As one of the most beautiful states in America, Oregon is known for its natural beauty which attracts nature lovers and outdoor adventure seekers from all over the world. But what are the most beautiful places in Oregon? We’re here to answer that question.
Oregon is quite diverse, as you’ll read below, offering up vibrant cities, charming towns, sprawling countryside, majestic mountains, and an abundance of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world.
We have our own personal favorites but we wanted to get the opinion of some of our fellow travelers and Pacific Northwest explorers.
Travelers choice for some of the most beautiful places in Oregon State
If your idea of beauty includes acres upon acres of rolling hills, lush farmland and scenic vineyards dotted with quaint towns, welcoming wineries and occasional waterfalls, rivers and covered bridges then the Willamette Valley will definitely win you over.
There are more than 500 wineries to discover in the Willamette Valley and numerous ways to explore them. Whether you drive, take a tour, cycle, hike or even kayak between wineries you will be surrounded by epic scenery to accompany your wine tasting adventures.
Although the Willamette Valley is close enough to Portland to visit on a day trip we highly recommend making a weekend of it. One of our favorite spots to base ourselves is the adorable town of McMinnville. The historic downtown full of wonderful eateries, tasting rooms and boutique shops will have you charmed in no time.
Read more from Discover the Pacific Northwest
Situated 56 miles north of Bend lies an incredible destination called Sahalie Falls. Those who visit can view the waterfall in all its glory and then hike in either direction along the stunning McKenzie River Trail, which is a 26-mile trail of pure Central Oregon scenery.
From Sahalie Falls, you can hike south for about a mile in order to reach another beautiful and equally grand waterfall called Koosah Falls. Another five miles to the south lies Tamolitch Falls, which is often referred to as the Blue Pools. If you head north from Sahalie Falls, you’ll stumble upon Clear Lake in close to no time. Basically, the entire area is incredibly scenic and there are numerous other sights within walking distance from Sahalie Falls.
Read more from Michael at Passport Explored
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is probably one of the most popular areas in Oregon due to its excellent location (and stunning beauty!). A mere 25 minutes outside of Portland and you’re out of the bustle and in Oregon’s magnificent nature. The Gorge offers up a myriad of activities and gorgeous views, most of which are very easy to get to!
The most popular highlight in the Gorge is Multhonoma Falls, a beautiful two-tier waterfall that plunges down basalt cliffsides just off the main road. In the area, there are numerous other waterfalls like Ponytail Falls (half a mile hike) and Wahkeena Falls (a nearly five-mile hike). Along the Gorge are other hikes (both easy and challenging to get to) providing even more waterfalls to chase or epic view to reward your efforts.
If hiking isn’t your thing, there’s windsurfing on the Columbia River, plenty of places to go camping, and SUPing and kayak opportunities. Should you be really short on time, simply driving the road along the Gorge and making a short pit stop at the Vista House will show you the beauty of the area.
Please note that the Columbia River Gorge was unfortunately hit hard by a 2017 forest fire and some of the hikes and areas are still closed off to this day. Be sure to double-check before heading out! (Everything mentioned in this description is currently open!)
Read more from Nina at Oregon is for Adventure
One of my favorite places to visit in Oregon is Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City on the idyllic Oregon Coast. It’s a sleepier town than Cannon Beach and oh-so-peaceful. The biggest attraction in Pacific City is the beach. It’s massive and so much fun for beach fires and roasting marshmallows!
The beach overlooks Haystack Rock, which is actually larger than the one in Cannon Beach. The whole area is so picturesque with the long grass, ocean-side cliffs, and vast beach. Part of the charm is that it doesn’t feel over-developed, so you can truly unplug and just soak in the PNW beach life.
Read more from Marcie at Marcie in Mommyland
Crater Lake National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon and one of the most unusual National Parks in the U.S. The centerpiece of the park is a huge lake that was formed about 7,700 years ago after a collapse of a Mount Mazama volcano. What makes the lake so amazing and unique is its deep blue sapphire color. This color is due to the phenomenal clarity of the water of the lake and its depth.
Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. at almost 2000 ft! The record clarity of the lake was measured at 134 ft, which means an object placed under the water can be seen from above the water while being itself down at that huge depth.
When you visit Crater Lake you can hike in the park or do a scenic drive stopping at several scenic spots and taking in all the majestic views. Since the lake sits at the over 7,000 ft elevation above sea level, the views of the surrounding areas are magnificent. On a clear day, one can see as far as Mt. Shasta in California, which is almost 170 miles away. Crater Lake National Park is also famous for its wildflowers best seen in July.
Read more from Tatiana at Family Road Trip Guru
Portland Japanese Garden
For natural beauty, it is hard to beat Washington Park’s expansive Portland Japanese Garden, which is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. My favorite of its eight gardens is the Tea Garden and its authentic tea house, the Sand & Stone Garden, and Flat Garden. Each season offers new treats.
Additionally, the garden features streams, colorful koi, and a superb view of Mt. Hood. Do allow time to take tea and refreshment in the new cafe and to browse the well-curated gift shop.
Read more from Carole at Travels With Carole
In the northernmost part of Oregon’s Willamette Valley lies the rural and bucolic Tualatin Valley, just 20 minutes from Portland. Considering the high-tech residents and brands that call it home, you’d be forgiven for calling this valley-within-a-valley quaint, though it’s exactly that.
Stretches of quiet country roads wind through beautiful rolling hills and valleys, intersecting on corners occupied by farm stands, charming cafes serving homemade pie and sweet tea. And so many amazing wineries with modern tasting rooms — some even with direct and stunning views of nearby Mt. Hood.
There’s a lot to see and do in the Tualatin Valley especially for wine lovers— they’re known for very elegant Pinot Noirs, and some of the best Japanese-style sake in the country. And the best part? It all has an authentic feel as if the city life is contained in the city, and visits its other (better) half on recharging days. The next time your travels take you to Portland, add in a few extra days to explore the Tualatin Valley.
Read more from Lori at Travlinmad
Woodburn Tulip Festival
There’s nothing like walking through a gorgeous field of tulips! And there’s no better place to explore a tulip field than at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon. The festival is hosted by the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm and is located only a short 45-minute drive from Portland, OR.
The festival lasts throughout the month of April and sometimes it begins a week or two in late March and extends into early May. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is best known for its beautiful rows of tulips on the farm. The tulips range from hot pink to red, deep purple to baby pink, and they even have multi-colored variations as well!
Short of flying to the Netherlands, this is one of the best places in the United States to see rows and rows of tulips.
Read more from Constance at The Adventures of Panda Bear
Multnomah Falls is probably the most popular of all of Oregon’s waterfalls and it’s easy to see why. Just a 30-minute drive from Portland, Multnomah is famous for its twin falls that are perfectly intersected by an arch bridge.
The falls are fringed by dense forest which is particularly photogenic in the fall when all the leaves change colour. The most famous viewpoint is very easy to get to – just a one minute walk from the car park – and offers the best view of the whole falls. You can then walk up to the bridge which takes around five minutes and offers a great view of the upper falls.
If you’re feeling more energetic you can walk the 1.2-mile trail to the very top of the falls on 11 steep switchbacks. Multnomah Falls can get very popular in the middle of the day and at weekends, so if you can make it mid-week or very early in the morning on a weekend it will be a much more peaceful experience.
Read more from Cat at Walk My World
Are you a nature lover? Then, Tumalo Falls, just a 15 miles drive west of Bend, Oregon is a must-visit in Central Oregon. Surrounded by high cliffs, the site offers stunning views of the 97-feet tall waterfall from the viewpoint.
Walk up the trail on the left side of the waterfall to reach the next overlook plateau to get even closer to Tumalo Falls. There you will have a different perspective and a view of Tumalo Falls from above, where Tumalo Creek turns into the tallest and most picturesque waterfall near Bend.
You will find nice pick-nick spots at the day-use area and access to some hiking and mountain biking trails, where you will discover even more waterfalls along the trails. It’s your choice of a shorter half-mile hike up to the Tumalo Falls overlook or go farther upstream and explore the other waterfalls such as Double Falls, Upper Falls or Bridge Creek Falls on the 7.4 miles loop.
Parking at the site requires a Northwest Forest Pass or a recreation pass, which is available at the site for $5 (day pass).
Read more from Rand at Bend Explored
The whole of the Oregon Coast is spectacular but one of our favorite towns is Newport. This beautiful little seaside town has it all. The Historic Bayfront, full of seafood restaurants with a view and quirky little shops, makes for a perfect day of strolling and tasting. Plus you can stop and watch the fishermen come and go with their hauls of the day, which you can purchase and take away for a crab boil on the beach!
Speaking of the beach Newport has some of the best, plus it’s also surrounded by beautiful state parks. Southbeach State Park starts in Newport, runs several miles south down the coast and offers a fabulous paved jetty trail. Yaquina Head is the epitome of Oregon Coast’s natural beauty and is home to the iconic Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Then, for long beach walks and storm watching there’s the wide Agate Beach State Recreation Site.
The town of Newport also has the advantage of sitting near the center of the Oregon Coastal road making it a perfect home base for exploring both north and south.
Read more from Sarah & Live Dream Discover
*Yet another vote for Crater Lake!
Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world! What makes Crater Lake so incredible? A few things! Number 1, this is the deepest lake in the United States. At the deepest point, Crater Lake is 1,949 feet deep, which is over 6 football fields deep!
On top of that, Crater Lake is also the clearest lake in the entire World. The lake was created by the collapse of Mount Mazama, followed by years and years of rain and snowfall. The water accumulated in the giant caldera and formed Crater Lake! There are no rivers or streams that flow in or out of the lake, so the water is completely undisturbed!
Okay, so Crater Lake is the deepest and clearest lake around, but we aren’t done there. The surrounding area around Crater Lake is full of adventure and hiking trails. These trails, especially The Watchman and Mount Scott trails, offer incredible overlooks of the lake and the surrounding landscape. If you want to get up close and personal, then the Cleetwood Cove trail takes you right to the lakeshore, where you can even jump in! Fair warning: the lake is pretty cold!
Hiking and adventure all around the most beautiful and pristine lake on the planet, Crater Lake is without-a-doubt one of the most beautiful places in Oregon.
Read more from Julie at Ruhls of the Road
Trail of Ten Falls
People visiting Oregon are spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing waterfall hikes—it’s choosing which trail to hike that’s the challenge. So why not get ten waterfalls in one go? The Trail of Ten Falls is located in Silver Falls State Park, near Salem and the Willamette Valley, and an easy day trip from the Portland area. It’s filled with gorgeous waterfalls of all shapes and sizes.
This trail is a fairly easy option that gives you waterfalls ranging from 27 feet high to 178-foot drops. It’s mostly shaded, with beautiful green foliage and peeks of wildlife to keep you company. Whether you’re into cascading falls or a big water spout, there’s a waterfall for everyone here—including some you can walk behind or around.
The full trail is 8.7 miles (or 6.9, depending on who you ask), so plan accordingly for time. It’s also not super well-signed, so occasionally navigation can be challenging. There are a couple of places you can shave off time and falls if you’re strapped for time. Visiting this trail will make you feel a little more like an Oregon local vs. a tourist, and it’s well worth your time.
Read more from Jessica at One Girl, Whole World
Oregon’s Rogue River Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. I had the opportunity to spend several days in Medford, Oregon, home to Harry & David before setting off on a Rogue River rafting trip. The Rogue River was one of the original rivers in the US to be designated a Wild & Scenic River in 1968. If you have a chance to take a multi-day float trip, you’ll marvel at the lack of civilization as this area has been protected for many years.
You can also hike along the river using the Rogue River Scenic Trail, which follows the river for 40 miles. We saw tons of wildlife, including several black bears over the course of four days. Elsewhere in the Rogue River Valley, you’ll find orchards, vineyards and a fantastic artisan food scene. Make sure you stop at Medford’s Artisan Corridor for cheese, chocolate and wine!
Read more from Leigh at Campfires and Concierges
One of the best most beautiful places to visit in Oregon is Cannon Beach, located about an hour and a half northwest of portland. The beach is a great summer getaway with a splendid view of the Haystack Rock, and it is a seasonal haven for tufted puffins.
The beach is a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. Many people go surfing, have bonfires, check out the tide pools, or create sandcastles. The waters are chilly in the middle of the summer, but that doesn’t prevent people from enjoying the waters.
There are many excellent restaurants where you can eat. One of my two favorite restaurants is Lazy Susan Cafe for breakfast and the Irish Table for dinner. Cannon Beach is a great spot to take the family for the weekend. Exploring this area is an absolute must in Oregon.
Read more from Michelle at The Wandering Queen
The Oregon coast may be one of the most beautiful drives in America. There are so many spots where you feel an overwhelming desire to pull the car over and explore the coast on foot. Cape Perpetua is one of these spots.
Cape Perpetua is at Mile Marker 167. On a clear day, you can see 37 miles out to sea and 70 miles of coastline. Thors Well, Devil’s Churn, Cookes Chasm, and Cape Cove Beach are located at this National Forest scenic area.
Thor’s Well was my personal favorite. It is a massive blowhole. As the waves come in, the powerful pull of the ocean makes the most magnificent sight to behold. We witnessed this at low tide but high tide is supposed to be even better.
This was the highlight of my trip. I highly recommend making this part of your experience on the Oregon Coast. You will not be disappointed!
Read more from Lisa at Planning Away
While it is a little time consuming to reach Bend, Oregon, it is well worth the trip. This town is nestled between the Cascade Mountain range and the Deschutes River. A jumping-off point to exploring the mountains and waters in the surrounding area, Bend itself is also filled with beautiful sites to visit.
To get the best view from a car in the state, drive to the top of Pilot Butte, an extinct volcano. Not many places feature a volcano you can just drive to the top of and walk around. For a spectacular view in the city, as well as a relaxing beverage, head to the Deschutes River and watch the water float by while you contemplate what to explore next.
Read more from Adrian at Adrian’s Travel Tales
Toketee Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon and should not be missed! It is the most famed of the waterfalls in Southern Oregon, and for good reason. While Toketee Falls may not be the biggest in Oregon, it makes up for size with spectacular scenery.
It is nestled among lush vegetation and framed by columnar basalt rock formations that remind you of a fossilized tree at first glance. One of the things that make Toketee Falls so popular is its accessibility.
You’ll find this slice of paradise tucked away in the Umpqua National Forest between Bend and Roseburg. It has a well-established car park and requires only a short walk through the thick green forest to reach the viewing platform where you can marvel at the thunderous falls.
Read more from Sophie at Travels With Sophie
Rockaway Beach is located less than 30 miles south of famous Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, but it feels a world away. Rockaway Beach is a sleepy little beach town where most businesses close early and the days are best spent lounging on the uncrowded beach. At sunset, you’ll find that even during peak season, there is hardly anyone around and the way the tide goes out creates shallow pools of water that gorgeously reflect the glow of the sun.
Rockaway Beach also has its own impressive looming rock a short distance offshore that is shaped like an arch and makes for a lovely photo op. The wide expanse of sand and crashing waves easily makes Rockaway Beach one of the most beautiful spots in Oregon.
Read more from Gina at One Day in a City
Forest Park is 5,100 acres of happy place! Nestled in the mountains to the west of Downtown Portland, Forest Park has served as a wonderful reprieve from city life since 1948. With over 70 miles of walking, running, and biking trails, you’ll find plenty of space to enjoy yourself.
Be sure to check out the scenic Wildwood Trail, which connects back to Portland’s urban trail network. Scattered among the Firs, Hemlocks, and Red Cedars, you’ll find the Witch’s Castle. The Witch’s Castle (pictured) is just a short walk in from the Upper Macleay or Lower Macleay trailheads. The story goes that a man living back in the mid-1800s murdered his daughter’s husband out of anger. The man at first blamed the murder on his wife, claiming that she was a witch, and had put a spell on him. The courts did not believe his story, and he was hanged for the crime. According to local legend, the ghosts of the family haunts the grounds of the Witch’s Castle.
With the ability to enjoy the outdoors, relax, and get a dose of local lore, you will love Forest Park!
Read more from Alek at 9 to 5 Voyager
Oregon is loaded with spectacles of nature, boasting diverse landscapes and over 360 miles of an astounding coastline, and Mary’s Peak is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Mary’s Peak is famous for its sprawling valley and beguiling views.
It is the highest point on Oregon’s Coast Range and a perfect place to hike, bike, or picnic. Its scenic views of lush green vegetation give you an illusion of being in an African national park without the hours spent on an airplane. Next time you visit Oregon plan to stop at Mary’s Peak, the views will take your breath away.
Read more from Lydia at Africa Wanderlust
There is good reason the Painted Hills of Eastern Oregon has been designated one of the state’s 7 wonders. Gracefully rolling along the landscape outside Mitchell, Oregon are enormous hills striated with ribbons of brilliant red, green, gold and black.
Part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, the Painted Hills unit provides gorgeous geological evidence of ancient climate changes buried amid the layers. Take one of the hiking trails through this otherworldly landscape and experience the full effect of the colors later in the day.
In summer months, wildflowers bloom and the valley floor gleams verdant against the colorful bluffs. Off the beaten track and more than worthy of the effort to find, the Painted Hills is a perfect place to enjoy the diversity of Oregon’s landscape.
Read more from Erin at Oregon Girl Around the World
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- Ultimate List of the Most Beautiful Places in Oregon - December 8, 2019