Oregon is a state that is filled with natural beauty. If you are looking for an outdoor adventure, or just someplace to relax and take in the scenery, Oregon has something to offer you.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the most beautiful places to visit in Oregon. Whether you are looking for a quiet nature hike, or want to check out some of the state’s amazing waterfalls, you will find what you are looking for here.
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Crater Lake National Park is one of the most stunning places in Oregon. The deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake is surrounded by towering cliffs and blanketed in snow for much of the year. In the summer, visitors can take advantage of the many hiking trails that wind around the lake or take a boat tour around Wizard Island. The flat one-mile trail to the Discovery Point viewpoint is a great trail for all abilities. It’s easy and scenic with an amazing reward at the end.
The centerpiece of the park is, of course, Crater Lake, a gorgeous blue body of water that was formed after the eruption of a volcano. There are no rivers or streams that feed into Crater Lake, so all water in the lake comes from snowmelt and rain precipitation, keeping the water clear and a mesmerizing blue. The views from the rim of the crater are simply breathtaking.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable driving experience, look no further than the Rim Road around Crater Lake. Recognized as one of the most scenic byways in America, the 33-mile Rim Road provides stunning views of the lake and its surroundings, with several pullovers to enjoy the scenery. The road is open from late May to early October, and weather conditions can vary greatly during that time. However, no matter what the weather is like, the views from Rim Road are sure to take your breath away.
Whether you’re looking for dramatic scenery or peaceful solitude, you’ll find it at Crater Lake National Park.
Contributed by Debbie Fettback from World Adventurists
Smith Rock State Park
When visiting Oregon, you typically think of mountains, volcanoes, and beautiful waterfalls, as these natural wonders fill the state.
But something that people don’t usually think of is a desert landscape with giant rocks jutting out of the ground.
But that’s exactly what Smith Rock State Park is, located just 30 minutes north of Bend, in Terrebonne.
This beautiful and unique state park is something unlike anything else you’ll find in Oregon, and almost feels like it belongs in Utah!
At over 650 acres of land, Smith Rock State Park is made up of giant rock faces that were created of compressed volcanic ash from millions of years ago. Because of the unique nature of this park and everything that you can see from it, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Oregon.
Hikers enjoy one of the most popular trails in the park, the Misery Ridge Trail, because it offers unmatched views of the area.
After you’ve completed the difficult and steep climb to the top, you’ll be met with views of Monkey Face Rock within the state park, the Three Sisters, and many other mountains in the distance.
If you prefer a shorter hike, consider taking the River Trail, which covers a large area of the park without having to climb huge amounts of elevation.
Smith Rock is also one of the best places for rock climbing within the state, with over 2,000 routes to choose from, from beginner to advanced.
Whether you’re a hiker, climber, or neither, a visit to Smith Rock State Park will surely leave you breathless.
Contributed by Kassidy Olson of The Hiking Helper
One of the most beautiful places in Oregon to visit in Thor’s Well (at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. This amazing natural feature looks like an endless sinkhole that fills with the waves of the ocean. Originally, Thor’s Well was a cave that has collapsed. This collapse left a hole at the top and bottom of the cave.
At high tide, the ocean waves make their way up to the surface and spray water out through the top of the hole. High tide is the best time to see Thor’s Well however it is still impressive to see a couple hours before and after high tide.
There is a short walk from the parking lot down to Thor’s Well. While looking at Thor’s Well make sure to stay in a safe stop and never turn your back to the ocean. It is advised to stay on the side of the well closest to the coast. It is dangerous to go between the well and the ocean.
There is water on the rocky lava area, so it is a good idea to wear water shoes with good grip.
Thor’s Well is about 30 minutes north of Florence in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.
While in the area, be sure to check out Cook’s Chasm and Devil’s Churn. There are also lots of fun things to do in nearby Florence.
Contributed by Candice of CS Ginger Blog
Portland Japanese Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden is an urban oasis that is nestled in Washington Park and is one of many amazing places to visit when in Portland, OR. It is spectacular to visit at ANY time of the year but is particularly striking when it rains.
Upon first entering the site you walk through the 200 year old Antique Gate that marks the transition between the chaotic world outside and the tranquil world inside. You then follow escalating zig zag slopes intended to quiet the mind as you journey towards the gardens.
It has five historic gardens, each with its own style… the Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden, Sand and Stone Garden, and the Flat Garden. Each of the gardens captures a different period of Japanese history and culture. Despite the differences in styles, you gain a sense of peace, tranquility, and personal connection to nature from each.
As you stroll through the gardens be on the look out for stone wash basins, fountains, colorful koi ponds, flowing streams, ponds, lanterns, and charming bridges. Take time to appreciate the finely manicured Bonsai trees and the lacy weeping maples.
The Japanese tea garden is exceptional. Observe the carefully placed stepping stones leading through a rustic garden to the tea house. Have you ever heard of a wild animal chaser? They have one there! It is a bamboo water feature that is a sound maker used to chase animals from a garden. They also have an asymmetrical Moon Gate, with both a small door and a large door, representing the half-moon and the full-moon, respectively.
Traditionally the phase of the moon was depicted by opening the correct side of the gate! The Portland Japanese Garden is proclaimed to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan.
Contributed By ildiko Mikos at Indulge with Hildi
Oregon is full of natural beauty, and Cannon Beach is one of the most stunning locations on the Oregon Coast. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountains, Cannon Beach is known for its picturesque setting and sandy shores. Visitors can enjoy exploring the tide pools, hiking along the nearby trails, or simply relaxing on the beach and taking in the stunning scenery. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation spot, Cannon Beach is sure to please.
There are many reasons why Cannon Beach is considered to be the most beautiful spot in Oregon. One of the main reasons is the incredible scenery that can be found there. The coastline is rugged and provides stunning views, while the forests that surround the beach are full of lush foliage and wildlife. Additionally, Cannon Beach is home to some of the most amazing sunsets that you will ever see.
Haystack Rock is the most well-known feature of Cannon Beach. Haystack Rock, a sea stack that rises 235 feet above the ocean and dominates the view from this gorgeous beach, is one of the area’s most famous attractions.
When the tide is out, you may stroll right up to Haystack Rock. Tide pools full of aquatic life await exploration there. Many birds utilize haystack rock as their home, so you’ll see and hear a variety of birds while exploring it. Also interesting to look for in this region are elk (who occasionally come to the beach in herds). Keep an eye out for the huge bunnies that run through Cannon Beach too!
Cannon Beach is also a great place to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. There are miles of hiking trails that wind through the forests and along the coastline, providing visitors with ample opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area. There are also a number of shops and restaurants located in Cannon Beach, so you can enjoy a bite to eat or some retail therapy while enjoying the incredible views.
Contributed By Chantelle from Flannel or Flipflops
God’s Thumb is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Oregon – the “thumb” is a grassy cliff that towers over the ocean, offering incredible views of the waves crashing into sea stacks and cliff sides of the Oregon Coast. The hike to get here is definitely a challenge – but it’s so worth it for those views!
The hike is 4.7 miles long, with an elevation gain of 1,102 feet – but what really makes it a challenge is the mud! The Oregon Coast is known for a long rainy season, and this hike gets really muddy. Make sure you wear waterproof shoes, and especially as you get close to the end of the hike at the thumb, be careful climbing up and down the steep sections! You’ll start by walking through a seaside neighborhood, but quickly start ascending through old growth forest.
The God’s Thumb hike also goes by The Knoll – another gorgeous overlook with views of the ocean. The Knoll can be a good stopping point for those who want a shorter hike, but if you continue on to God’s Thumb, you’ll be glad you did! Along the trail, you can often spot elk grazing in wildflower meadows, and when you get to the end, make the final steep ascent up the thumb for the best views.
This is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon because of the jaw dropping views, but it’s also incredible because it’s still a lesser known spot, and the somewhat difficult hike means you’re pretty likely to get the views to yourself most of the time!
Contributed by Anna of Anna Tee
Trail of Ten Falls
There’s a lot to explore in Western Oregon in one week, but the Trail of Ten Falls takes the cake!
Silver Falls State Park is Oregon’s largest state park and is known as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system, and that’s for good reason! Not only is the park home to one of the most incredible single-day waterfall hikes in the country, the Trail of Ten Falls, but it also boasts an impressive geological history.
Millions of years ago, volcanic lava flows covered sandstone with basalt rock, leaving behind dramatic columnar cliffs. Over time, erosion from the waterfalls has caused some of the soft sandstone to collapse, carving out caves behind several of the falls, and now, you can walk behind the falls and through those caves – how cool!
The Trail of Ten Falls is a moderate, 8-mile hike with about 800 feet elevation gain along a mostly unpaved trail. It consists of two shorter trails, the Canyon Trail and the Rim Trail, and takes you to – you guessed it – ten beautiful waterfalls!
That being said, the highlights of the trail most certainly are South Falls and North Falls.
If you begin at the South Falls Lodge, South Falls will be the first waterfall you’ll see. At 177 feet tall, it’s the second highest waterfall in the park and one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon, along with Multnomah Falls and Punch Bowl Falls.
The 136-foot-tall North Falls is one of those waterfalls that created a cave behind itself, and the trail leads you into that cave. This has got to be one of the coolest waterfall experiences in the Pacific Northwest!
You can visit this trail year-round, but it’s best seen during the rainy season (October through April), when water flows are at their highest, or in the winter (January and February), when you may see some of the waterfalls freezing over with snow and ice. Of course, summer is most popular, but try to visit in May or June before some of the falls dry up for the season.
Contributed by: Sara at Travel A-Broads
Oregon is home to many beautiful places, but one of the most stunning is the Tamolitch Blue Pool. It’s become very popular on Instagram thanks to photos of the impossibly blue water that actually exists in real life.
Located in a volcanic area along the McKenzie River, the pool is fed by a natural spring that rises from the bottom of a deep cavern. The Blue Pool Hike is 4.2 miles round trip on the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail. Since it is a mostly flat, easy walk through the lush forest, the trail is enjoyed by families, hikers, and mountain bike riders alike. It’s also a great trail to bring your furry friends.
When you reach the Blue Pool, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the water is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom. It results in a remarkable blue hue, created by sunlight reflecting off of minerals in the spring. You can hike down to the water, and there are plenty of spots to relax.
The pool is a popular spot for swimming. However, be warned that the temperature is a very chilly 37 degrees year-round. It’s more fun to watch people jump in and instantly out while you enjoy a leisurely picnic! Also, don’t forget plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat because it gets warm on the hike, especially in summer. If you’re looking for the most beautiful places to visit in Oregon, the Tamolitch Blue Pool is definitely worth a visit.
Contributed by Jenifer of The Evolista
Portland is one of only four cities to have an extinct volcano within its perimeter: Mount Tabor. The volcano itself is extinct, not dormant, so there’s no concern about it erupting. It does, however, have a gorgeous park packed with lush evergreens.
Mount Tabor Park is nestled on the volcano itself, spanning 191 acres of natural beauty. The volcano itself is 636-foot-tall, so it’s not exactly a mountain– but it’s still high enough to give breathtaking views of the city at its summit!
The park was founded over a century ago and acts as a natural refuge for many native plants and animals in the area as the city grows and changes below. The park also has open reservoirs, which were actually used to supply water to Portland, plenty of hiking trails, play areas, and accessible picnic areas for anyone wanting to enjoy the fresh air.
The park itself has a mixture of walking paths and paved roads crisscrossing the volcano, so you can choose to hike around or take a quick drive (which is especially convenient for anyone taking a day trip from Seattle to Portland). If you decide to hike, you can choose from trails ranging from 1 to 3 miles.
If you’re in the area on the third Saturday of August, swing by Mount Tabor to watch the PDX Adult Soapbox Derby! While some amateur racers are in it to be the fastest, the majority of competitors are riding in engineered works of art. You’ll find everything from arcade boxes to submarines to Oktoberfest cars racing down the hill in a truly unique experience!
Contributed by Rachel of Bucket List Places
Umpqua Hot Springs
Umpqua Hot Springs, located in the Umpqua National Forest in southwestern Oregon, is a series of cozy natural stone tubs carved into a cliffside and nestled in a dense pine tree forest. Geothermally heated water spills into the pools, creating nature’s perfect hot tub that you can relax in and take in the views of the North Umpqua River below.
To reach these gorgeous springs, you’ll need to invest a little bit of effort. First of all, the parking lot for the springs is pretty tiny, and given their increased popularity over the last few years, it’s a good idea to get here early to ensure you snag a spot. Then, you’ll need to hike along a short (0.4 miles) but the steep and uneven trail to reach the springs, climbing over rocks and gnarled tree roots along the way. It’s a good idea to bring along hiking boots (or at minimum hiking sandals) to protect your feet and give you a bit more traction along the path.
Between the rocky cliff sides, the towering pine trees, and the rushing river, Umpqua Hot Springs offers that quintessential Pacific Northwest beauty and is inarguably picturesque. However, it has unfortunately been closed in the past due to visitors not following the Leave No Trace principles and leaving their trash and waste behind. So please be sure to show this stunning place the care and respect it deserves so soakers can keep on enjoying its cozy waters- and those epic views- for years to come.
Contributed by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler
Seaside is a beautiful place to visit in Oregon and is full of wondrous things to do along its sandy beach. This famous Oregon beach is similar in many ways to other Pacific Northwest Coast beaches in that it has cold, refreshing waters and stormier days, plus it is not as busy compared to the warmer southern beaches.
The less frequent visitors to the beach also help reduce the harmful waste across the beach shores. In addition, they keep the beach’s beautiful land clean and safe for aquatic life. The natural beauty of the beach and its cleanliness are two of the top reasons people love visiting this beach from all over the world.
Another key feature contributing to the beauty of Seaside is the Seaside Promenade along the beach coastline, where you’ll also be able to take an evening stroll during the warm summer months. Another notable spot to consider is the Seaside Turnaround, situated at the heart of the Seaside beach, which is the best place to admire the Oregon coastline.
Being at the tranquil Seaside beach on a warm sunny day or a stormy winter night is bound to leave you in awe. As you explore the Pacific Northwest further, you will come across Seaside, Oregon. A small, close-knit community filled with natural beauty and cold waters brought tourists worldwide.
Whether you are visiting in the winter for a frigid stroll across the sandy shores or during the warmer nights in the summer to stargaze, you won’t be disappointed.
Contributed by Yesenia and Sierra of The Sisters Who Voyage
Sitting on the Columbia River, Astoria is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Oregon. It is also the oldest U.S. settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. So not only does it have immense scenic beauty, but the old Victorian homes and historic buildings that house the restaurants and shops make the town itself very picturesque.
Walking downtown Astoria’s River Walk you’ll be able to soak in the beauty of the natural soundings, as well as the town. You may even spot some wildlife. Seals, sea lions, herons, egrets, and much more can often be spotted, especially if you take advantage of the view points that jet out further into the river.
The very instagramable Astoria-Megler Bridge connects the town to Washington State. The lush green hills on the other side of the Columbia are a gorgeous backdrop to this picture-perfect setting. You will definitely want to bring your binoculars on this Oregon getaway! You’ll also need them when you visit the Astoria Column where you’ll have incredible vistas—and you’ll realize you have the same lush green hills behind you.
You have a couple of different options on how to get to the Column, but the Cathedral Tree-Coxcomb Hill Hike is the way to go. You’ll meander through a forest of hemlock, red elderberry, salmonberry, and Sitka Spruce (one of which is over 300 years old) and end up with a breathtaking view!
Hiking enthusiasts should continue to the Lewis and Clark National Park where nature and history abound. This is the end of the great expedition after all. Keep your eyes peeled for Roosevelt Elk which may be spotted in the forests and willow swamps. Deer, bobcats, coyotes, and black bears all call the park home.
Written by Denise from Chef Denise
There you have it, three of the most beautiful places to visit in Oregon! We hope you enjoyed reading about them and that they inspire you to get out and explore all that this amazing state has to offer.