Where in the world is Oregon?
Tourism opportunities before and after OPLSS
- Morris Dancing
- Hike/Ride the 4T Trail
- Visit the world's largest bookstore
- Hike the country's largest urban wooded park
- Hike the world's smallest park (aka the largest leprechaun colony west of Ireland)
- Canoe the country's largest urban protected wetlands
- Skate the Northwest's primier skatepark
- Dance on a cloud in the Crystal Ballroom
- Take a walking tour of Portland's public art (poster of Portland's mayor giving the tour) or Portland's Fountains
- See the longest running drag show on the West Coast
- Rent a bike and go zoobombing, do a naked bike ride, or use mass transit to visit other attractions in Portland
- Rose Festival
- HAREFEST Nostalgic Music Festival
- Cathedral Park Jazz Festival (For fans of The Librarians, the door to the library annex is in Cathedral Park)
- Northwest String Summit
- Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival
- Local Spirits
- Other Downtown Portland Attractions
- Morris Dancing
- Eugene Pro Rodeo
- Oregon Country Fair
- Skate the largest covered skate park in the US
- Other things in Eugene
Outside Willamette Valley
Drives around Oregon
If you are coming from a great distance, and you feel like vacationing in the Pacific Northwest, here are a few suggestions if you rent a car.
Getting from Portland to OPLSS through the Cascades
Using this route, you will circumnavigate Mount Hood , Wy'east, and head to the University of Oregon through the cascades. When driving on the old highway, please be aware that there are switchbacks and bicycles, so drive carefully. The old highway was designed by Sam Hill to showcase classical highway technology and show off the dramatic scenary of the Gorge. It goes along the tops of the cliffs; whereas, the freeway goes along the river. Obviously, the old highway is more scenic, with views of the various waterfalls, and more elegantly built, but the freeway is much faster. The old highway was built before the river was as controlled as it is now, so the course of the current freeway would have been periodically under water. The old highway was built to allow the fruit growers in The Dalles access to the Portland market without using river transport. It started the tradition of open air, direct-from-the-farm markets in Portland, but was immediately obsolete, as farmers clogged the road rushing to Portland each weekend.
Things to see around the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood
- Vista House — This was designed as a rest stop when the Old Highway was built. You can stop and use the bathroom, or buy a refreshing beverage. Crown Point is also a great place to stop and look out at the Gorge.
- Latourell Falls
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Angle's Rest/Devil's Rest Trails
- Wahkeena Falls
- Benson State Recreation Area
- Multnomah Falls — The lodge includes a snack bar and a fine-dining restaurant, if you want to make lunch reservations.
- Oneonta Gorge
- Horsetail Falls
- Ainsworth State Park
To take two days to do this, stop at the spots you like on the Columbia River in the first map. Spend the night at Government Camp or Detroit Lake, and then go the rest of the way to UO, stopping at the places you like on the second map.
Things to see in the Cascades south of Mount Hood
- Timberline Lodge — This was built by the WPA during the Great Depression. Zio Celestino (my now-dead uncle) was always proud that he was one of the kids who helped build it. It's very beautiful.
- Frog Lake Butte
- Timothy Lake
- Detroit Lake — The Ranger Station (marked on the map) has hiking details available for Mount Jefferson.
- Lost Lake — This lake disappears each year down a lava tube.
- Clear Lake — The lake that Lost Lake empties into.
- Sahalie Falls
- Deer Creek Hot Springs (In Oregon, the only poisonous snake is the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, which is not found in the Cascades, and has distinctive markings and noise warnings.)
- Leaburg Fish Hatchery
- Hendricks Bridge Park
If you want to make it a one day trip, take the first map route to Government Camp, and then switch to the map going through Salem. It will only take an additional 3 hours since there isn't anything to stop for along I-5. I added the Estacada Ranger Station to get the correct route, but there isn't anything there to stop for. Although, it is across the Clackamas River from Milo McIver State Park, which was the site of historic Vortex I in 1970.
Getting from OPLSS to Portland through the High Desert and Badlands
This takes several days because of the distance. You can camp along the way, or stop in towns that have hotels. If you have a tent, you can camp at Smith Rock; otherwise, you should plan on staying overnight near the John Day Fossil Beds. If you want to see the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge on the other map, then I suggest you spend one day at the Newberry Caldera and Smith Rock, one day at the John Day Fossil beds, and one day in the gorge. This involves spending one night near Bend, Redmond, or Prinville, one night at Maryhill campground or Goldendale and ending up in Portland.
This will take you past Celilo Falls and the Bridge of the Gods. Both of these are now gone, but are important to Native Americans from this region, and were often talked about when I was young. The village of Celilo was the longest inhabited community in North America (about 15,000 years) until the 1950's when The Dalles Dam backed up the river and submerged the falls. Many Native Americans claim that as the water was covering the falls, you could see dynamite explosions as the government made sure that Celilo, and the native peoples who relied on it, would never rise again. The city of The Dalles was named by the French fur traders after the word "dalle" which means stone because the river in that area was filled with giant stones from the Bonneville landslides. This caused the the Corps of Discovery to call that part of the river the Cascades. The mountain range which extends from British Columbia to California and is broken by the cascades was also named the cascades by Lewis and Clark. Near the end of the Oregon Trail at The Dalles, the settlers had to decide if they turned their covered wagons into rafts, and braved the rapids, which most of them didn't survive, or tried to ascend Mount Hood and possibly freeze to death. Eventually, Sam Barlow opened up the Sam Barlow trail. He would meet settlers in The Dalles, and for $5.00, he would show them how to get safely up Mount Hood. At the top, in exchange for the contents of their wagon, he would show them how to get safely down. It's that spirit of entrepreneurship that started the Oregon territory and made Portland the crimping capitol of the west coast for 50 years.
A Day Trip from Portland to See the Coast
The driving time is 4 hours, but it should take 12 hours or so stopping at the beaches. Coming back, I have you crossing into Washington to take advantage of I-5's greater speed, but the Oregon side using the slower highway 30 is more scenic, and you can stop by Sauvie Island to pick up some fresh produce.
A Day of Sightseeing in Portland Gardens
Google won't let me be controlling enough about embedded maps, so here is the itinerary