7 Wonders of Oregon

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7 Wonders of Oregon
Photo by Everettm on Flickr

The state of Oregon launched the 7 Wonders of Oregon tourism campaign in 2014, a parody of the well-known “Seven Natural Wonders of the World”. These 7 wonders survive the test of time, giving a reason to promote these spots. The Oregon Tourism Campaign compiled a list of scenic wonders from around the state.

Picking only 7 Wonders of Oregon is difficult because the state is home to soaring mountain peaks, gushing waterfalls, clear lakes, and vast beaches. You should not be surprised that the natural wonders that did make the list of the best sights are unquestionably among the greatest in Oregon. 

However, the state has a lot of other mind-blowing stunning locations that might also make the list. You won’t run out of things to do while you are here because of the stunning coastline, the more than 360 State Parks, and the presence of some of the best breweries and restaurants in the country.

The Travel Oregon campaign defined the ‘7 Wonders of Oregon’ in an effort to attract locals and tourists and about enjoying the state’s natural wonders. These locales are indeed amazing, and no one can help but agree.

Visit the Prettiest of Oregon

To genuinely claim you have seen the 7 Wonders of Oregon, you must get out of your comfort zone, climb to the magnificent viewpoint, and feel them beneath your feet. Oregon is a one-stop location for things to do and see. The state of Oregon offers it all. Travel there and create lifelong experiences.

The magnificent seven wonders must-see locations in Oregon are deserving of consideration for that list, with so many experiences waiting to be enjoyed. In Oregon, it doesn’t take very far to accomplish all of those things. The moment has come to start fantasizing about your Oregon adventure.

7 Wonders of Oregon

1. Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge (CRG) is the country’s biggest National Scenic Area and with good cause. Despite the fact that the “Oregon Coast” is actually a 360-mile stretch of land, it is the most visited of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.

Columbia River Gorge
Photo by Elena Kuchko on Unsplash

The gorge, which may reach 4,000 feet in depth, continues for more than 80 miles across the Cascade Range, forming the border between Washington to the north and Oregon to the south.

Visitors can expect a higher concentration of waterfalls along the CRG’s 80-mile route than anyplace else in North America. Many of them, including the famed and spectacular Multnomah Falls, are visible from the road.

While the Columbia River Gorge is designated as an official Oregon Wonder, Multnomah Falls is by far the most popular and spectacular feature. It is Oregon’s tallest waterfall and is commonly regarded as the nicest waterfall in the state. The Oneonta Gorge, Vista House at Crown Point, Horsetail Falls, and Rowena Crest are notable attractions within the CRG. All of them are accessible by day travel from Portland.

The Columbia River Gorge receives many visitors yearly. It is mostly due to its close proximity to the metropolitan city of Portland, but also because it is inarguably one of the prettiest places in the state of Oregon.

Interestingly, visitors of these 7 wonders of Oregon will have occasional views of another one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon in Mt. Hood. Driving east from Portland, the majestic Mt. Hood will commonly occur on the horizon. The Columbia River Gorge has more than simply a breathtaking landscape and craggy cliffs. There is also lots of handcrafted beer and farm-fresh food.

Because of its unusual terrain, the Gorge produces a wide range of wines, from pinot noir and chardonnay in the cold western slopes to tempranillo and syrah in the drier, sunny east.

The Gorge was created for exploration, so be sure to bring your spirit of adventure to exploring this Seven Wonders of Oregon. Take a walk along the beach, look for secret waterfalls, go up Dog Mountain, or simply enjoy the scenery. The Post Canyon mountain bike network or the roads near The Dalles are good places to go biking. And considering Hood River’s reputation as the world’s windsurfing centre, it is difficult to avoid participating in water sports on the Columbia.

The Columbia River Gorge is best visited by car, allowing you to proceed at your own speed. Although there is no admission fee, a timed permit will be necessary to access the gorge on the Columbia River Highway.

Sugarpine Drive-In, Loop de Loop Wines, Hood River Common House, Simon’s Cliff House, Aniche Cellars, and Riverview Restaurant are some of the places to enjoy food in.

You can get to see Columbia River Gorge Hotel & Spa, Columbia Cliffs Villa Hotel, Inn of the White Salmon, Historic Balch Hotel, Westcliff Lodge, and Hood River Hotel in the Columbia River Gorge. You won’t believe all the buzz until you have seen the Columbia River Gorge for yourself.

2. Mount Hood

What could be more thrilling than visiting a “possibly active” volcano, especially one with six ski areas, hiking, climbing, and camping opportunities? 

Mount Hood
Photo by Sean Estergaard on Unsplash

Mount Hood, one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon which towers over northern Oregon and the ancient lava flows visible from the streets of Portland, is the state’s tallest mountain, standing at 11,240 feet. The most convenient method to go to Mount Hood is via car. Get a $ 5-day pass or use your National Parks Pass if you already have one.

Ski resorts, summer recreation areas, and historic tourist sites are located atop this inactive stratovolcano. It is also the focal site of the Mt. Hood National Forest, which encompasses around a million acres.

Mount Hood is the state’s tallest peak and is usually snowcapped, so it can be seen from miles away and even over the river in Washington. Portland is one of the best destinations for alpine experiences all year round because you can see Mt Hood looming over the horizon dwarfing even the highest structures in the city.

Mt. Hood, in addition to its natural beauty, is one of the few mountains in the country where winter activities like skiing and snowboarding are feasible all year. Numerous professional snowsports athletes practice on the slopes of Timberline, one of the volcano’s ski areas, which is accessible all year round.

Mt Hood National Forest is much more spectacular than the views from a distance. Over a million acres of pristine, untamed PNW beauty are less than two hours away from the concrete and cranes. Trees, lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and everything else that makes the Hood River Valley unique remain unspoiled while the gorgeous mountain looms above it all. 

Sunrise at Lost Lake is an excellent location for seeing Mount Hood. Mount Hood provides spectacular leisure ranging from camping, hiking, and fishing to practically year-round skiing. There are countless options for adventure, whether you are hitting the slopes, hiking the mountain’s miles of paths, or relaxing by a campfire.

Welches, Zigzag, Brightwood, Government Camp, and Rhododendron are the places to explore in Mount Hood. Mt Hood Meadows is home to the majority of Mount Hood’s prominent ski resorts.

Enjoy eating at AntFarm Cafe & Bakery, Calamity Jane’s, Red Shed Public House, Joe’s Donut Shop, Huckleberry Inn Cafe, and Skyway Bar & Grill.

3. Crater Lake 

Talking of volcanoes, Oregon’s next natural marvel likewise involves a crack in the earth’s crust. The extinct volcano that once stood 12,000 feet tall is where Crater Lake is located. As a result of its famed beauty and colour, it is currently Crater Lake National Park’s major draw. Visiting Crater Lake is without a doubt one of the most beautiful of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.

Crater Lake
Photo by Jeff Hopper on Unsplash

The 33-mile Crater Lake Rim Drive is regarded as one of America’s most picturesque byways due to the breathtaking views of the lake.  It is Oregon’s crown gem, and it also happens to be the state’s sole National Park and deepest lake. The place is normally accessible from July until mid-October, depending on weather conditions.

The Must-see Attractions on a Crater Lake Tour

Hiking down to Cleetwood Cove, the park’s lone route that leads to the lake is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Crater Lake. 

You may take a boat excursion to Wizard Island from here, and if you are feeling very courageous, you can even go swimming in the chilly lake. Probably the most well-liked viewpoint in the park, offering an amazing view of Wizard Island. And this little diversion off Rim Drive leads to a glimpse of multicoloured, 100-foot-high spires crumbling from the canyon wall.

If you are planning an Oregon road trip that includes Crater Lake National Park, it is recommended to check out a few Southern Oregon Waterfall Circuit Itinerary, which contains more than ten waterfalls to see on your journey to the park.

It is best visited in your own car, as with any National Park. The entrance cost is $30 per car in the summer and $20 in the winter, or it is free if you have an America the Beautiful national park pass.

Places to Stay By The Crater Lake National Park

When entering the park, visitors must have a pass or ticket. If you are considering a trip to Crater Lake National Park, you should first check the official Crater Lake NPS website for information on road closures, events, and notifications. 

During the winter, both Rim Road and the North Entrance are closed, directing all traffic via the South Entrance. Furthermore, lodging at Crater Lake is quite scarce. The sole hotel within the park is Crater Lake Lodge, which is only accessible seasonally. Crater Lake Resort is the nearest year-round lodging. Other lodging choices close to Crater Lake may be found here.

You can enjoy your food with your loved ones in Rim Village Cafe, Annie Creek Restaurant, and Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room.

4. Painted Hills

The Painted Hills are one of Oregon’s top natural wonders, due to stratifications in the soil that formed a rainbow of hues millions of years ago.

Painted Hills
Photo by Pam Riches on Unsplash

The Oregon Painted Hills is a vivid display of striated hills of incredible natural formations. They may be found in a remote section of Central Oregon in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The Painted Hills are possibly the most unusual of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.

The Painted Hills, perhaps the most colourful portion of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, is worth the drive to eastern Oregon. 

Trails provide insight into how the hills gained their colour and how the environment is changing. To gain a fuller understanding of the region’s geography, spend additional time exploring the Monument’s other locations if you have the time.

The phenomena are found in eastern Oregon’s John Day Fossil Beds, which also include the Clarno and Sheep Rock units and amazing natural formations and fossils. The claystone may seem to vary depending on the light and is best seen in the late afternoon when visitors can see the red, gold, green, black, yellow, and lavender colours blanketing the hills.

Mitchell, the relatively small town closest to the Painted Hills, has amenities, although they are quite restricted. There is only one petrol station and one food shop, both of which are basic. Bring cash because credit cards are not accepted at most places.

Tiger Town Brewery, Bridge Creek Cafe, and Route 26 Espresso are all nearby to have delicious food and amazing family time.

Some of The Greatest Painted Hills Trails

The Painted Hills Overlook Trail offers a wonderful perspective of the multicoloured hills below throughout its half-mile journey. It begins beneath a pavilion with informational plaques about the location offering the best-painted hills trails.

Painted Cove Trail Route is a short trail with a level, the wooden boardwalk goes amid brilliant red mounds and is a wonderful photographic location. Visitors to the park will discover a variety of pathways and views in the Painted hills.

Sunrise and sunset are both great times to visit, but stargazers should remain until after midnight. At the Painted Hills of Oregon in John Day National Monument, stargazers may take advantage of unparalleled darkness for nighttime photography. Some of the darkest sky in the US may be seen in this isolated region of Painted hills in Oregon.

The Carroll Rim Trail is a 1.6-mile trek that climbs 400 feet and offers panoramic views of the whole park from the peak.

5. The Wallowas

The Wallowa Mountains are a spectacular series of mountains in Eastern Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness. The Wallowa mountain range stops you in your tracks as you drive east near the Idaho border

The Wallowa
Photo by Evan Sanchez on Unsplash

The Wallowa Mountains are possibly the least well-known of Oregon’s seven natural wonders, yet is a world-class climbing destination. It is precisely what mountaineers and photographers desire. This area is well-known for its glacier lakes and isolation. 

The Wallowas region is home to a variety of scenery, including craggy mountains, magnificent lakes, and the high desert, as well as overlooks overlooking Hells Canyon and the Snake River in neighbouring Idaho.

The Wallowa Lake Tramway, which takes visitors to Mt. Howard’s 8,150-foot summit, is the area’s most popular attraction. The Wallowa Mountains reflected beautifully in the warm pink glow of dusk. There is enough to see on foot, but for a comprehensive tour of the area, remain in your van and drive the 218-mile Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, which includes everything from breweries to ghost towns.

The Wallowas are also one of the greatest spots in Oregon to learn more about the famed Oregon Trail because there is an interpretive centre that contains ruts etched into the ground by pioneer wagons throughout the 1800s. There are also over a dozen official ghost towns in Eastern Oregon, which were formerly gold mining villages.

Minam River Lodge, Bronze Antler B&B, Flying Arrow Resort, and Barking Mad Farm are some of the places for stayaction near this wonder. Also, take out time to enjoy food at Trailhead Coffee, Matterhorn Swiss Village, Tram Summit Grill, and Outdoor Patio, Chalet Espresso Bar, and Wallowa Lake Lodge.

6. Smith Rock 

Climbers have long recognized Smith Rock as a natural beauty; even if dangling from cliffs is not your thing, you are sure to agree. Smith Rock State Park is one of the most spectacular sites to visit in 7 Wonders of Oregon, thanks to its dramatic red cliffs, flowing river, and expansive views of the Cascade Mountains. 

Smith Rock park
Photo by Dale Nibbe on Unsplash

Smith Rock SP is located in Central Oregon, just outside of Bend, near the small community of Terrebonne. The central Oregon state park is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, a natural playground for rock climbers, mountain biking, hikers, photographers, and general nature enthusiasts. 

It is also only a half-hour drive north to Bend, a buzzing town perfect for recharging with delicious food and drink. The Crooked Rivers flow through this geological wonder like a moat as it appears to emerge directly from the ground.

There is a minor parking cost, but there is no additional admission price. Smith Rock’s parking fee is $5 as of February 2022. There are a few walks that range in complexity, but the two most well-liked ones are the River Trail and Misery Ridge Trail. 

Many people choose to use the River Trail, which is flat but does not afford great views. In spite of this, Smith Rock State Park’s Misery Ridge Trail remains the greatest trek. This well-called path climbs straight up and over Smith Rock, providing stunning vistas of the valley.

Smith Rock View, Skull Hollow Campground, Crooked River Ranch Lodge and Cabins, and Smith Rock Boutique Resort are all great stays in this wonder of Oregon. Some of the best options to have food at are Terra Kitchen, Regios Cafe, La Burrita Minimarket and Deli, and One Street Down Cafe.

7. Oregon Coast

Of all, what distinguishes the Oregon coast from other coastlines is not its idyllic beaches but rather the stunning scenery and untamable geology it has to offer. It is notable for its sea stacks, arches, natural bridges, and largest coastal sand dunes.

Coast
Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

The way the forest appears to flow into the Pacific Ocean is what attracts outdoor enthusiasts.

The Oregon coast is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking and beautiful coasts on the planet. The 363 miles of Oregon’s coastline are accessible to the general public owing to the Oregon Beach Bill, so there are almost as many reasons to adore it as there are miles of it.

There are not many other areas you can imagine taking the campervan that have a tolerant climate all year long and a welcome tourism and transport infrastructure.

There are countless possibilities to search for agates or glass floats, catch your own Dungeness crab or razor clam, observe whales, seals, and puffins, leave footprints in the sand, or simply sit inside a warm seaside lodge and watch a winter storm. The Oregon Coast is a soothing escape in any season.

The Central Oregon Coast is ideal for fishing, clamming, hiking, golfing, and other outdoor activities and the Northern Oregon Coast is ideal for resting. Astoria, Oregon’s important port city in the northwest quadrant, is the oldest American town west of the Rocky Mountains. 

The city is home to restaurants, art galleries, and antique shops, but its picturesque surroundings are true works of art. With its spectacular vistas and paintings illuminating Oregon’s early history, the 125-foot (38 m) tall Astoria Column is a must-see. Also, Cannon Beach is the most popular tourist site on the Oregon coast. 

You can look for Bandon Inn, Hallmark Resort, Pacific Reef Hotel, The Whaler, and Bandon Inn to stay in. No wonder Bowpicker Fish & Chips, Castaway’s Restaurant and Tiki Bar, Adobe Restaurant and Lounge, and Pancake Mill are the trustworthy places to have food in.

The Bottom Line 

There are few places where you may see the coast, mountains, desert, and plains all in Oregon other than the 7 Wonders of Oregon. This is expected in Oregon because the state is teeming with beautiful natural scenery that is simple to reach and experience.

It would be impossible to remove anything off the official list of 7 wonders of Oregon and add on any other place, but there are at least seven additional natural wonders scattered around the state that deserves deep consideration.

Besides 7 wonders of Oregon, Seven of the state’s most recognizable spots are Samuel H Boardman scenic corridor, Silver Falls State Park, Thor’s Well In Cape Perpetua, Tamolitch Blue Pool, Cascade, Lakes Loop, Alvord Desert, and Umpqua Hot Springs.

The list of 7 wonders of Oregon might never change, assuring you to give the best of what Oregon has to offer its visitors and tourists.

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