January is a month for aspirations — a time for mapping out the “you” you want to be. But while you craft lofty workout regimens and money-saving strategies, there’s one thing you shouldn’t forget to plan for: fun. Whether it’s ticking items off your Oregon outdoor bucket list, expanding your culinary palette or adding to your group of adventure buddies, goals that make your soul happy deserve space on your calendar. Oregon is the perfect setting for each joyous accomplishment. Here are some ideas to get your new year off to the right start.
Spark Wonder With a New Activity
If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I’d like to try that someday,” you’ve already got some fodder for your fun-filled New Year’s resolution. For those itching to spend a day gliding across the snow atop one of Oregon’s iconic mountains, it’s easy to learn to ski or snowboard at Mt. Hood Meadows (which offers lessons for the kids, too). If you’re after an even more adrenaline-fueled experience, consider adding snowmobiling to your list, while those eyeing a more relaxing excursion might try snowshoeing — there are a number of guided snow tours across the state that include everything from equipment to transportation and instruction for a stress-free winter experience.
In the warmer months, North Umpqua Outfitters offers a number of ways to get your feet wet rafting, kayaking and canoeing in Southern Oregon’s Wild and Scenic rivers. Hiking, camping and backpacking are fabulous ways to experience Central Oregon’s outdoors, and Bend-based Wanderlust Tours shows off the region with sightseeing tours, cave tours, photography tours and more. If you love a curated food experience, check out Go Wild’s A Taste of History tour, which combines the storied history of charming Baker City in Eastern Oregon with its tasty and walkable downtown food scene. If you’d rather get hands-on and expand your skills in the kitchen, you can do so while contributing to a good cause with a virtual cooking class through Portland-based nonprofit Feed the Mass. How about an all-inclusive tour that caters to all of your food-loving, outdoor-adventuring dreams? Portland adventure company Camp Yoshi offers a three-day Oregon Outback glamping experience that welcomes diverse visitors of all backgrounds and skill levels.
Follow a (Hiking, Beer, Wine or Cheese) Trail
If you’re passionate about Oregon’s outdoors and culinary bounty, why not take your appreciation to the next level with a stretch goal, to keep it interesting all year long. Oregon is a land of many trails, of all types, and there’s nothing more gratifying than conquering a trail, piece by piece. You can plan to hike a different trail every month, or better yet, make a look to bite off pieces of Oregon’s longest trails, completing one over the course of the year. Mountain bikers will swoon over the epic Oregon Timber Trail, which has great options for weekend exploration if super rugged is your thing. Kayakers, canoers and stand-up paddlers have 187 miles of playground on the Willamette River Water Trail, which can be experienced as one long adventure or broken out into day trips or overnight excursions.
Then there’s the figurative trails. Craft-beer fans can plan to visit every stop over a period of time on the Bend Ale Trail, the Tualatin Ale Trail or the North Coast Beer Trail. If you need extra motivation, many of these trails have apps and passports to redeem for prizes after completion. Wine lovers might chart a course along any of Oregon’s distinct 21 wine-growing regions to sample the broad variety of pinots, rieslings, syrahs, zinfandels and nearly 100 other varietals. Try the Applegate Valley Wine Trail, the Mt. Hood Wine Trail or the South Willamette Wine Trail to discover new and old favorites. Did someone say cheese? Yes, there’s an Oregon Cheese Trail representing more than 20 artisan producers across the state; download a map and treat yourself to lots of cheesy fun.
Let’s not forget Oregon’s official food trails, the perfect blueprint for any foodie-inspired road trip. Carve out a few weekends to check out the farm stands, eateries and culinary experiences along the trail or plan an epic trip to explore all at once. Some of the state’s newest are the High Desert Food Trail, the Central Coast Food Trail and the Great Oaks Food Trail in the Willamette Valley.
Share Your Passion
Another way to keep the fun vibes flowing is to join a group of like-minded adventurers. Parents with young children might find their exploration buddies through Hike It Baby, a group with Portland- and Eugene-based communities dedicated to removing barriers for outdoorsy families. In Central Oregon, Vamanos Outside works to connect the Spanish-speaking community with the region’s vast outdoor scene. The Portland Bicycling Club is one of many local groups open to anyone looking to try out new routes on two wheels in the region. Runners in the Willamette Valley will find it easier to stay motivated, find races and connect with training partners by joining the Eugene Running Club. Joining a group not only keeps you motivated to get outside and stay involved — it can lay the groundwork for taking your passion to the next level.