If you’ve ever travelled through Oregon, you know that it is one hell of a road trip! There was a lot to see and a lot to do but there was one main theme that seemed to stick out to me; water. We came across loads of waterfalls, beaches, waves, rain, hot springs etc. It was a beautiful state to explore, so we’ve compiled a list including 5 of our top nature stops that we hit along our trip. The perfect thing about these spots is that they are all under 4 hours away from Portland, which makes for some fun and quick day trips!
Distance from Portland: 50 min drive
This was our first hike once we arrived in Oregon, and a stunning hike it was! It wasn’t a very long one, a little bit of uphill, but it’s one that kept you entertained along the way. Most hikes would have you follow the trail to see the spectacle at the end, but this trail has several other spectacles along the way. You pass through several waterfalls and bridges to get to the main waterfall! This made it an instant favourite for us! Considering the shorter length of the hike, we still managed to hang around and check everything out for 2 hours! It was such a cool hike, I would definitely recommend!
Distance from Portland: 42 min drive
I’ve never seen a waterfall like this before. I swear it was something straight out of Lord of the Rings. This is less than 10 minutes away from Wahclella Falls so if you’re planning on doing this hike, you might as well make time for the other as well! This is a much more ‘tourist friendly’ spot; a huge parking lot, man made walkways, and a restaurant at the base of the waterfall. It make sense since I believe it is a popular place for weddings. This would be somewhere where you might want to get there early before the crowds start rolling in. The amount of people made it a little less pleasant, so if we come back again we might skip it, but it is a definite stop if you’ve never seen it before!!
Silver Falls State Park
Distance from Portland: 1 hour 12 min drive
The fact that it was pouring rain while we we’re trekking around this State park just made it feel so extremely Oregon, it was amazing. It’s a big park with a big trail network. We decided on a short trail walk to South Falls which was compact with flowing waters and lush greenery! I would definitely come back here to explore more of the park! Coming in the summer and taking advantage of the campgrounds sounds very ideal!
Shore Acres State Park
Distance from Portland: 4 hours
This park may be the furthest destination from Portland, but it was probably one of our favourites! It was our first glance at the Oregon coast and it did not disappoint! We could literally watch the huge crashing waves for hours. We honestly did end up hanging out there for a couple of hours. We happened to be there on Christmas Day and there was a surprising amount of people there for the Holiday; seems like no one can stay away from sights like these! There is also a beach, some campgrounds and a botanical garden (which was unfortunately closed) to take a look at while you’re there!
Distance from Portland: 2 hours
I’d be surprised if you’ve never seen or heard of this beach before. It is one of the most famously photographed locations in Oregon by far! I mean it was a core location in the film The Goonies for crying out loud. It’s a busy spot but its so worth it to add this on your list! The pups obviously love it too if you’ve brought your fur baby with you! There’s lots of little shops to check out around the strip, plus Pelican Brewery is an awesome place to grab food and drinks. Cannon Beach is a great spot for photos, especially if you come around sunset; it was GORGEOUS! It was an amazing way to end off our day driving along the coast.
For a closer look, here’s a ‘lil montage I put together of our trip!
All photos taken by Colin Christmas.