Tag Archives: Southern Oregon

Oregon’s 7 Wonders

Travel Oregon came up with Oregon’s 7 Wonders and we’ve slowly been checking them out over the past few years. They’re spread out all over Oregon which is great because it really gives you a chance to see a lot of the state.

This August we finally checked off the last wonder and here’s what we thought of them…

The Columbia River Gorge:

We’ve visited this wonder so many times we’ve lost count, starting when we were both kids, and have very fond memories of this area. It’s a little bitter sweet due to the recent wildfire that ravaged the area but this area is so large that there is still places to visit, and we can’t wait until the trails reopen and we get to see this beautiful place again. We know it will take a lot of time, but the Gorge will come back stronger than ever.

Waterfalls, views, and wildflowers…a Gorge trail will take you somewhere amazing!

      

      

Some of our favorite Gorge hikes are Fairy Falls, Larch Mountain, and Wahclella Falls. If you’re Looking for a good lunch spot check out The Ranch for a good burger in Hood River.

The Oregon Coast:

This is another wonder that we’ve visited countless times. Some of our favorite cities are Newport, Pacific City, and Lincoln City. Oregonians know that the coast really is an all season place. A perfect summer day is amazing but a nice winter storm is fun too! Tide pools and lighthouses are some of our favorite things to check out at the coast along with all the great hiking.

      

      

Some great hikes in the area University Falls, Cape Falcon, and Drift Creek Falls. If you’re looking for some good food check out Pacific Oyster in Bay City.

Smith Rock:

We’ve been to Smith Rock three times and it’s amazing. The hikes are great and you can’t really go wrong with any trail you pick. Our personal favorite is Misery Ridge, it may be a bit difficult but it’s well worth the extra energy spent. With the Snake River Gorge winding through the large tuff and basalt rock formations it’s easy to see why this area made the list.

      

      

Make sure to stop by Juniper Junction (Rockhard) for some tasty huckleberry ice cream.

The Painted Hills:

Probably the most unique place on the list with all of the bright colored hills. There’s so much to see here you’ll need to plan for most of the day to really explore this place. There are trails that take you up hills to allow you views of the whole area. Off to one side you’ll see large hills with yellow, red and purple paintbrush type strokes on them, and then if you look another direction you’ll see smaller hills that are deep red or bright yellow-gold. Make sure to check out the trails that go around the smaller hills, it’s really amazing to see the texture and colors up close.

      

      

For more info on the trails click here.

Crater Lake:

Crater Lake is a Caldera Lake that’s very large and very blue. You can drive around the whole crater rim and there are many trails around the caldera. After spending time at some of the many viewpoints and getting a good look at the lake and wizard island make sure to make some time to explore the trails. A few of our favorites are Plaikni Falls and The Pinnacles.

      

      

While you’re in the area make sure to check out Toketee Falls.

The Wallowas:

Way out in eastern Oregon are the Wallowa Mountains, near the town of Joseph. They call it the Swiss Alps of Oregon and we can definitely see why. The best and easiest way to see the Wallowa Mountains are to take the tramway up to the top of Mt. Howard. Wallowa Lake is also a big attraction in this area, the lake is huge and it offers great views of the mountains as well. There are a ton of beautiful barns in the area, stop at the visitor center in Joseph for a map of where you can find them all.

      

      

We recommend the famous mountain berry shake at the Eagle Cap Chalet and a burger from the Glacier Grill.

Mt. Hood:

Of course the Mt. Hood area would make this list- it’s amazing! The mountain itself is beautiful as are the lakes and waterfalls that surround it. This area can’t be beat when it comes to winter activities too- ski, snowboard, snowshoe…you can seriously do it all.

      

      

Some of our favorite hikes in this area Bald Mountain, Umbrella Falls, Zigzag Canyon, and snowshoeing at White River West.

 

Oregon’s 7 Wonders are truly amazing and they really show off how great this state is, we’ll be back to visit them all again and again!

How many of the wonders have you seen? We’d love to hear what your favorite wonder is!

Best Of 2016

We did a lot of great hikes in 2016, here are some of our favorites and our overall top hike of the year.

  • Willamette Valley:

Henline Falls– This is a short hike but it takes you to an amazing waterfall. Catch it at the right time of day and you might just see a rainbow at the base as well!

  • Columbia River Gorge:

Columbia Hills State Park– Great area to see wildflowers with amazing views of the Gorge.

  • Washington:

Lewis River Falls– So many pretty waterfalls in such a short distance. Definitely a must see.

  • Coast:

The Thumb– This was probably the most unique hike we did this year.

  • Central Oregon:

Smith Rock (Misery Ridge)– The views are amazing at the top and you get a very up close view of Monkey Face!

  • Mt. Hood:

Wind Lake– You get to ride a chairlift up to the top of Ski Bowl and then hike to a somewhat hidden lake. And the whole time you have great views of Mt. Hood and Government Camp. 

  • Portland:

Powell Butte- This is a great hike in the city. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. St Helens, and Mt. Hood.

  • Southern Oregon:

Plaikni Falls– This hike was inside Crater Lake National Park, it’s very pretty, especially in autumn with all the beautiful colors.

  • Kayak:

Disappearing Lake– This was such a treat! It’s a lake that’s only around for about a month out of the whole year.

Overall Best of 2016:

Bald Mountain– The hike up bald mountain is beautiful and lined with beargrass. Once at the top you round a corner and come to one of the best views of Mt. Hood we’ve ever seen. Do this hike!

What were some of your favorite hikes in 2016? Any you’re looking forward to doing in 2017?

 

Watson Falls (Autumn)

Directions: From the entrance to Crater Lake National Park on Highway 138 continue West on the highway for about 24 miles. There are signs for Watson Falls.

Watson falls is the third highest waterfall in Oregon!

From the parking area get on the trail that heads up some wooden steps and takes you across the highway. The trail heads uphill sometimes steeply but nothing that’s too hard. About a third mile up the trail you will come to a great area in the creek that’s covered in moss and ferns with water coming out all over, and you can actually see Watson Falls from here too.

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Continue up some stone steps that lead you to a wooden bridge that crosses the creek. From here the trail passes a bench and starts switchbacking up to the waterfall where the trail ends at another bench and great views of the waterfall and surrounding area.

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Since you are in the area we highly recommend that you stop by Clearwater Falls, it’s just a few miles from Watson Falls. The waterfall is just a few steps from the parking area. Make sure to hike up the left side of the waterfall to see the creek above!

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Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: 300 feet

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages- just be aware that there are some steps and switchbacks

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: Check for road closures during snowy months.

Popular: No

Overall: Very pretty hike, lots of places you’ll want to stop and take pictures along the trail!

Toketee Falls (Autumn)

Directions: From the entrance to Crater Lake National Park on Highway 138 follow the highway West for about another 25 miles or so. You will see signs for Toketee Falls.

From the parking area pass the wooden pipeline that is diverting water from the North Umpqua River to a powerhouse downstream and get onto the trail. Crossing over a small bridge the trail heads downhill slightly as you pass through a wooded area and come to your first set of stairs. As you continue you will be going through three more sets of stairs. Some are stone and some are wooden with chainlink fence.

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You will follow along the North Umpqua River the whole time and there are many points along the way to stop and get a good look at it. The trail ends at a wooden viewing platform with a tree coming up the middle of it and a bench. You get a great view of the waterfall and the amazing columnar basalt.

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Since you are in the area we would recommend stopping at Whitehorse Falls, it’s just a few miles from Toketee Falls. The waterfall is just steps from the parking area!

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Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: 150 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: This trail is good for most, but there are a lot of steps, so it may not be good for young kids and older folks.

Bathrooms: Vault toilet at trailhead.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: Check for road closures during the snowy months.

Popular: Yes

Overall: Lovely riverside hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall surrounded by amazing columnar basalt!

The Pinnacles (Autumn)

Directions: This Hike is located in Crater Lake National Park. It’s 6 miles Southeast of the Phantom Ship Overlook at the very end of Pinnacles Road.

The Pinnacles are chimneys that formed when hot ash cooled after the eruption. From the parking area follow the dirt and gravel path along the rim of Pinnacle Valley. Sand Creek is down in the valley and you will start to see small pinnacles immediately.

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The views get better the farther you go and there are a couple turnouts in the trail that give you the best views of the pinnacle lined valley. There is practically no elevation gain as the trail ends at the outer boundary of Crater Lake National Park.

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Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: 10 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: No

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: $15 Crater Lake NP entrance fee.

Seasons: Summer and fall

Popular: Less popular than most attractions at Crater Lake but can still draw a crowd.

Overall: This was a very interesting hike and definitely something we haven’t seen before. The valley was very pretty too!

Plaikni Falls (Autumn)

Directions: This hike is located in Crater Lake National Park, 1.2 miles Southeast of the Phantom Ship Overlook on Pinnacles Road.

From the parking area the trail starts off to your left. The trail is wide and stone lined as you wind through tall trees covered in bright green lichen, and you will notice lots of chipmunks scurrying about all around you. Soon you will pass an open area to your left with a view of the cliff face, and you will start seeing and hearing the creek off to your right. The last quarter mile is where most of the elevation gain is but it’s nothing too hard.

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The trail drops you off right at the waterfall, there are stone steps that get you right up close to the waterfall and creek. There are signs marking the end of the trail, and warnings to protect sensitive plants nearby.

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Distance: 2 miles

Elevation: 100 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: No

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: $15 Crater Lake NP entrance fee.

Seasons: Summer and Fall

Popular: Can be busy on weekends and during summer.

Overall: This was a pretty and easy hike with a beautiful waterfall.