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The Ultimate 10-day Oregon Road Trip

West coast, best coast? Find out for yourself!

By: Austin Jackson + Save to a List

As a resident of Oregon for nearly nineteen years, I have seen much of what Oregon has to offer. Even though I have been grounded in the same place for years, I have never gotten tired of my surroundings. Oregon is an amazing place with a change of scenery around every corner. Oregon's diverse environment, including beaches, deserts, mountains, and large cities make it a popular tourist destination. Come find out what all of the hype is about for yourself!

1. Portland

Day one will be spent in Portland. If you are lucky enough to fly (or drive) in the morning, I recommend checking out some of what the city has to offer. If you aren't wild about checking out the city, rest a bit and prepare for the next few busy days!

2. Columbia River Gorge (2 Days)

For your first destination in your trip will be head east towards the Columbia River Gorge. This area thousands of hiking trails and hundreds of waterfalls and viewpoints. I won't go in to too much detail about hikes in this area, but I do encourage you to check out another one of my stories about The Best and Worst of The Columbia River Gorge. I recommend spending two days exploring this area due to the fact that there are so many amazing waterfalls and viewpoints.

3. Mt. Hood (1 Day)

Mt. Hood is an amazing place any time of year. If you visit in the winter, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are a must. In the summer, Mt. Hood offers many great hikes and lakes to hang out at for the day with gorgeous mountain views. Here are some of my favorites on Mt. Hood:

Tamanawas Falls

Trillium Lake

Lost Lake

White River

Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain 

4. Bend/Sisters (2 Days)

The Bend and Sisters area is home to some of Oregon's most beautiful deserts and snow covered mountains. I recommend three days in this area just due to the amount of awesome places that you should check out! Northeast of Sisters, the Mackenzie Highway has tons of beautiful hikes. South-east of Bend is home to many amazing caves, and south-west of Bend hosts many beautiful lakes and mountains. Some of my favorites are listed below:

Tamolitch Pool

Chush Falls

Sparks Lake

5. Crater Lake National Park (1 Day)

On your road trip to Oregon, it is only fitting that you visit the only national park in the state! Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. In the winter, the park has tons of amazing snowshoe routes, and in the summer, spend a night in the lodge and enjoy some beautiful views. For photographers, this is a great spot for nighttime photography. The light pollution is very low this far out, and the Milky Way can be seen over the lake.

6. Brookings (1 Day)

Our next stop brings us to the Oregon coast. I highly recommend checking out Samuel H. Boardman State Park, which is home to some of the most beautiful arches and rugged coastline that Oregon has to offer. This area has many different hikes for any skill level, so it is a great place for nearly anyone with a love for the beach.

7. Yachats (1 Day)

Yachats is home to some of the coolest ocean features that Oregon has to offer. Cape Perpetua is something you must see for yourself. The main feature of this area is Thor's Well, which is an excellent spot for photography. Be careful, however, or you may get wet! Walking along Cape Perpetua you will see many other things, like water shooting out from the rocks or huge crashing waves. When you are done, drive north a few miles and check out Devil's Punchbowl, which is another amazing rock formation on the coast!

8. Salem (1 Day)

It is only fitting that we visit the state capital on our last day of the road trip. While many people do not see Salem as a good place for hiking, if you drive just 30 minutes from the city, it can show you some of the most beautiful and iconic waterfalls that Oregon has to offer. Here are my favorites in the area.

Silver Falls (Trail of 10 Falls Loop)

Abiqua Falls

I will mention that Oregon is an absolutely amazing place. This guide does not include all the beautiful places you may want to visit so be sure to check out other Oregon visitor guides as well. This guide simply serves the purpose of where to start, and I consider it the best "bang for your buck" 10 days. Eastern Oregon has many amazing sights as well, but the driving time is much longer. Hopefully this helps you plan your trip out west! Here are some other articles that may be helpful to planning your trip:

The Best 7 Hikes Within 90 Minutes of Portland

Making New Friends and Chasing Waterfalls in Bend, Oregon

Feeling Columbia River Gorge-ous

20 Amazing Backpacking Trips in Oregon

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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