We had a great two-week trip around Oregon (with a slight detour into Washington) at the end of the summer. We were amazed by how varied the scenery was – from rocky coast to volcanoes to high desert. I think every other word out of our mouths was “Wow!” We got so much helpful information from reading the Oregon forum that we wanted to report back.
When we arrived, we headed up to the Mt. St. Helens area. We spent a day traveling the Spirit Lake Highway to MSH, stopping at the visitors centers and overlooks along the way. We enjoyed the films at each visitors center, particularly the first-person accounts. Astoria was our next stop (took the ferry at Cathlamet) and we enjoyed the view from the Astoria Column, the Maritime Museum, and Fort Clatsop. We headed south down the coast from there. I’ve lost track of all the viewpoints and parks where we stopped, but it would be an understatement to say that there were many places we would have liked to have stopped if we had been spending a week on the coast. We did visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and it was very crowded. (But worth it for the ice cream.) We were lucky enough to see a whale just offshore at Depoe Bay. After overnighting in Yachats, we drove up to the Cape Perpetua viewpoint for the impressive view. Other stops along the way included: Cape Foulweather, Oregon Dunes, Arch Rock, Ophir Beach, Umpqua Lighthouse, Face Rock, Cooks Chasm. Enjoyed detours through Port Orford and Bandon. Crater Lake was next and we were not disappointed by all the rave reviews we had read about it. The Bybee wildfire was burning so there was a fair amount of smoke around, but the scenery was still remarkable. The highlight of that stop was getting up early and watching the sunrise over the lake. The Newberry Volcanic Monument Visitors Center/Lava Butte was one of our favorite sites. Great views from the top of the butte. We headed over to NE Oregon via Baker City and the Hells Canyon Byway, amazed by the striking scenery. The visitors center at the John Day Fossil Beds was worth a visit as was the National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center outside of Baker City. We took Forest Service Rt. 39 to get to Joseph and stopped at the Hells Canyon Overlook – very dramatic scenery. We even came across some cattle meandering down the middle of the road. After a stay in Joseph, which was very relaxing, it was on to Hood River. It was very windy when we were there, so the windsurfers were out in force. We finished our trip with a few days in Portland (via the Historic Columbia River Hwy.). Our Portland favorites were the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. We also liked sitting in Pioneer Square and just watching all the activity. There was even a fireworks show on the river one evening, which we thought was a nice finale to our trip.
There were many other places we would have liked to visit and sites we would have liked to see, but nevertheless it was a great trip and we enjoyed every minute of it. We’ll just have to come back!