Oregon’s natural beauty is here for everyone. Our rushing waterfalls, verdant hiking trails and scenic viewpoints inspire people of all ages and ability levels. For those with limits to their mobility, we offer the following scenic spots as great options for enjoying the breathtaking splendor of Oregon.
Salt Creek Falls, the second highest waterfall in Oregon, is a dramatic, 286-foot pour-over and a sight to behold. A short loop trail from the parking lot and informative kiosk leads to a viewing platform overlooking the dramatic cascade. Pack a picnic and enjoy the beauty of the Willamette National Forest. The trailhead is located just five miles west of the Willamette Pass Ski Area on Highway 58.
The Row River National Recreation Trail winds along the former tracks of the Oregon Pacific and Eastern Railway between the towns of Cottage Grove and Culp Creek. The 15.6-mile route offers views of several historic covered bridges and the train bridge featured in the movie “Stand By Me.” Look for osprey, heron, ducks and bald eagles. Jump on the trail in Cottage Grove or from the scenic Mosby Creek Bridge.
Columbia Gorge/Mt. Hood
In the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the historic highway climbs high above the steep sides of the Gorge for awesome vistas. Stop at the Portland Women’s Forum State Overlook above Rooster Rock State Park, the first viewpoint along the highway. Travel a bit farther to the elegant Vista House perched on the basalt outcropping of Crown Point 733 feet above the river. Go just a bit farther to find awesome Multnomah Falls spilling a total of 620 feet — the tallest waterfall in the state.
Just west of Hood River, find the serene waters of Lost Lake and enjoy stunning views of Mt. Hood. Also in the region, the Lost Creek Campground has a paved, 0.3-mile nature trail with streamside platforms and interpretive signage to educate visitors about this part of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Nearby at Trillium Lake, a 3.6-mile loop trail crosses wetland areas with great bird-watching opportunities and gorgeous views of Mt. Hood.
Paved paths at the National Historic Oregon Trail Center in Baker City lead to the historic wagon ruts in the backdrop of the beautiful Baker Valley and more than four miles of interpretive trails. (Visitors can borrow wheelchairs and strollers.) A quarter-mile boardwalk trail and picnic area at the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds affords close-up views of the stunning red and gold clay. The Hells Canyon Overlook just off the scenic byway offers panoramic views of the canyon and Seven Devils Mountains. Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon’s newest state park, makes a great picnic spot in the rugged landscape of the John Day River.
The town of Lincoln City offers a range of accessibility resources on its website, including a list of best beach access points and oceans views. Check out SW 51st Street, where you can see the rich birdlife on Siletz Bay and view the ocean. NW 26th Street has a great viewing platform, and from NW 15th, you can drive right down onto the beach (don’t get stuck in the sand!). The 2.5-mile Spring Lake Trail just off of NE 14th Street is a moderate nature trail through old growth forest and home to a 400-year-old Sitka Spruce. Just north of the town of Newport at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, visitors can see a host of wildlife, including seabirds, whales and seals. Visit the lighthouse by way of a paved three-quarter mile path.
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about author Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.
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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.