The husband and two friends of ours from Minnesota flew out to join us on a 5 day adventure across Oregon. We had been to Portland and the Gorge previously, but were itching to see more. We found the perfect time to go at the end of June and planned from there.
Day 1: We drove from Seattle to Portland and stayed the night there. We explored Powell’s Book Store, had Salt n’ Straw ice cream (the BEST), enjoyed some tax free shopping, and dined at Deschutes Brewery.
Day 2: We left Portland and took the scenic route past Mt. Hood. This area is gorgeous. I am sure there is lots of lovely hiking/camping in the area. We stopped at Trillium Lake that gave us a perfect view of Mt. Hood. After that we stopped at Smith Rock State Park and then made our way to Bend. Bend is a cute little town with great mountain views and breweries galore. We stopped for a beer before we continued to Diamond Lake. We made it to Diamond Lake before dark and sent up camp. Our spot was right near the Lake, everything was perfect except for the swarms of mosquitos.
Day 3: We woke up, ate breakfast, and made our way to Crater Lake! It was about 25 minutes from Diamond Lake, which was great. We drove up and went to one of the first look out points and it was breath taking. I have never seen something so blue in my life and the vast size of the lake is incomprehensible. It is something that truly everyone should see with their own eye. Such a special, unique park. We drove south around the lake as far as we could (part of the rim was still closed because of snow). After making it south we headed back north and east to the last section we hadn’t seen. We did one hike at Crater Lake and it was the Cleetwood Cove Trail. This is the only way to get down to the water. It was only a 1 mile hike but the elevation coming back up was killer. At the bottom, the boys jumped into the frigged water while the girls soaked in the views. After this we headed back to Diamond Lake for another night. We enjoyed the sunset, ate some good camp food and played games.
Day 4: We woke up early to head out for a full day of adventure. We first went to Toketee falls which was 30-40 minutes from Diamond Lake. It is a relatively short hike to a beautiful waterfall. Oregon has Washington beat in the waterfall front for sure. Just down the road we then went to Umpqua Hot Springs. This was our first natural hot springs experience. It’s a little hike up and you come out to this exposed cliff with a river below. On this cliff is about 6 small pools that starts with (unbearably) hot water dripping down to different pools (the temperature decreases a little with each pool). This was one of the coolest things I have experienced. I can’t wait to go to more hot springs! After this we headed to the coast. We stopped in Eugene for Voodoo Donuts and made our way to Cape Lookout State Park. Cape Lookout juts out from the coast and is gorgeous. We camped fairly close to the ocean. I could hear the waves coming in as we went to sleep, so peaceful.
Day 5: We woke up and packed up for the last time. We headed to Tillamook next, a large dairy factory well known in the PNW. We toured the factory, sampled the delectable cheese, and then of course got ice cream before 10 AM. After this we then headed to the infamous Cannon Beach! This had been on our list for a long time as well and we were excited to finally get there. We drove down to the beach and ended up parking far from the haystacks, but it made for a nice barefoot walk down the beach. the only thing that could’ve made this any better was if it was a clear/sunny day. But atlas, those are hard to come by up here. We walked up to the haystacks admiring their giant size amongst the ocean and crashing waves. We explored the tide pools and the crabs and other little critters living amongst the shore. A stop at the coast would not be complete without some seafood, so we stopped for fish and chips at Cannon Beach. After this we started to make our way to Seattle passing through other small ocean towns (that I would love to go back and explore sometime).
Overall it was an amazing trip and so great to see so much of Oregon and it’s beauty. Really gives Washington a run for its money.
The PNW continues to steal my heart over and over again.