Without a doubt, Oregon is a great place to travel to if you have a love for nature and the great outdoors. While the communities and cities of the state are great at entertaining you, sometimes there is nothing that can match up to the natural attractions that are waiting there to be seen and enjoyed. If you go to Oregon with an eye on checking out natural attractions, here are five that you just can’t miss out on.
Crater Lake is located in Oregon’s southern Cascade Mountains. This is an awesome attraction that tons of people head to every year. The drive up to Crater Lake is beautiful but it doesn’t match the beauty you see once you get there. The historic lodge is a great place to start your visit and it offers a gift shop and a chance to get a bite to eat. There are several viewpoints outside the lodge and during the warmer months you can even drive around the rim of the crater. This is a lake unlike anything you have probably ever seen before.
Haystack Rock is located along Oregon’s northern coastline in a very popular part of the state. This is a huge monolith that extends upward out of the shallow surf. At low tide you can walk out to Haystack Rock and explore the lower parts and see what the receding water has left behind. The community of Cannon Beach is located very near there and is a fun place to stay. Haystack Rock may be the most photographed feature in Oregon and it is very easy to understand just why that is.
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River flows out of Canada, winds across Eastern Washington, then takes a sharp right turn and heads to the Pacific Ocean. To get to the ocean though, it had to dig and carve its way through the Cascade Mountains. The result is called the Columbia River Gorge and it is a magnificent drive to take in Spring, Summer, or Fall. As you drive along the highway you can stop at several small towns, check out some impressive hydroelectric dams, see quite a few parks and protected areas, and more. Our favorite part is getting off the interstate and driving the Historic Columbia River Highway. This will take you past several waterfalls, including the famous Multnomah Falls and its historic lodge. You can also stop for some astounding views at Vista House high above the gorge. The Columbia River Gorge is a very special place.
Lava River Cave
Lava River Cave is located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument just south of the community of Bend. This is in the middle of thousands of acres of lava fields, cinder cones, and lakes. Bring your warm clothes when you go there because once you get underground, the temperature drops even during the heat of summer. Lava River Cave is an exposed lava tube that you can climb down into and then hike through for more than a mile if you would like. There is a stairway complete with handrails as you walk down in and then the walk is fairly easy as you explore one of the coolest places you’ve ever been. With the proper lighting, this can be one of the neatest experiences you have on a vacation.
Hells Canyon sits along the eastern border of Oregon and is shared between it and Idaho. The Snake River carved this deep and rugged canyon. There are several points to reach it from and lots of scenic viewpoints. You can even get some nice views of some of the important dams that back water up for hydroelectric and recreation purposes. The best way to view Hells Canyon though is from aboard a jet boat touring the canyon. This is extremely fun and is hands down one of the most memorable things you could do when you visit.