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Oregon Road Trip

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Oregon left me in awe. The state’s unpredictable weather in late April surprised us with clear skies and a lack of crowds at the attractions we visited. My partner Josh and I embarked on a journey, loosely following our itinerary as we explored the state. This road trip was more than just a means to get from point A to point B; it was an experience that allowed me to reflect on what makes these trips so alluring. The open road, for instance, represents endless possibilities and opportunities. It’s a concept that I think we could all benefit from applying to our daily lives. Alternatively, perhaps the freedom that comes with not having a rigid schedule or strict deadlines is what draws us to road trips. When you’re free to go with the flow, embracing spontaneity becomes second nature. Whatever the reason, I’m hooked on adventure and my Oregon road trip was no exception. If you’re an avid photographer, Oregon has plenty of options for you to capture stunning coastal and southern landscapes.


Oregon may be well-represented online, but there’s more to this Pacific Northwest state than what meets the eye. Stretching from the Columbia River to the California border, Oregon boasts a diverse landscape that defies easy description. From the country’s smallest park to its highest concentration of ghost towns (yes, you read that right), Oregon is full of surprises. The deepest lake in the US and the world’s largest mushroom are just two examples of the state’s natural wonders. Weather-wise, Oregon’s coastline is milder and more humid than its eastern regions, which tend to be colder and drier. As a result, the state has an incredible range of flora and fauna. But what you won’t find in a search engine is the essence of Oregon – its unique atmosphere, its quirky charm, and its breathtaking beauty. To get a sense of this intangible quality, I embarked on a road trip across the state, immersing myself in each region’s distinct character and finding that Oregon is, indeed, a place like no other.

Mt. Baker

Mt. Baker, a seemingly simple name belies its true nature – an active volcano capped with a glacier, nestled in Washington State. As I passed through on my Oregon road trip, I couldn’t resist the urge to stop and explore this natural wonder. The fact that it’s been thousands of years since its last eruption didn’t deter me, and I’m glad I took the detour. Despite being a hot hill, Mt. Baker still packs a punch – in April, the snow lining the road was a whopping 5 feet tall, and the lake we had our sights on remained frozen. It’ll have to wait until summer for us to return.

Cannon Beach

As we left Seattle behind, our next destination was Cannon Beach, a coastal gem renowned for its breathtaking scenery and photogenic appeal. National Geographic’s top 100 list of beautiful places in the world attests to its charm, but nothing prepares you for the reality. The moment we arrived, it was clear that this is no ordinary beach. Towering rock formations rise from the horizon, while majestic mountains stretch out as far as the eye can see. The combination creates an otherworldly atmosphere that’s hard to put into words. It’s a truly magical place that will leave you in awe.If you have some extra time on your road trip, consider spending a day exploring Astoria, the closest city. Its charm is well worth a visit.

Oregon Road Trip Vlog

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As an added bonus, I’ve included my Oregon road trip vlog below for your viewing pleasure, or you can head to YouTube for a higher quality experience. The Oregon coast is a treasure trove of natural wonders, and Josh and I were thrilled to stumble upon a secluded hillside boasting breathtaking views of the water and an unexpected treat – a vibrant display of wildflowers.

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

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The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is an unmissable destination on the Oregon Coast. The scenic route winds through spruce trees, alongside beaches, and even features a natural bridge – a true gem of nature’s craftsmanship. While the entire trail spans approximately 12 miles, you can still appreciate the highlights by focusing on the Natural Bridges and Arch Rock. It’s astonishing to behold what geological forces can shape over thousands of years, eroding rocks into unique formations. As someone who cherishes nature’s wonders, I’m always in awe.Getting to this stunning viewpoint requires a moderate level of physical exertion – you’ll need to scramble up the hill to capture the breathtaking panorama. As we concluded our coastal exploration, we embarked on an inland journey, which I highly recommend, especially considering the scenic route from Cape Kiwanda takes around 5 hours.For those with more leisurely schedules, I suggest spending a day in Bend – a charming city boasting excellent resorts and attractions. Alternatively, consider staying overnight in Roseburg, roughly a 3- to 4-hour drive inland after visiting the natural bridge.

Umpqua Hot Springs

As I continue my Oregon road trip, I’m thrilled to share my experience at the Umpqua Hot Springs, where I indulged in an old-fashioned natural soak. The hike up to the pools is short and sweet, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding hillside. Although the hot springs are relatively small, getting there early or being prepared to share with fellow soakers ensures a comfortable and relaxing experience. Once settled, you can unwind with the serene sounds of the forest, the gentle stream below, and the sky above. And let’s not forget the post-soak bliss – your skin will feel softer than ever before! This natural oasis is the perfect spot for a breather and some self-care while still exploring the great outdoors. It was my second visit to these hot springs; I previously visited with Joel last year, but didn’t have a chance to share my experience on the blog until now – look out for that upcoming post!

Painted Hills

The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, also known as Painted Hill, is an absolute must-visit for anyone embarking on their own Oregon road trip. The experience of witnessing this natural wonder firsthand is truly unforgettable. The site’s unique landscape features sprawling soft rock formations that seem to stretch across the horizon, showcasing a mesmerizing display of layered earth history. This otherworldly scenery is reminiscent of a breathtaking sunset, with an ever-changing palette of colors that are even more vibrant against the stunning blue sky backdrop. As one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders, it’s no surprise that this enchanting destination has earned such widespread acclaim. According to local knowledge, timing your visit early in the day or following a rain shower can result in an even more vivid color display.

Rowena Crest Viewpoint

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The Rowena Crest Viewpoint, situated near Portland, Oregon, boasts a renowned trail that culminates in a breathtaking vista. While there are various routes to ascend to the viewpoint, the ultimate reward lies at the end: a panoramic view of the horse-shoe- road and the lush Oregon landscape stretching as far as the eye can see. The Columbia River Gorge comes into view, making it an easily earned prize. Fortunately, none of the hiking options are excessively steep or lengthy, rendering this stop suitable for those who may not consider themselves naturally inclined hikers. Despite our abbreviated visit due to my health concerns, we still managed to capture some stunning photographs. I’m eager to return and fully appreciate the Rowena Crest viewpoint’s splendor.