Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
We love sightseeing, wineries and hiking and will be arriving in Portland. Which are the best wineries to visit for a day?
There are many places I would recommend to you, though given your tight schedule, to explore one region in the valley might be your best bet.
I would highly recommend checking out wineries in the Dundee Hills AVA, located near Dundee, OR (right on 99-W). My top picks would be:
• White Rose – ask for Gavin; beautiful, elegant wines.
That should be a full day – typically I recommend no more than 3-4 wineries in a day.
I would like to visit Eastern Oregon. I know it is very remote, so I would like to know the places to see by car. I plan for 3-4 days on the road, after which I will return to Portland. Any suggestions on where to go?
Eastern Oregon is off the beaten path, but you’ve planned the right amount of time for exploring it by car. There are several incredible summer routes, depending on how far you want to venture and your interests.
Here are two dramatic driving routes to check out with key points of interest:
Since you only have a few days, you will probably want to make a loop out of one of these driving routes. I recommend a different stop each night to get the full experience and to lighten the driving load.
In Turner, the Enchanted Forest is super fun if you know ahead of time that this ain’t Disney. In Independence, they have the Wings of Wonder butterfly exhibit. Evergreen Aviation Museum is fun and the Wings and Waves Waterpark is like nothing else!
In Salem there is the A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery House Children’s Museum. Silver Falls is pretty to hike. Splash! Lively Swim Park in Springfield has a wave pool, water slide and lots of other cool things.
There is also a roller rink in Springfield and Cascades Raptor Center is in Eugene. Fir Point Farms has goats that climb into trees to eat! Where else are you going to find that? I love this list as it provides so many activities that involve nature.
If you happen to make it to the Wings of Wonder exhibit, please also stop in Albany, where you find the sweetest Carousel Museum and Carving Studio. Take the tour and see the animals coming to life step by step. You may see carvers hand carving the animals, painters and more volunteers bringing this project to its eventual ending and assembly in about 5 years.
Whenever I vacationed as a child in Roseburg, we always went to Wildlife Safari in nearby Winston. This is the ultimate kid-friendly activity around Roseburg. Check out this story from the Mail Tribune newspaper’s Joy magazine about the attraction.
If you still need more to keep the kids busy, there’s also the fish ladder at Winchester Dam on the Umpqua River just north of town for an educational experience that’s also fun.
My wife and I will be traveling four days from Bend to the Oregon Caves. What should we do in between?
If Oregon Caves already is on your itinerary and you’re coming from Bend, you shouldn’t miss Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake. Along with the Caves, it’s this region’s premiere attraction, as noted in this recent story for the Mail Tribune newspaper.
If you’re coming from Bend south, the most logical route is through the Cascades right past Crater Lake on part of the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway. After Crater Lake, stop at the natural bridge area and Mill Creek Falls. If you keep taking the byway from Highway 62 to Highway 234, you’ll pass right by locals’ favorite spot for hiking, the Table Rocks. These mesas are among the region’s
There also are several opportunities for world-class whitewater rafting on the Rogue River between Shady Cove and Grants Pass. Lodging along this route is available at Diamond Lake Resort, Prospect Hotel, Edgewater Inn in Shady Cove, yurts at the region’s best state park, Valley of the Rogue, as well as numerous options in Grants Pass.
My wife and I are visiting Oregon for three weeks starting and ending in Eugene. We would like to see as many of the waterfalls as we can. Which are the best areas to see them?
We have a lot of waterfalls here in Oregon and I have been fortunate in that I have seen many of them. I will say the most spectacular of course is our Multnomah Falls area. I would plan to spend at least most of a day in this area. I have hiked the Wahkeena Falls Hike counter clockwise and will say, it was a killer but I would do it again in a heartbeat! In fact, I’m in the planning stages to do it again with some folks that have never been. It’s about 5 miles long and if you want your fill of waterfalls, this is the place to do it! We took a backpack lunch and lots of water to drink and even soaked our feet at the very top so plan on taking your sweet time if this is something you think you want to check out.
Whether you hike the Wahkeena Trail or not, the whole area there and the drive on the Historic Columbia River Highway is spectacular! Lots more waterfalls, a winding road with foliage and old trees worthy of stopping to explore.
While you’re near the Hood River Valley, I would continue on and take an easy hike on the Tamanawas Falls Trail. I’ve done this easy hike several times and if you are taking someone with you, don’t tell them what’s at the end of the trail. It’s a surprise!
Around the Salem and Silverton area, check out our gorgeous Silver Falls. This is where we take all of our visitors and friends when they want to see waterfalls. You can choose to admire the falls from the park, a short “easy” hike or a longer more strenuous hike… your choice! The park is beautiful and you can most certainly spend a whole day enjoying it.
There are lots of places right outside of Eugene as well to see waterfalls. The easiest walk I took was to see Sahalie Falls. My friends at the Eugene, Cascades and Coast Adventure Center will be happy to assist you in finding even more if you are interested! Please visit the adventure center while you are in Eugene if you’d like to learn even more about our Willamette Valley and the Eugene area.
I have lots more ideas and some places I am sure I have been and enjoyed when it comes to waterfalls so if you’d like even more info, let me know.
Thanks for your question and have a wonderful trip!
Yes, there is an alpine slide on Mt Hood, located at Ski Bowl East. In addition to the slide, they have 20+ activities available,
Enjoy planning your adventure!
|Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge|
We plan to be in the Willamette Valley for 2 days. Please suggest a town where we can say that would be convenient for touring the vineyards and sampling some good food without being too touristy.
Three places came to mind when I read your question. They are McMinnville, Eugene and Albany! Three very different Oregon towns each offering what you are looking for. First of all, McMinnville is situated more in the Northern region of wine country. It’s has a
Eugene is further south but also perfectly situated for wine tasting, touring without being too touristy and a place where you will find
Albany is smaller town of only about 50,000 pop. Home to several delicious restaurants as well, it’s also home to Matt Bennett, a James Beard Award Nominated Chef! He owns three restaurants downtown, one of which I send all of our visitors to who are looking for a true taste of the Pacific Northwest: Sybaris. Albany is also located in the middle between McMinnville and Eugene so a perfect spot if you are wanting to get as much as possible from all areas of the Willamette Valley.
|Hotel Recommendations, Willamette Valley|
I will be traveling from Portland to Baker City and want to take 2 days for the trip. I love art/sculpture, local crafts, scenery and small towns. Can you suggest a good overnight point for my first night?
I recommend a driving route on the Old West Highway (26) that will take you over Mt Hood, through small towns along Highway 26 and along the scenic John Day River directly to Baker City. The total driving time is about 7 hours.
For your first night—if you’re up for driving—is the quaint town of Mitchell, Oregon, about 4 hours away from Portland. If you’d like to save the bulk of your driving and sightseeing for the next day, treat yourself to a night at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.
A great music festival is the The Bronze, Blues & Brews music festival. Over Labor Day weekend is Juniper Jam, a great showcase of regional musicians in the folk/rock tradition. I highly recommend both. Two important cultural festivals include the Maxville Gathering that celebrates the logging history in Oregon and the annual Nez Perce art show. One of the biggest and most celebrated festivals is the Pendleton Roundup in September.
If there’s a particular type of festival or one in another part of Eastern Oregon you’d like to know more about, please let me know.