I grew up hunting and fishing with my family. These adventures instilled a love of the outdoors in me. I have always loved shooting photos and videos even as a young child. Although, I took a photography class in school and got an F. That didn’t stop me from buying my first digital camera in 1998.
A few years later I moved to Orlando and wakeskated as much as I could. My friends and I would shoot photos and make videos. I eventually moved back to Oregon and never put the camera down – shooting whenever I had the opportunity. There is no better place to shoot than Oregon.
Why Oregon is Heaven for Nature Lovers
Oregon is a diverse place. The coastline boasts sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. In the coastal mountains you can find lush waterfalls and forests. Beautiful valleys with rivers and lakes all around lead up to the formidable Cascade mountain range. Old snow-capped volcanoes reach up to the sky.
Then there’s a vast dry high desert with hidden lakes and a magical river oasis. Further east you can discover sagebrush deserts and incredible mountains and canyons. The diversity of the landscape is just astounding.
Favourite Place to Visit in Oregon, Detroit Lake
My favourite place to explore in Oregon is a place that’s located not too far from where I live. Detroit in Marion County is home to the Detroit Lake and it’s a beautiful spot. It’s not as popular as the places near Portland so you don’t have to worry about big crowds. It has a warm, small community feel.
Best Adventures in Oregon: Top 10 Experiences
Oregon is home to some of the best adventures in the United States. From the spectacle of Crater Lake, to the volcanic landscapes of Fort Rock, to the legendary town of Bend – there’s an adventure for every type of traveler to enjoy in Oregon. Below you can find my top 10 must-do experiences.
1. Take in the Spectacle of Crater Lake
Crater Lake National Park is located in Southern Oregon and is the deepest lake in America. The lake is surrounded by cliffs and boasts a small island in the middle. Some of the best adventures here include hiking through the forests, camping under the stars and cross-country skiing.
2. Travel along the Wind-Swept Oregon Coast
Cruising along the coast is one of the best adventures in Oregon. This 363 mile wind-swept shoreline is all public land and remains free for locals and visitors alike. Discover a world of sand dunes, national parks, bustling harbours and rich wildlife such as whales, seals, crabs and puffins.
3. Climb the Mighty Mount Hood
Mount Hood is one of the most iconic mountains on the West Coast standing at an impressive 11,240 feet high. Over 10,000 climbers make the summit each year making it the most visited snow-covered peak in the US. As well as climbing the summit you can enjoy hiking, skiing and scenic drives.
4. Visit the Waterfalls of Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is the largest designated National Scenic Area in the United States of America and boasts some of the most stunning vistas in the world. Dozens of waterfalls can be found in the Gorge including the famous Multnomah Falls – a spectacular 620 foot waterfall.
5. Explore Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls is known as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks for good reason. The park offers some of the best adventures in Oregon including majestic waterfalls, beautiful backcountry trails for hiking, fantastic horseback riding, campgrounds, lodges and cottages.
6. Discover the Beauty of Mount Jefferson Wilderness
Mt. Jefferson Wilderness covers 104,523 acres of wilderness in the central Cascade Range of Oregon. The best part is that 163 miles of the Wilderness has been designated for trails including a 40 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail. There are over 150 pristine lakes to discover too.
7. Relax at the Legendary Town of Bend
Bend is tucked away in the peaks of the Cascade Mountains and offers an array of awesome attractions that solo travelers, couples and families can all enjoy. You can dine at world-class restaurants, catch an art exhibit, go hiking and biking, enjoy a health spa, go on a helicopter ride, and more!
8. Hike the Three Sisters Wilderness Area
Three Sisters Wilderness comprises three major peaks: the North, Middle and South Sisters. There are approximately 260 miles of trail within the wilderness which you can hike through on day trips or camping trips. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail runs through here for 40 miles.
9. Marvel at the Volcanic Landmark of Fort Rock
Fort Rock is a volcanic tuff ring located on an ice age lake bed in the north Lake County in Oregon. It’s one of the most unique landscapes in the entire United States. The ring is 4,460 feet in diameter and stands at just over 200 feet high – making for an intriguing visit and some amazing photos.
10. Trek up Marys Peak on the Oregon Coast Range
Marys Peak offers stunning views of the sprawling valley below and high Cascade Mountains that surround it. Put on your trekking boots, pack your camera and get ready for an adventurous day of walking through the many trails. This beautiful peak is the highest point on the Oregon Coast Range.
Favourite Memory of Oregon, The Solar Eclipse (2017)
I love shooting the night sky and anywhere in Oregon away from big cities. The Solar Eclipse from a few years ago was one of my best adventures in Oregon that I can remember. I camped for eight days in the woods.
A couple of days were spent alone and then the rest of the time my friends showed up to experience this incredible natural phenomenon with me. I stayed in the same spot for so long and shot time lapses everyday. It was a lot of fun just being outside 24/7 experiencing every second of nature.
Fun-Loving, Adventurous Locals of Oregon
The people of Oregon are a diverse bunch. When I was growing up we had this community feel. It was like strangers helping strangers. Now Oregon has changed a bit. We have experienced a huge spike in people moving here. It’s not the same place it used to be but it’s still pretty awesome.
Change happens and you have to adapt. One thing that remains the same is our love of the outdoors and commitment to living life to the fullest. Whether it be through adventures in nature or supporting local business.
Finger-Licking Food Scene of Oregon
The food in Oregon is awesome. We have a huge variety of restaurants, bars and food carts to satisfy any appetite. Plus there is a massive community of local talent, owner/operator style joints. The people of Oregon love to support local businesses and the food scene is a big one for us.
I recommend trying Azuls Tacos, W Wallace, Annette’s Westgate, Walery’s Pizza, Alibi, Roger that BBQ and Amadaeus just to name a few.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
My number one piece of advice if you come to Oregon is to prepare for all types of weather. The weather can change abruptly without much warning.
I also suggest staying in smaller towns like Sisters, Bend, Hood River, Seaside and Astoria to get a real feel of Oregon. One of my favourite coastal accommodations is The Inn at Arch Cape – a beautiful place to stay.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my guide on the best adventures in Oregon. I hope these travel tips serve you well for your visit in the future!