Oregon has some of the most beautiful scenery on the West Coast. There are a lot of moody coastlines, green mountains, and beautiful waterfalls, and many of them are easy to get to from nearby towns and cities. U.S. News chose the best places to visit in Oregon based on cost, sights, traveler feedback, and expert opinion.
They also took into account how good the food is, which is another great thing about the state. Want to say what you think? Make sure to vote below to change the list for next year.
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Oregon
Oregon is known for both its natural beauty and the beauty of its cities. Portland, the state’s biggest city, is known around the world for having a culture that is unique and welcoming.
The best things to do in Portland include going to rose gardens, art museums, and a huge bookstore. And this city is just one of many great places to live in Oregon.
Bend is a town about three hours southeast of Portland that is a great place to spend a weekend if you like to try new things. People who live here love the outdoors and spend their weekends kayaking in the river that goes through the city, hiking on one of the many trails nearby, or snowboarding on Mt. Bachelor, which is just outside of town.
Bend has a lot of outdoor things to do, but it also has craft breweries, cute shops, delicious restaurants, fancy mountain cabins, hot pools to relax in, and the list goes on and on. During your trip to Oregon, you should definitely stop by this town.
2. Lake Crater
Crater Lake is one of the best places to visit in Oregon. The US National Parks system includes Crater Lake, which is in Central Oregon. After a huge eruption a few thousand years ago, Mount Mazama fell apart, leaving this volcanic crater.
It is thought that the lake is about 2,000 feet deep, making it the deepest in the US and the third deepest in the world. Though some people think it doesn’t end. The lake is so clear you can’t believe how blue it is. The “Old Man of the Lake” is a tree trunk that has been bobbing up and down in the water for 100 years.
3. Gorge in the Columbia River
The Cascade Mountains are cut through by the Columbia River, which now forms a natural border between Oregon and Washington. You can stop along the way for short or long walks, or just to look at the beautiful waterfalls. There are also a lot of great places to see the scenery.
The Historic Columbia River Highway follows the river, and you can enjoy the high cliffs, lush greenery, and many waterfalls as you drive along. Multnomah Falls is busy, but you have to stop there on your way. You should also stop at Bridal Veil and Latourell Falls.
4. Gorge of Oneonta
Oneonta Gorge is one of the best places to see on an Oregon road trip. Oneonta Gorge is in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Both locals and visitors like to hike there. But there isn’t a path like there is on most hiking tracks.
You’ll park, walk down to the water, and then start hiking through the creek. You’ll soon come to a big pile of logs that you’ll have to climb over, so be careful. Especially on weekends, there are usually a lot of people here.
5. River Hood
Hood River is a cute little town in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which is about an hour east of Portland. It gets a lot of kiteboarders from all over the country because it is always windy. It also pulls people from Portland who want to get away for the weekend. Locals know it’s one of the best places to visit in Oregon, especially since it’s only a short drive from the city.
Hood River is a great place to spend a long weekend even if you don’t kiteboard or sail. In the pedestrian-friendly center, you’ll find places to eat delicious brunch, lively breweries with industrial-style tasting rooms, cute shops, and art galleries. You’ll have plenty to do to fill your days. It’s a great place to stop on a road trip through the Pacific Northwest.
6. Painted Hills
When you go to the Painted Hills, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. The dirt on the hills has layers of different colors, and the yellow, black, and red colors look like they were put on with long, horizontal brush strokes. In the late afternoon, the colors are at their most vivid. You’ll want to spend a few hours here, walking along the walks and looking at how the colors change with the light.
The Painted Hills are one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders, along with a few other places on this list, so of course you should go there. They are also part of the John Day Fossil Beds, so there are a lot of other beautiful places close to visit. We especially liked Blue Basin, where you can walk either the Islands in Time Trail or the Blue Basin Overlook Trail. It feels like you’re on another planet when you walk through the bright blue river.
7. The Wallowa Range
The best places to visit and see on an Oregon road trip: The Wallowa Mountains
The beautiful Wallowa Mountains are in northeastern Oregon, near Hells Canyon. People who like the outdoors and want to hike and see the beauty of Oregon like to go there.
You can still enjoy the Wallowa Mountains even if hiking isn’t your favorite thing to do. The Wallowa Lake Tramway will take you to the top of Mount Howard, which is more than 8,000 feet high. From here, you can see a beautiful view of the whole area. At the top, you can hike along two miles of trails that aren’t too hard.
8. Desert of Alvord
Most people don’t know that in Southeastern Oregon, in the shadow of the Steens Mountains, there is a huge dry lakebed. The play here is like the one in Black Rock City, where Burning Man is held every year, but it is much smaller and less busy.
This 127-mile desert area is the best place to go if you want to camp in the middle of a huge playa or set a land speed record.
9. Strawberry Lake
Strawberry Mountain Wilderness is one of the best places to visit in Oregon.
The Strawberry Mountain Wilderness is 68,700 beautiful acres in the Malheur National Forest, which is east of John Day, Oregon. The Strawberry Mountain Range, which lives up to its name, makes a beautiful setting for the lush plants you’ll find here.
One of the best lakes in Oregon, Strawberry Lake, is also in this area. The trail is a 6.2-mile out-and-back that gets a lot of use and has a moderate level of challenge. Both Strawberry Lake and Little Strawberry Lake will be open for you to see. The reflection of this amazing small lake at a high elevation is very beautiful.
10. The Hart Mountain
The best places to visit in Oregon are: Hart Mountain Refuge for Wild Antelope
The Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a rough area of land in the backwoods of southern Oregon that protects more than 300 different kinds of wildlife.
There are some roads that are well-kept and some that are rough and made for off-roading. Here, you’ll need four-wheel drive and a high clearance.
This is also a place where shooting is allowed during certain times of the year to keep the number of animals in check. Fishing is another popular thing to do in the area for fun. Most people like to watch animals and take pictures here because there are so many things to do.
When you think of Oregon, you might picture the city of Portland, which is known for hipsters and craft beer. Or maybe you think of lumberjacks cutting down old-growth trees while wearing denim pants. We have all of that, plus a lot more.
Oregon has beautiful waterfalls, dry deserts, snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers, steaming hot springs, a beautiful seashore, and the friendliest people. I could talk about this state for hours.