You know the 7 Wonders of the World, they’re international icons. Legendary landmarks. Feeling snubbed not to be included, the state of Oregon made up their own list based on a lengthy list of outdoor pursuits and breathtaking landscapes.
If you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, get to know the 7 Wonders of Oregon because these are truly incredible natural attractions not to be missed.
A composite volcano in the northern part of the state, Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest peak and one of the loftiest mountains in the nation. Just 50 miles southeast of Portland, it’s crowned by eleven glaciers and flanked by alpine lakes. Home to six ski areas in the winter and expansive fields of lavender flowers in summer, the drive between the mountain and the town of Hood River is so scenic it’s actually called the Fruit Loop. A staple of the Oregon landscape, you can see Mt. Hood from miles away, but only once you visit can you truly appreciate its greatness.
The Oregon Coast
When you think of West Coast beaches, your mind probably goes to California. But unlike the Golden State, Oregon’s 363 miles of shoreline are completely free and open to the public. Besides access, they offer a surprising amount of adventure activities from sand boarding and dune buggies to tidal pools and hidden surf spots. If you’re looking for spots to get your golden glow this summer, consider heading to the Oregon Coast for unspoiled beaches and miles of seclusion.
Columbia River Gorge
A trail dotted with Oregon’s most popular waterfalls, the Gorge is just a 30-minute drive from Portland. Well outside the urban sprawl, look out over Crown Point at magnificent Multnomah Falls or get your toes wet in the Lower Oneonta Falls. One of the largest designated national scenic areas in the country, when you’re done playing outside, it’s the perfect place to sip and swirl. The region is ripe with wineries and a prime grape growing area thanks to the fertile lands.
Part of the otherworldly landscape that makes up the John Day Fossil Beds, the Painted Hills are awash in yellow, gold, black, and red tones that morph with the light and moisture so no two visits are alike. The area is a hotbed of scientific discovery where you can dig for your own fossils or explore the collection of 40,000 already uncovered.
The birthplace of American sport climbing, Smith Rock boasts towering cliffs of volcanic ash in varying degrees of difficulty. And that myth that the Pacific Northwest being rainy and depressing? An outdoor lover’s playground in Central Oregon, the area is prime for bouldering, hiking, caving that just so happens to get 300 days of sun a year.
Part of the land carved by the Oregon Trail, the Wallowas is both a watery and alpine heaven. For breathtaking views, take the gondola up to the summit of Mt. Howard or stay at a lower elevation and explore the nation’s largest grassland and sleepy streams on a little lake getaway.
The deepest lake in America and one of the deepest on Earth, the brilliant blue waters of Crater Lake feel like you can see right into it’s soul. Surrounded by 2,000-foot cliffs with a volcanic island in the middle, Crater Lake is by far Southern Oregon’s biggest draw.