Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
The summer skiing on Mount Hood rocks! We were just up skiing on Hood yesterday and it was an amazing day. When are you coming, do you need to rent gear, and what would say your ability level is currently? Can’t
My husband and I are planning a trip to Bend in August. We have a 14 month-old and would like to hike somewhere that isn’t too difficult and has some safe swimming holes. Any suggestions?
A great hiking option, relatively flat, is the Deschutes River Trail, which runs right through Bend. The trail system is awesome! People do swim at McKay Park, but it’s not really safe or a swimming hole, necessarily. If you want that, I’d head up to Elk Lake. Especially in August, the water is warm and definitely safe – try the South Beach for a shallow hole. There is a lot of hiking up there, but it’s more mountainous. Have a wonderful trip!
The South Coast is one of the best places to U-pick blueberries, with the prime location being Langlois, just south of Bandon and north of Port Orford. There are a couple of family-run farms just off Highway 101 that mark their location with signs. Look for Jensen’s, which is organic. Berrying usually is at its height in August, and with this year’s cold summer, ripening could be even later.
Various species of blackberries grow all over the southern part of the state, particularly near waterways and will be ripe into September. Black and red huckleberries thrive under fir canopies near the coast. There also are salal berries on the coastal headlands and the more elusive orange-crimson salmonberries.
We are in Roseburg & want to go to Eastern Oregon beyond Crater Lake and head north towards Ione with our travel trailer. We like hiking and biking too. Where should we stop and what should we see on the way?
If you go north from Crater Lake toward Bend on 97, you can then head east on Highway 26. You will pass through wonderful small towns between Prineville and Mitchell as well as plenty of campgrounds and hiking options in the Ochoco National Forest. From Mitchell, you can follow the John Day River on Oregon 19, a beautiful route that will lead you directly to Ione.
My fiance and I are planning on spending our honeymoon in the Bend area. We would like to see as much as we can in 5 days. We would like to see the coast or tidepools, or maybe go on some hikes. What are some great spots to visit for a young active couple on a budget? What is the best way to organize our trip so that we can get the most out of it?
I take it you haven’t been here before? I’ll tell you my top five highlights for the Bend area: The High Desert Museum, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, The Deschutes River Trail, Downtown Bend and Mirror Pond, and The Old Mill District on the Deschutes River. I would devote a day to driving the mountains (Cascade Lakes) and a couple of days to exploring town. Maybe catch a concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater? Maybe head north 45 minutes and spend a day at Smith Rock State Park – it’s spectacular. If you want tidepools and the coast, you’ll need to drive four hours west. Well worth it, but your call if you want to take the time. Enjoy!
The men want to fish for 2 days in late September. We would like to see the best of the Oregon Coast and some inland. Suggestions?
That time frame is ideal for salmon on both the Columbia River and the Oregon Coast.
Tillamook and Nehalem Bays will be heating up (Nearest towns are Tillamook, Garibaldi, Rockaway and Nehalem. The guys can fish while the girls shop, beach comb or explore. I would suggest Garibaldi House as a very nice place to stay. Boat rentals are available at the local marinas on the bays or you could do guided trips.
Fishing on the Columbia R takes place in several locations from Astoria to the Columbia Gorge. There are a few seasonal closure dates on some sections, but it will all be open for most of September.
If not familiar with the Columbia, a guide is highly suggested because of changing seasons as well as fast water, currents, commercial ship traffic and shallows. Please don’t hesitate to ask any more questions, I’d love to help.
Heading from Canada to Crater Lake and Florence. Could you recommend bars in those areas with unique local beers? Many thanks from a thirsty wanderer!
In Florence, your best bets are the Beachcomber Pub (20 taps, with some nice southern Willamette Valley picks) or Wakonda Brewing Co. I actually haven’t been to Wakonda yet, but the reviews are impressive.
Crater Lake isn’t ringed with pubs, so take some beer with you. Oh, and if you’re taking OR 58 from Eugene down to Crater Lake, you must stop in Oakridge at the Brewers Union Local 180. It’s a tiny brewpub run by one of the country’s leading advocates of cask ale. Ask for him if you want to spend an hour in lovely conversation. His name’s Ted and you can tell him I sent you.
We will be staying in Newport in mid-September and would like suggestions for a scenic route to drive to Mt. Hood. We would like to see some of the scenic sights in Central Oregon along the way. Is the Three Sisters area too far off the path?
Well, seeing the Sisters on the way to Mt. Hood isn’t exactly the direct route, but if you are up for a leisurely driving tour of the state, it’s a lovely way to go! From Newport you can head east over the Cascades, seeing many lovely sights along the way. From Bend, head north on Hwy 97 to Mt. Hood. The whole endeavor will take you seven hours +, so if you have time, you might consider staying over a night (maybe in Bend?). You can see the Cascades from parts of I-5 (assuming you took a more direct route from Newport to Hood), but it isn’t nearly the same as seeing those peaks up close.
I was wondering if you could tell me the best area to visit mid-July for fishing. I have two boys ages 13 and 15 that love to fish. -Tammy H.
Here are a few great options around the state to visit with good fishing for the boys:
On the central/southern Oregon Coast check out Siltcoos Lake.
On the northern Oregon Coast, Fort Stevens State Park is a great option. It’s rich in history; there is the beach and a lake for shore fishing for bass, trout and perch.
I’m coming to Ashland to see the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I want to check out some breweries, some wineries, some natural wonders…. I’d LOVE some ‘local’ (that is, somewhat off-the-obvious-path) suggestions of things to check out. -Kristin G.
You’re on the right track with plans to partake of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland’s claim to fame. If you haven’t already, see the Mail Tribune newspaper’s guide to the festival for news and reviews.
If you want to take in the region’s primary natural wonders, plan a day to visit Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park, or Oregon Caves, the state’s first national monument. I always recommend both, but they are several hours’ drive apart. Here’s a recent story from the Mail Tribune to help you decide.
You could spend a couple of days on wineries alone. The Rogue region boasts dozens between Ashland and Medford, known as Bear Creek Boutique Wines. The Applegate Valley has its own “wine trail,” as does the Upper-Rogue region. See the Mail Tribune’s complete guide to wine tasting, as well as local wine coverage by columnist Janet Eastman.
Ashland has a few popular breweries, including Standing Stone and Caldera, but the up-and-comers are in Medford. Check out Southern Oregon Brewing and Walkabout, which is opening its taphouse in July. While you’re in Medford, eat at Downtown Market Co., the town’s No. 1 restaurant on TripAdvisor and one of my personal favorites.
Most of my “locals-only” tips center around food and dining. Ashland is replete with restaurants, particularly around the plaza, but some of the best (and more affordable) dining is removed from the downtown core. I always make a point of eating at Morning Glory for breakfast, Happy Falafel for a fast, inexpensive lunch and a newcomer, called Sauce, for really flavorful, healthy food.
It sounds a little strange, but Ashland Food Co-op in the railroad district does more food-service business than anywhere else in town. It has a salad bar, hot bar and deli that’s fresh, fast and can accommodate any type of diet.
Check out all my Ashland-area dining coverage here.