An Epic Oregon Adventure

10 reasons Oregon should be on your bucket list, Montnomah Waterfall and bridge Pinterest pin

After a few rainy days of exploring Portland and discovering its weirdness, it was time for an epic Oregon adventure. I had read about their magnificent waterfalls, fairylands tucked into deep thick forests, and amazing coastline and beaches. The opposite could be found in Bend, located in the high desert to the east. Ski resorts like Mount Bachelor and Timberline with its historic lodge were places I definitely wanted to check out.

Multnomah Falls is less than an hour to the north of Portland. It took my breath away. Located above the gorge dividing Oregon and the state of Washington, I could see the massive waterfall from the highway before we parked.

As I approached the viewing area, I felt transported into a Tolkien novel with its fantastical bridge and lush surroundings. Mist fell all around us. I half-expected a cloaked man with a crooked staff, long hair, and beard to tap me on my shoulder so he could have a turn enjoying nature’s show.

Multnomah Falls and bridge over the rushing water in Oregon

Latourell Falls is even closer to Portland at about thirty minutes from downtown. The photos I took at the bottom of the falls were so full of mist, refracted, and distorted, I couldn’t use them. We hiked to the top too.

Check out the man at the bottom for scale. It was another monster waterfall.

Latourell Falls

Fairylands abounded. I could understand why Stephanie Meyer set the Twilight series in the Pacific Northwest. I could almost see vampires shimmering in the foliage. “Look, look! Oh, it’s gone.”

A tree trunk in Oregon covered with moss

In a hollow of fallen trees in Oregon lie exposed roots and hiding places

To escape a few days of rain, we drove to Bend, which was about three hours away, and checked into a McMenamins. Like I mentioned in my What Makes Portland Weird post, these enterprises are so fantastic, I can’t believe no one has copied these inventive brothers.

St. Francis McMenamins had been a Catholic school. They kept some of the original buildings and built a restaurant, two bars, game room, a Turkish bath and a theater complete with loveseats and waiters.

Danny and I watched Jumanji while waiters served dinner. Wow!

St. Francis Theater McMenamins Bend with loveseats

The bath house has an open skylight. I had worried about how cold it would be but the water was super warm. Check out the mosaic scenes of St. Francis. McMenamins is known for incorporating artwork in its architecture. Our room was completely paneled in wood and decked out in rustic furniture. The border in the bath was hand-painted.

McMenamins St. Francis bath house Bend

Coming from Colorado I was fascinated by the mountains in Oregon formed by volcanoes. How cool is that? You can literally ski around the circumference of Mt. Bachelor.

On our way back to Portland we saw several of these chimney-like mountains and then drove to Timberline Ski Resort where several happy skiers strode to their vehicles with grins on their faces after a great day of skiing a foot of new snow, or what Danny calls, Sierra cement.

Timberline Lodge is located at the resort on the south side of Mt. Hood. It was the face of the hotel in The Shining. I’m all about that after my night at the Stanley Hotel, which also inspired Stephen King. Not my night, but his night, well you know what I mean. Anyway, this lodge was completely different.

Timberline Lodge from The Shining in a Snowstorm

Four stories tall and 40,000 square feet, this almost all hand-hewn structure was built during The Great Depression as part of the WPA which put men back to work.

Timberline Lodge interior shot showing hand-hewn logs and massive stone fireplace

A six-sided, almost one hundred foot tall fireplace stands in the center of the hexagonal building. It was too massive to get in one shot.

Timberline lodge fourth floor view of the bar and wood struts, and railing in Oregon

Danny and I shared a plate of charcuterie; cheese, bread, jams, and nuts while enjoying the view. It’s reminiscent of The Shining don’t you think?

View from the Timberline Lodge of an orange snowcat like the one in The Shining.

Later that week, we made a loop from Portland to the Oregon coast starting in Cannon Beach. A one-hour drive. Its beauty speaks for itself.  This is a view from Ecola State Park right outside of town.

Oregon's Cannon Beach shoreline from above

From there we drove to Seaside and ran along the beach. It was a brisk day, but it’s always great to see the Pacific when normally landlocked in Colorado.

Seaside Beach in Oregon with a couple walking in the surf

Then we drove on to Astoria and checked out the Astoria Column. It was painted with Oregon’s history. While walking inside all the way to the top of the one hundred twenty-five foot spire, I got dizzier than usual.

Astoria Column in Oregon with pictographs of state history

The top of the hill provided a great view of the Astoria-Meglar Bridge spanning the Columbia River. It’s the longest truss bridge in North America. I just looked that up.

A view of the Astoria-Megler Bridge spanning the Columbia River in Oregon

 

From lush forests to the high desert, amazing waterfalls, and snowy mountains, we really enjoyed our trip to Oregon.

Have you traveled to Oregon? Are you into hiking? Any vacation plans this summer?

Related posts:

Travel Tips and Tricks for Your Next Trip!

What Makes Portland Weird?

Skiing Heavenly is Pretty Much, Heavenly!

46 thoughts on “An Epic Oregon Adventure

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  1. When we lived out West we explored quite a bit of California and Oregon. We wish we did more exploring in Washington though. Oregon is so diverse – big city to wine country to nature to coast and everything in between. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

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  2. Shh! Don’t tell everyone!

    But seriously though. Glad to see your appreciation of Oregon’s treasures. And Danny’s right (hee-hee). Oregon snow can be pretty heavy, especially compared to Colorado’s! If you relish ski Oregon conditions, you are elevated to special voodoo skier status.

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  3. Beautiful photos! My wife and I drive down the coast of Oregon a couple of years ago, and it’s an amazingly gorgeous and serene experience…even with all of the beaches, trees and saline, our favorite part was stopping at the iconic Tillamook cheese factory! Oh, and heading into California we drove THROUGH a tree! – Here’s a look at our trip if you are interested – https://johnrieber.com/2015/03/14/oregons-coast-amazing-views-majestic-sunsets-whales-drive-thru-trees/

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  4. Ah good memories. I have been to a lot of those places. You can’t beat Oregon for pure natural beauty.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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  5. I usually skip the trip posts, but you had me at WATERFALLS! I don’t know what my obsession is with them, really. I don’t collect anything related to them, I don’t travel to visit them, but I sure love looking at the pictures! (I was about to say I had a whole folder on deviantArt called “Ireland and Waterfalls”, but it turns out there’s not much in there…I need to go browsing again!)

    Plus, that Turkish bath was pretty cool…I didn’t know what to expect there. Plus, I can tell I’ve been watching expat videos on Japan and am used to the brown/black hot spring waters!

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  6. That waterfall was so amazing!!! And what a trip you had. It’s like a trip around the world in one country…. great pictures and I for sure would love that bath😉

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  7. Well written and an amazing amount of coverage all in one blog. I have enjoyed seeing parts of the Oregon coastline already but you discovered parts I didn’t know about. Sadly the Oregon coast is about 16 hour drive so not so convenient. You managed to incorporate Twilight and Tolkien and for being dizzier than usual – you gal have a writing gift and excellent photos. In my opinion you could have tried instead doing Oregon as a four or six parter blog series and included google maps for each post to show the area described. Just a thought.

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  8. Stunning! What an amazing adventure. It put me in mind of a trip to see a waterfall in Tasmania; nothing as awe inspiring as your waterfall. On our way back I came across an elderly lady being helped by a guide and not doing very well. I offered to take her free arm to give support which she accepted. I asked about herself and she told me she was Rose from Melbourne and 82 years old. To be smart I said ‘don’t worry about it, Rose, someone has to come from Melbourne because it’s there.’ Her guide, an Ausie, asked me ‘and where do you come from?’ I started to laugh because I knew what was coming: ‘I’m from Ramsbottom’ (yes, it does exist) I replied. ‘My,’ he said, ‘what poetry you English have.’ Well, it served me right didn’t it. But he shook my hand and thanked me for my help, help gladly given to a lovely lady.

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  9. Susie, your photography is just wonderful – I completely agree that the landscape is straight out of The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings! Just stunning. The baths are very similar to the original Roman baths in Bath, UK – you have convinced me that this state is somewhere special to visit with your well written post. Fab as ever!! C x

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  10. Love the pics! I grew up in New York State, but now that I live in North Dakota, I’m that much closer to Oregon and Pacific Ocean where I’ve never been…I hope to get there soon! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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  11. Your photos are beautiful! I’m going to share your blog with my niece and nephew who have only recently moved to the Portland area. They are exploring all the time and your photos will spur them on! 🙂

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