Five Awesome Off the Beaten Path Attractions in Western Oregon

Thompson Mills State Heritage Site

Western Oregon is a gorgeous place to visit and it offers so much to see and do. You’ve probably heard a lot about the more famous attractions and destinations like Portland, Haystack Rock, the Oregon Sand Dunes Recreation Area, Lincoln City, and Newport. Here is a look though at five off the beaten path attractions in Western Oregon that you are sure to enjoy.

Saddle Mountain

Located very near to the popular ocean getaway of Seaside, Oregon is Saddle Mountain. This 3,400 foot tall small coastal peak provides incredible views out towards the ocean as well as inland too. It’s about a six mile round trip to hike to the summit and back and you’ll gain about 1,000 feet in elevation. Most people visiting Seaside head towards the sand and overlook this little gem.

Thompsons Mill State Historic Park

This is one of the newer state park properties in Oregon, having been purchased by the state in 2004 and opened to the public in 2007. This historical site is located just a few miles south of Albany in the beautiful Willamette Valley. This is Oregon’s oldest surviving water powered mill. When you tour it you will be treated to some wonderful historic items and get a great look at what life must have been like back in the early days of settlement there.

Bonneville Fish Hatchery

One of the most beautiful drives in Oregon, and that’s really saying something, is Interstate 84 through the Columbia River Gorge. You’ll pass by a number of dams there, all worth seeing in person. Downstream from the Bonneville Dam though is the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and this is a great stop for anyone who is an angler, wants to see new things, or is traveling with children. There are fish viewing windows and opportunities to learn about what is being done to preserve the future of local fish and the opportunities for fishing. A very nice and well put together attraction that also performs a valuable function.

Cape Kiwanda

There are tons of great places to access the ocean and the beach when you’re driving along on Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast. Cape Kiwanda is a spectacular area and it sits a bit off the beaten path because it is not right off the highway. You reach it by taking the Three Capes Road out of Tillamook. Cape Kiwanda features dramatic views and wide open expanses of sand. You can sit and watch the determined ocean carve away at sandstone cliffs all day if you like. You will probably not be bothered by the intense crowds that can form in other locales too.

Covered Bridges

Oregon was at one time home to hundreds of covered bridges. Most of these were built back in the early 1900s and over the years have been replaced by more modern structures. On many smaller highways and county roads though in places like Linn County, Lane County, and along the coast they can still be seen, walked through, or even driven through. Many of them have been preserved or have historical groups dedicated to their preservation. Getting off the main roads and finding these little historic attractions can be a lot of fun.