Oregon’s diverse climates and landscapes mean that winter looks completely different, depending on where you go. Whether you’re hunting for champagne powder in the Wallowas or truffle hunting and puddle jumping in the Willamette Valley, Oregon winter means diverse adventures. It’s prime time for visiting some of Oregon’s most spectacular sights.
With a prime location on the banks of the Clackamas River, at the western edge of the Mt. Hood National Forest, Estacada is an ideal spot for recreation lovers. The compact city’s riverfront location has made it popular among swimmers, whitewater rafters and anglers for generations, but even those who prefer staying dry won’t find a lack of things to do — from cycling through the woods to foraging for wild mushrooms.
Oregon’s got snowy trails for everyone, from beginners to longtime trekkers. Where should you explore? Start with these top spots, from easy to advanced.
There’s no shortage of inspiring adventures to embark on at Oregon ski areas. You can learn to take your first turns down a wide-open groomer, ascend a summit under the night sky or take a one-of-a-kind snowcat adventures through acres of untracked powder.
If you’ve never hiked in Oregon in winter, here’s what you’re missing: the drama of rain-flushed waterfalls; seabirds hanging on the updraft of a cliff’s edge; views of the ocean’s stormy moods; and elk and deer browsing on the wintry landscape. You’ll also be experiencing the trails with a whole new seasonal lens: Wildlife is often more active in the winter, waterfalls are fuller, trails are softer and colors of the forest are more vibrant after rainfall.
Winter is the lesser-known, loved-by-locals season when you can experience different kinds of weather all over the state. Yes, you’ll definitely need to pack layers – but it also means fewer crowds at top attractions such as Crater Lake, Smith Rock and Multnomah Falls (and no reservation system needed for Multnomah Falls, either). It means (mostly) peace and serenity outside as you venture out to watch whales, birds and other wildlife at the Coast and beyond.
Winter camping isn’t quite as complicated as it sounds. You just need the right gear, prep time and an adventurous spirit. After that, you’ll be rewarded with a unique type of outdoor experience that summer rarely offers. Get expert tips on pitching your tent for a cool adventure.