From sandy beaches to towering rocks, natural wonders in Oregon make up a diverse landscape that visitors love to experience when they’re in the region. This is a must-visit list of what is known as the “7 Wonders of Oregon,” a collection of the state’s most impressive sights.
Oregon has the ocean, mountains, valleys, high desert and everything in between…
Natural Wonders In Oregon
1. Columbia River Gorge
Starting just 30 miles east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers amazing vistas, trails and more than 90 waterfalls.
Bring your sense of adventure because the Gorge is perfect for exploring. Walk along a waterfront, discover hidden waterfalls, follow the wildflowers at Rowena Crest or challenge yourself with a trek up Dog Mountain.
2. Oregon Coast
Did you know that all 363 miles of Oregon’s coastline remain free and public? Yep, there’s plenty of shoreline to explore. The entire coastline is a natural wonder, home to soaring sand dunes, pristine state parks and bustling harbours.
3. Painted Hills
The hills get their name from the delicately colored stratifications in the soil. The hills show millions of years of history revealed in the layers of mountains of earth. The yellows, golds, blacks and reds of the Painted Hills are at their most vibrant in the late afternoon.
4. Crater Lake
Formed by the collapse of an ancient volcano Mt. Mazama, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America. There are so many different ways to see the lake. You can bike or drive the 33-mile rim drive, hike up to the top of a fire lookout tower or down to the water below. You can take a boat tour of the lake in the summer, or cross-country ski or snowshoe your way around the rim in the winter!
5. Mt. Hood
The second most climbed mountain in the world, Mt. Hood is crowned by 11 glaciers and is home to the only year-round ski resort in North America. There’s six ski areas, as well as hiking trails, beautiful alpine lakes, and the Fruit Loop, which is a farmland area of thousands of acres of orchards, wines, lavender and wildflowers.
6. Smith Rock
Home to 300 days of sun a year, Smith Rock in Central Oregon attracts climbers from across the globe. It’s famous for being the ‘birthplace’ of American sport climbing, with cliffs that are suitable for all levels of rock climbing. Hikers will want to explore the obsidian lava flows at Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument, where astronauts trained to walk on the moon.
7. The Wallowas
The Wallowas are one of Oregon’s most beautiful secrets. This spectacular mountain region is often called the ‘Swiss Alps of Oregon’, and we can see why. There’s scenic, small mountain towns like Joseph, ghost towns left over from the gold rush of the 19th century, and views of Hell’s Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon!
How to get to the summit? You can hike or ride a horse to the summit, but the fastest way to the top is the gondola that rises 3,700 feet from Wallowa Lake Village to the peak of Mt. Howard.