Outdoor Adventure Search Results
It sounds like you already have an idea of some of the best things to do in Oregon (skiing!), and you really can’t go wrong with either option, but I can offer some more details that might help you decide.
March tends to be the best month for skiing in the Cascades! We usually get quite a bit of snow in February and March. You’ll want to make sure to factor this into your travel plans and be prepared for snow conditions if you drive to Sisters or even up to Mt. Hood via Hwy 26. Bend is about three hours from the Portland area in good conditions, but it is a gorgeous drive over the mountains. Sisters, Bend, and Sunriver are all great options in terms of small towns with shops, good restaurants and breweries, though Bend and Sisters have a little bit more to offer simply due to their larger size. Bend and Sunriver are closer to Mt. Bachelor, which is convenient especially if the weather is inclement. I love exploring the little shops in both Bend and Sisters and I would be happy to recommend places to eat or drink if you’re interested.
If you opt for Mt. Hood, you certainly won’t have to drive as far and it would be easy to ski one day and check out the Columbia River Gorge for another day or two. Sandy and Government Camp are cute small towns, and Government Camp has some yummy food options and also the feeling of being in a real mountain town. For small shops to check out, I’d suggest Hood River. It’s a great town at the base of Mt. Hood and right on the Columbia River. There are plenty of quaint shops, cafés, breweries and restaurants, and there’s a nice path for walking along the river. It’s also close to both Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area and many of the best Columbia River Gorge hiking trails.
If I were you, with three days to spend after flying into PDX, I would probably head for Hood River and ski Mt. Hood Meadows, then check out Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge. I think you could do the most from there. However, like I said, you really can’t go wrong with either option!
Everything within 3 hours of Portland right now (October) is going to be gorgeous. So I’ve put together a few lists for you.
Columbia River Gorge:
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.
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.
|Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge, Outdoor Adventure|
I’ve fielded quite a few difficult questions, but this might take the cake. My initial response is, “why not both?”
If you have time for both, obviously it’s a no-brainer.
If not, there is no ultramarine blue that comes close to Crater Lake. I wish I was kidding when I say this but the first time I saw Crater Lake in person, I cried. Seriously. It is so beautiful. And it’s history is so interesting. Can you imagine: a mountain, taller than Mt. Hood, standing in it’s place? Can you imagine it erupting, spewing lava and ash and smoke and debris and then just sitting empty for hundreds of years? Yeah. Me neither.
But also, can you imagine a giant hole in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rich soil and a resilient ecosystem slowly coming back to life, one saved raindrop at a time? You probably can’t. At least I couldn’t anyway, until I saw it for myself.
I vote Crater Lake. The water is cold, crisp and refreshing if you’re up for cliff jumping. The views are jaw-dropping if you’re into sunset or killer views, or both. The hiking is rewarding if you’re up for old fire lookout vista picnics. The food is decent, I’d bring a few snacks. But Crater Lake wine is something you won’t want to leave without trying.
Novice tip for you: fill up your gas tank before you get to the park. There are no stations and people run out ALL THE TIME. Don’t be one of them.
|Outdoor Adventure, Southern Oregon|
I wish my parents were as cool as you are when I was a kid! So it depends when your vacation will start but if it’s this summer, which I’m assuming it is… here’s a quick list of places you can check out within your six-day trip:
From Portland, Head to the Columbia River Gorge
Your easiest coastal options from Portland are Tillamook (left) or Seaside/Astoria (right) as the road splits. If you’re a Goonies fan, you might want to lean right and head toward Astoria. Stop at Ft. Stevens State Park and check out the Peter Iredale Shipwreck on the beach before heading into Astoria for some fresh seafood. If you can find the Goonies House, it’s worth a peek.
If you decide to head towards Cannon Beach or Tillamook, stop at Ecola State Park and hike down to Indian Beach. This is a great place to watch surfers shred some seriously cold water. But it’s also a picturesque rocky, wild, Oregon beach. Watch out for the wild elk that like to roam the area. They’re friendly, just big.
Tillamook is known for it’s cheese and ice cream. So if you have chance to swing into the factory and get in line for the massive scoops of ice cream, it might be worth your time. You can also sample the squeaky cheese upstairs.
If you continue heading south, check out the Arch Cape or the Tillamook Bay Ocean Spit, a seven-mile roundtrip hike that remains flat and tours you alongside the freshwater bay and then wraps you back around to the ocean. Seashells are abundant and there are plenty of photo opportunities, trails to explore, and interested things to see. Once, I found seven starfish attached to the rocks on the jetty at the half-way point.
From here, if you can swing it, there’s a cool place called The Jetty Fishery. It’s a crabbing outfitter that allows you to rent boats and try your hand at catching dinner. The staff is amazing, hilarious, and also very knowledgeable. If you’ve never crabbed before, no worries, they’ll show you exactly what to do. And (!) when you bring back a bucket full of Oregon Dungeness crab, they’ll cook it up for you as you relax by the fire pit. How cool is that?
There’s so much more to see and do along the Coast! All of the following are within driving distance from Cannon Beach and are great places to check out:
You heard correctly, the PNW is a very dog-friendly place. You can hike in any State Park with your dog as long as you keep them on a leash and clean up after them. And if you’re looking for a few different, non-state park hikes, checkout Oregon Hikers Field Guide. In each description of every hike, it’ll tell you whether or not it’s dog-friendly. And if you’re still looking, check out the book, Best Hikes for Dogs in Oregon.
There are SO many places in Oregon to mountain bike, but I’ll try to narrow them down to the BEST. Are you ready?
Top 5 recommendations:
Google any of these and your mind might explode. There are just so many awesome places to go. In fact, if you haven’t been to Oakridge, I just went and it blew my mind. There are mountain bike trails, waterfalls, hot springs, and a proper English pub called the Local 180.
Let me know if you have any questions or need to find a place to rent a mountain bike. The Mountain Shop in NE Portland is probably your best bet for a quality ride.
|Cycling, Outdoor Adventure|
||Fishing, Outdoor Adventure|
If you have a rental car, everything you’ll want to do will be easy! There are a ton of great, kid and adult friendly hikes around the area that I’m sure you’ll love.
If you’re looking for vistas and mountain views:
If you’re looking for forested tree tunnels and waterfalls:
If you’re looking for places to ski:
There’s also dog-sledding at Mt. Bachelor! It could make a good day/overnight trip to ski at Mt. Bachelor and then do a dog-sled tour in the backcountry.
My favorite hikes if you head towards Bend:
Also, would you like to soak in some natural hot springs?
If you need any rentals or gear for any of the adventures you’ll go on, I’d highly, highly recommend stopping into the Mountain Shop in Portland. They’re the oldest (and greatest, in my opinion) gear shop in the country.
Have the best time in Oregon!
|Outdoor Adventure, Snow Sports|
October is my favorite month and dogs are my favorite humans — so you’re in good hands.
When I first moved to Portland I picked up this book and it’s changed my life. And my dog’s. But really, most of the trails in and around Portland are dog-friendly as long as your dog remains on a leash. All of the hikes in the Gorge allow dogs (on-leash) and everywhere near Mt. Hood allows dogs — so long as you’re not trying to forge the Elliot Glacier washout. Because that would be dangerous for everyone involved.
|Outdoor Adventure, Portland|