Instead of Multnomah Falls, head out to Upper McCord Creek Falls, actually a double falls that cascade 64 feet over mossy basalt. (Photo credit: Alamy Stock Photo)
For a different kind of epic perspective of the Coast Range, discover Secret Beach on the South Coast. (Photo credit: Larry Andreasen)
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Appreciate Smith Rock from afar via the Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway and a well-deserved stop at a winery tasting room. (Photo credit: Russ Roca)

We’ve stood at the top, at the bottom, on the bridge and everywhere between, getting that perfect shot of Multnomah Falls. We’ve brought our kids, our dogs, our extended family and our school groups to see the spectacular 620-foot falls in the Columbia Gorge, making it Oregon’s most-visited attraction.

But what if there were a waterfall nearby that was just as impressive — only drew a fraction of the crowds? After you’ve checked Oregon’s iconic shots off your list, here’s where to head with your camera next:

Hood/Gorge

Instead of Multnomah Falls, head out to John B. Yeon Scenic Corridor to one of the dramatic and secluded waterfalls in the area. A family- and dog-friendly 2.2-mile hike leads to Upper McCord Creek Falls, actually a double falls that cascade 64 feet over mossy basalt. Get creative with your photos here — the reflection of shadows and sunlight on the water as its filters through the trees adds drama to the shot, a million shades of green in one frame — and no one to get in the way.

Coast Range

Everyone wants to climb the giant sand dune at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City for that crazy Instagram shot from the top. For your safety, make sure you heed posted signage and stay within the fencing. But for a different kind of epic perspective of the Coast Range, discover Secret Beach on the South Coast in Brookings. With no official parking lot or designation, you can find it through a short trail that starts between Spruce Island and Thunder Cove. Snap that stunning shot of your personal beach with a breathtaking view of the rock formations and rocky coastline. Just don’t tell anyone about it.

Central Oregon

Smith Rock is more than a world-renowned climbing spot — it’s pretty darn picturesque too. But next time you’re in the area, get your workout on two wheels while cruising the Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway. At 36 miles, the single-day ride is an exhilarating way to experience the region’s landscape — from the curves of the Deschutes River to the peaks of the Cascade Mountains and dramatic faces of Smith Rock. About halfway through, stop for a well-deserved rest and money shot at Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards, where you can see the shining red beacon of Smith Rock and the Three Sisters from the tasting room.

Southern Oregon

Crater Lake is iconic Oregon, there’s no doubt about it. But once you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the park, it’d be a shame to overlook all of Oregon’s dozens of other pristine lakes, with plenty of opportunity for fishing and other fun on the water. Applegate Lake, south of Medford at the southern border of the state, provides a blissful retreat, with hike-in campgrounds and unmatched picnic, boat and swim spots along the shore.

about author Jen Anderson

Jen Anderson writes and edits Travel Oregon's e-newsletters and other online content. She loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two young boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Bevem says…

    What about Eastern Oregon? Lots of stop worthy places on the other side- Hells Canyon, The Wallowa Mountains, historic towns, the Oregon Trial Interpretive Center. Your article missed half the state!

    Written on April 5th, 2017 / Flag this Comment
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