THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM PORTLAND, OREGON

Updated: Apr 26, 2019


A perfect reflection of Mt Hood from Lake Trillium
Portland, Oregon's largest cities in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood is known for its parks, bridges and bicycle paths, as well as for its Eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses. There are lots of road trip options that you can explore by staying in Portland , and in this post we will look at the must see places in the vicinity that should not be missed!







WHERE TO STAY IN PORTLAND?


Portland has ample options when it comes to accommodations -each ranging from budget to luxury. If you are a solo traveler like me then you would obviously want to go with a budget option (unless you want to splurge on an expensive hotel). One of best options for solo travelers is staying in Hostels and I had a good experience with HI Northwest Hostel in the heart of Portland. They had spacious dorms with ample locker room and a bedside fan (which is greatly appreciated in Summer!). Each floor had four bathrooms and I never had to wait for more than 5 minutes for my turn. There is also a good cafe with a handful of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner so overall I would definitely recommend checking this place out if you are on a budget.

Check out Booking.com for more options on stay.


If you are new to Booking.com then use this link to sign up, book a place and then once you finish your stay you get $20 back on your Credit card that you used for payment, similarly I get $20 too!


1. MULTNOMAH FALLS


There are plenty of waterfalls nearby the capital but none more beautiful and more awe-inspiring than the Multnomah falls, which has kind of become the postcard perfect image whenever someone mentions Portland or Oregon in general. During peak season the parking lot gets filled up really quickly so you might want to go really early in the morning or late in the evening to get a spot. The parking lot is located off Exit 31 and if the lot is full the exit will be closed ( you will see the signs beforehand so that you can plan accordingly).



If the exit is closed then consider taking Exit 25 to Rooster Rock state park, then pay $5 to park the car and then take the free shuttle to the falls. There will also be a free shuttle back for you from the falls to the parking lot. More information here.


MULTNOMAH FALLS

2. COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE SCENIC HIGHWAY


The historic Columbia river highway is a scenic drive that includes many attractions en route but below I will list the most important ones that ought not to be missed!


Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint



Vista House



Latourell Falls



3. MT. HOOD - TRILLIUM LAKE & MIRROR LAKE


Mount Hood is a dormant volcano in the northwest part of Oregon and offers a multitude of activities and hiking trails for everyone! Below are some of the places that should not be missed.


Trillium Lake

One of the best spots to get that perfect reflection shot of Mt. Hood, Trillium Lake also offers areas for setting up your picnic in summer and Snowshoeing in winter. There is also a Lake Trail that you can take which takes you around the lake, but to get the below shot you just have to walk a few meters from the parking lot :)


You need to pay the daily recreation pass of $5 to park here. More info here. The pass is required at multiple other locations but can obviously be reused at other locations for that entire day.




Mirror Lake

One Mirror Lake is another spot from where you can supposedly get a perfect reflection shot of Mt. Hood, and I use that word because I went the entire 1.5 mile hike but found that Trillium Lake was the best spot to get a reflection shot. So, go at your discretion.


4. TAMANAWAS FALLS


Tamanawas Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the Hood River and can be easily combined on a day trip to Mt. Hood. Please note that the hike to the falls is a moderate 4 mile RT hike so please plan your time accordingly. Make sure you carry plenty of food and other essentials.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/rBjs6HWPWEr


You need to pay the daily recreation pass of $5 to park here. More info here. The pass is required at multiple other locations but can obviously be reused at other locations for that entire day.



5. ROWENA CREST VIEWPOINT


This viewpoint is about a hour and a half towards the east of Portland and is definitely worth the drive if you have the time! You not only get to see beautiful views of the Columbia Gorge but also get to take those instagram worthy photos of that Horseshoe Bend on the road :)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/294z9woCBjn




6. CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK


Your trip to Oregon will be incomplete without seeing the spectacular Crater Lake National Park. There is so much to see and do here that I decided to write a separate post for this. Check it out here.



7. CANNON BEACH & HAYSTACK ROCK


Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is one of the most recognizable and popular attractions on the Oregon coast. At low tide, you can walk right up to it and find colorful sea stars and other fascinating tidepool creatures in its intertidal area. Puffins can be observed on Haystack Rock from early spring to mid-summer.


There is a public parking available in the area, so park your car here for free and make a short walk to the beach :)



If you have some time after seeing Cannon Beach, make sure you check out Indian Beach which is not too far from here. I didn't get the time to see it but I have heard it's really worth it :)


8. CAPE MEARES STATE PARK & LIGHTHOUSE


Cape Meares is one of the many state parks on the Oregon coast that offers spectacular views of the pacific coast. There is free parking available at the location and short walk takes you to the lighthouse overlooking the coast.


Location: https://goo.gl/maps/61v7fLV1K722





9. CAPE KIWANDA STATE PARK


Yet another scenic beachfront spot with beautiful views of the beach along with activities for picnic , fishing and hiking. This place is widely popular and sometimes heavily crowded, so plan your visit accordingly. There is free parking available but of course during peak hours you will hardly find any spot!

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/tjRFxDdgKA12



10. YAQUINA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE


The Yaquina head lighthouse offers scenic views of the beach and also allows the visitors to climb to the top of the lighthouse for even more breathtaking views. There are also various tours that are available, check this link for more information. If you don't want to take any tours you can still just look around and soak in the views :)


Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NywWrnpVzd92





11. SILVER FALLS STATE PARK


The Silver falls state park is situated in Silverton, about 50 miles south of Portland. There are a couple of hiking opportunities here with the most famous one being the Trail of Ten Falls Loop Hike, which takes you through ten different gorgeous waterfalls on a 8.7 mile loop. Trail starts at the Silver Falls Lodge.

If you don't have enough time to do the entire hike you can still check out two of the important waterfalls - North & South Falls which can also be accessed through the same trail.


12. OREGON DUNES RECREATION AREA


The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is located on the Oregon Coast, stretching approximately 40 miles north from the Coos River in North Bend, to the Siuslaw River, in Florence. Wind-sculpted sand dunes towering to 500 feet above sea level provide numerous recreational opportunities including off-highway vehicle use, hiking, photography, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and camping. Make sure you check out Dune Buggy rides that are available in this area!


13. CAPE LOOKOUT STATE PARK


Cape Lookout is located about an hour and half west of Portland and features spectacular waterfalls, scenic views and some great fishing. It is also a popular campground and day use area. This park along with Cape Kiwanda and Cape Meares, is part of the Three Capes Scenic Route.





And that concludes it!


Have you taken any of these day trips before?

Do you feel that I missed anything on this list?


I would love to hear your experiences.

Please feel free to drop a comment, I would really appreciate it.

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