throw at you but seriously, I’ve been to these place and they are totally worth checking out! I am an avid hiker and love the Oregon outdoors as well. So, please feel free to also check out my blog at www.whitebreadandjam.blogspot.com for more ideas and ways to spend your time here.
You could seriously spend just a week in the Benton and Linn County areas around Corvallis however, if you find time and have a day or two, check out our beautiful Oregon Coast! Newport isn’t that far away and the little town of Nye Beach is quaint and right on the sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean. You can also take a day trip up to see Multnomah Falls as well. One of Oregon’s most beautiful natural wonders and worthy of a good hike around the falls area. Don’t forget your camera!
Believe me when I say I’ve only tapped the tip of the ice berg with this list. There’s so much more to do and see. So, please let me know if I can provide more ideas of places to visit. Have a great trip and enjoy Oregon!