For a group of three photographers and outdoor enthusiasts, travelling through Oregon was a one-of-a-kind experience. And that’s not just because it’s more than 8,000 km from our home country of France. Every day in Oregon we had the chance to wake up in a different spot, meet new people and get to know the culture and feel of the place. From Portland to Bend, we loved the lifestyles of the diverse cities we visited, each reflecting their own unique roots and different influences — as artists, it was all a true inspiration to us.
Interested in the big thrills we found in Oregon? Follow the journey to our favorite adventures below.
Portland by helicopter
Oregon’s largest city is scenic to explore on foot, but it’s even grander from the air. Flying in a helicopter over downtown Portland was a great experience, helping us get a better feel for the city — and you can’t beat this aerial view. (Thank you, Oregon Helicopters!)
Swinging in the trees
Just west of Portland, Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour in North Plains is a treat. You can escape the busy city for a thrilling adventure above the green forests of the Tualatin Valley. It really feels like you are walking above a tree kingdom.
It was the third day of our Oregon road trip as I looked out of the window at the sun setting over the seemingly infinite beach of Pacific City. Later that day, I parked my 4-wheel-drive car in front of the beach and bought a pack of wood to start a little bonfire with my friends. That moment was magical: We met people who were playing the guitar, and their music echoed as the last light vanished into the horizon.
Riding the Dunes
Fact: The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is home to the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. And the best way to explore it just might be by dune buggy — it was so much fun. Driving through the landscape feels like you are on another planet.
Southern Oregon is known for its remote forests and waterfalls. The day we visited Toketee Falls, we were completely alone walking the trail. The whole area is very relaxing and you can spot different animals wandering around you.
Meeting the mountains
After the first week along the Oregon Coast, we headed to Central Oregon. At 2,763 meters (9,065 feet) tall, Mt. Bachelor is an impressive mountain that is world-famous for its skiing and snowboarding. We took a quick pause from our jam-packed Oregon road trip to go ski touring down the Bachelor at sunset.
Not to be outdone, the next day we climbed up South Sister mountain.
Finding the next location
Next we looked for wild spots to hike and paraglide. We had just a little information about locations and weather conditions. By chance, on the friendly streets of Bend, we met a man named Ari, who was a young paraglider. We bought him lunch and he offered us all his knowledge about the area, such as his favorite paragliding spots in the region and their locations on the map. Names like Pine Mountains and Abert stood out because of their beauty and proximity to the area. Just an hour from Bend, the Pine Mountains is surrounded by vast desert and large pine forests — and they’re outstanding when flying above them.
It is incredible but only 1 hour away from Bend, you can fly over the Pines Mountains, the spot is completely outstanding, flying up there is really amazing, you can see the mountains surrounded by a vast desert, and a large pines forest that cover the mountains sides.
Flying above the rim
The Pine Mountains are one of a kind. They are famous for paragliding, which we love, where you can fly above a lake lost in the middle of the desert. The cliff hike was well worth the flight.
A desert landscape
You can’t travel Oregon without seeing the Alvord Desert — or at least that was what most people we met would say. On the 10th day of our Oregon road trip, we decided to sleep in the Alvord Desert and witness the sun rising over the valley. Turns out all the hype was true; there was nothing like the Alvord Desert, especially at night under a blanket of stars.
Mt. Hood Territory
The Portland Region is a very dynamic area, where you can escape the city easily and get adventurous in wild rivers. We rafted the Clackamas River, which meanders from from the slopes of Mt. Hood to the Willamette River.
You can also float a river in town, as we learned in Oregon City, where we kayaked to Willamette Falls. It’s the second largest waterfall by volume in the United States — and was the best way to end two weeks of thrilling adventures in Oregon.