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One thing that’s constant in Central Oregon is the changing weather. Each season presents its weather, adventures, and sometimes obstacles. There’s a season for everyone to explore and enjoy! But be sure to check conditions, be prepared, and call ahead for expert local intel so you can have fun, stay safe, and make the most of your time in Bend.


Winter has something for everyone. Wax your skis, dust off the fat bike, and strap on your snowshoes! From snow covered mountains and trails, there’s plenty of winter fun to be had. If you are not a fan of the white stuff, check out Bend’s vast array of breweries and restaurants, as well as the many ways to have family-friendly indoor fun.

Trail running in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness near Bend, OR

Spin the weather wheel of fortune in spring, which comes a little late in Central Oregon. Come April, wildflowers begin to bloom in the Badlands, mountain bike trails start to open up near town, and rivers start to rise. Be prepared for all kinds of crazy weather in the spring, from snow to sunshine to high winds and rain.

Guided canoe tour in Bend, OR

Who doesn’t love summer? Hot, sunny days make it the perfect time to float in the cool waters of the Deschutes River, explore the lakes on the Cascade Lakes Highway, mountain bike the ribbons of singletrack in the forest, or enjoy a refreshing beverage in the sunshine.

Hiking in the fall near Bend, OR

The shorter days of fall are lit up by brilliant yellow and red leaves on the trees in Drake Park. Solitude is easy to come by, and layering is highly recommended as cool shadows may cast a chill. Sip a Bend ale in the warmth of a fire pit while the sunset creates a backdrop behind the Cascades.


Road conditions in Bend, OR

Road conditions in Bend

Bend, oregon and mt. bachelor winter ski + trail conditions.

Skiing corduroy at Mt Bachelor

Mt. Bachelor generally opens around Thanksgiving every year and has one of the longest seasons of any ski resort in the United States. With over 400 inches of annual snowfall and more than 4,300 skiable acres, Mt. Bachelor’s nordic and alpine skiing is some of the best around. Be sure to check Mt. Bachelor’s webcams before heading up to the mountain as conditions can vary greatly from what is happening at your vacation rental or hotel in Bend.

Nordic skiing at Meissner Nordic in Bend, OR

Meissner Nordic, located at the Virginia Meissner Sno-Park, 14 miles from Bend, is a community supported ski area. Trails are groomed daily, conditions permitting, providing 47km of skate and classic track, as well as ungroomed classic trails. Weather and trail grooming reports can be viewed on their website.

Backcountry skiing near Bend, OR

Central Oregon Avalanche Center (COAC) has a network of properly-trained avalanche and winter conditions experts and a weather station in the heart of the Central Oregon backcountry to help you decided if today is a safe day to head into our backcountry. As always, when you head into the backcountry, make sure you’re prepare for the unexpected. Always carry a beacon (and know how to use it), a shovel and an avalanche probe in addition to the remaining ten essentials. Travel with a buddy, and know what to do if things go wrong.

Winter mountain biking at Horse Ridge, near Bend, OR

Bend’s fat bike trails are groomed out of Wanoga Sno-Park in the wintertime, conditions permitting, making for a truly unique biking experience. Traditional mountain biking trails, such as those accessible from Maston trailhead, Horse Butte or Horse Ridge areas, are often ridable in the winter. BendTrails has updated trail conditions, so if the trails are muddy or snow-covered, please stay off of them and practice proper trail etiquette.

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Taco 'bout a perfect pit stop! 🌮 After a day on the trails, refuel at @elsanchobend

Taco ’bout a perfect pit stop! 🌮 After a day on the trails, refuel at @elsanchobend

Picture this: you’re enjoying a delightful picnic with The Original Alpaca Picnic Experience, surrounded by a fluffy pack of alpacas. 🦙 As you enjoy your refreshments, these charming creatures roam around you. It’s an experience that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face that you won’t be able to wipe off. 😁

Looking for a delightful European-inspired breakfast experience in Bend? You’ll love Café des Chutes! ☕️🥐 Indulge in a variety of pastries, sandwiches, and coffee while soaking in live music and poetry on select evenings. Sit back, relax for a minute, and enjoy their cozy outdoor dining space.

From our friends at @fairwellfest: 

“We’re so excited to welcome @spaceykacey to this year’s FairWell Festival Lineup! Due to family commitments, Brandi Carlile will no longer be able to perform. We will miss her dearly! 3-Day and 1-Day Tickets are available now. ☀️”

Oregon Obsessed

How to Plan an Incredible Oregon Road Trip (14 Days)

Looking to plan an amazing road trip in Oregon? You’re in the right place. We live in Portland, and spend a big chunk of our summers on the road exploring our adopted home state of Oregon. We’re here to use our experiences around Oregon to help you plan your own amazing Oregon adventure. 

We’re going to go over a perfect road trip itinerary that takes you to many of our favorite places in Oregon over 14 days, which is based on our own experiences exploring the state. 

Have more or less time than that? Have no fear, we’ve got ideas on how to structure a trip with more and less time below the main itinerary, and you can use the details in the main itinerary to help you plan out your trip. 

We were lucky enough to spend two whole months on a road trip around Oregon a few summers ago after we had to scrap our international travel plans, and it taught us an important lesson: you don’t need to fly halfway around the world to find wild and beautiful places – sometimes they’re right in your backyard the whole time . 

It also cemented our belief that Oregon was the place we wanted to put down roots and create a home base after years of living on the road. 

Fast forward a couple of years, and we decided to make our forever home in Portland, Oregon, and that initial time exploring Oregon was a huge part of why we ultimately ended up making that decision.

Oregon has it all – the coast, the mountains, the desert, a truly unbelievable number of amazing waterfalls, and more. 

In this complete guide to planning your Oregon itinerary, we’re going to give you the logistics you need to know – when to visit and our recommended route – along with a mini guide to each place on the itinerary. 

That mini guide will have information like what to do and where to stay – all based on our own experiences exploring Oregon – along with links to more in-depth content we’ve written on the destination. 

In each “where to stay” section, we’ll give you options for camping (which is what we usually do) and not camping, which we recognize is what the vast majority of people prefer. 

Finally, at the end, we’ll give you some ideas on how to shorten or lengthen the itinerary to fit your particular trip. 

Sound good to you? This guide is super detailed, full of our tips and favorite places based on our extensive experience exploring Oregon, which means it’s LONG. Strap yourself in, grab a cup of coffee (or beer or wine, no judgment here), and let’s get to exploring Oregon!

road trip conditions oregon

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel and vacation rental links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would absolutely never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.

A Quick (and Oversimplified) Oregon Geography Lesson

Before we get into the road trip itinerary, let’s quickly talk about Oregon’s geography, and what it means for your trip. 

First of all, Oregon is a lot bigger than you probably think. It’s the 9th largest state in the country by square mileage, which is a fact that blew my mind. Driving between places can take several hours, if not more. 

Why do we bring this up? Because it has one major implication for your trip.

Unless you want to spend full days of your trip driving without stopping to see the scenery, you’re not going to be able to see the entire state .  

Fear not – we have a strong perspective on where you should focus your time if it’s your first trip to Oregon. Which means we need to talk about Oregon’s geography. 

Oregon is a very diverse state when it comes to landscapes, which is part of why we love it. It’s home to rocky coastline, wide sandy beaches, rolling hills and lush valleys, moist rainforests, towering snowy peaks, and even the high desert. 

When you think about Oregon’s geography, we’d cut the state roughly into quadrants, with Eugene as the center point in the state.

If it’s your first time in Oregon, you’re going to want to focus on the northwest quadrant, almost exclusively . The exception might be Crater Lake National Park, which we have a whole section on below to help you figure out where to fit it in. 

If you start to try fitting in places all over the state, you’re going to spend entire days driving long distances, which we don’t really think is the best experience.

For reference, it takes three and a half hours to go from Newport on the Oregon Coast over to Bend (without traffic). Then, it’s another two hours to the Painted Hills from Bend. And a full four hours back to Portland from there. 

In this itinerary, Bend is the furthest east you’ll go. It’s just not feasible to get to every corner of the state, especially with limited time. 

If you happen to have an extra week (lucky you!), that’s when we’d add the Painted Hills and Wallowa Mountains, and some of the other spots in eastern Oregon. Or the southern Oregon coast, which is much more rugged and wild than the northern coast that you’ll cover in this itinerary. 

How Many Days Do You Need for this Road Trip?

We really, really think that to do a full road trip around Oregon that includes both the northern coast and Bend, you need a full two weeks (14 days) . Otherwise, you’ll spend way too much time driving, and not enough time out exploring. 

Which is exactly how we’ve written the road trip below. 

If you have 7-10 days , we’d do a more focused road trip that follows a figure-8 with Portland at the center. Head east to the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River, and Mount Hood, then come back through Portland and head out to the Oregon Coast for a few nights, focusing on the stretch from Astoria to Tillamook. Here’s a map .

If you do have less time, we have example itineraries for 7 and 10 day road trips below the main itinerary to help you organize your time. 

The Best Time to Plan Your Trip to Oregon

This is a very, very important section in this guide, which is why it’s the first thing we’re talking about. 

If you are interested in hiking in the Cascades – specifically near Mount Hood or Bend – your trip will need to be sometime between July and mid-October . 

Otherwise, high elevation hiking trails will be covered in snow, and some roads and sections of the parks will be closed. 

The exact timing depends on the year, precipitation, and spring temperatures (among other factors), but you will be most safe with a trip in August or September . 

The best time to plan this road trip is going to be July, August, and September . That’s when roads are open, trails are largely snow-free, and you’ll be able to see everything you want to see.

During the summer and early fall, mountain passes and hiking trails are clear of snow, days are warm and sunny, the sun rises before 6:00 am and sets after 9:30 pm, and it’s an all around spectacular time to be in Oregon. 

The downside is that, in recent years, Oregon has been ravaged by forest fires during the summer, bringing a thick smoke that makes it really unhealthy and unpleasant to be outside. It’s hard to predict, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re planning a trip in the summer. 

Early fall is another great time to visit Oregon. The weather is, for the most part, still great (though it’s a little more unpredictable than summer). 

As you get into October, things start to cool off and snow can begin to show up in some of the passes through the Cascades (the McKenzie River Scenic Byway, for example), which can make travel a bit more difficult. 

Spring is gray and wet, though late spring (think Memorial Day into June) is a cool time to visit Oregon because of the blooming rhododendrons and roses. The weather isn’t going to be the best, but you’ll probably get a few nice, clear days over the course of your trip. 

In the spring, hiking trails at elevation – like around Mount Hood and Bend – are still going to be closed. If you’re into hiking, we’d definitely recommend waiting until later in the summer .  

Winter isn’t a great time to do this road trip, if we’re being totally honest. The Cascades are blanketed in snow, which means you won’t get much of a taste of the mountains in Oregon (though you can get some skiing in at Mount Bachelor!) and the mountain passes are harder to navigate, often closing for days at a time due to winter storms. 

The upside of visiting in the winter is that the waterfalls in Oregon are WILD when it’s raining.

If you’re visiting in the winter, we’d stick to the areas west of the mountains and do the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River, Silver Falls State Park, and the Oregon Coast . For what it’s worth, we’ve done the Oregon Coast multiple times in the winter, and it’s very moody (and wet). 

Here’s a map of what a winter road trip in Oregon might look like. 

Where to Start and End Your Road Trip

This one is easy – Portland! 

Portland is not really central in terms of the state – it’s up in the northwest corner – but it is central to some of Oregon’s best sights (the coast, Mount Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, etc etc) AND it’s the best airport in the state (dare we say country?). 

Unless you live somewhere in Oregon or you’re driving up from California, the answer is Portland . 

The exception is if you have 10 days in Oregon and follow our road trip itinerary below. In that scenario, we’d recommend flying into Portland, and out of Bend (Redmond Municipal Airport, RDM) to save time on driving back to Portland just to catch a flight. 

Flights out of Bend will be more expensive and involve connecting through Portland or Seattle, but it’ll save you four hours of driving. 

Where to Fly in and Out of?

The best option, with the most flights coming in and going out, is going to be our home airport – Portland International Airport (PDX) . 

Having lived in both Seattle and San Francisco, PDX is amazing when you compare it to those airports. 

It’s relatively well organized (as well organized as an airport can really be), and it’s clean, has good local food and drink options, and the security lines are never “oh no am I going to miss my flight?” long. 

There are a couple of smaller airports in Oregon that could work, but will likely be more expensive and have fewer flight options. Those would be places like Eugene (EUG) and Bend / Redmond (RDM) .

Chances are, PDX is going to be the best choice for about 99% of people. Plus, there are more rental car options! 

Do You Need to Rent a Car?

It probably goes without saying that you will need a car to do this road trip. If you’re coming from out of state, that probably means renting a car when you arrive. 

One thing we’d recommend is that you avoid having your rental car when you’re in the city of Portland .

We’ve organized the itinerary below to have Portland at the end, and we’d strongly recommend that you drop your car off at the airport when you roll into Portland, and spend your day or two in town carless. 

Another cool option would be renting a campervan for this road trip! On our six week road trip around Oregon in 2020 – the one that made us fall in love with the state and eventually move here – we lived out of our converted Honda Odyssey. 

We love the flexibility of van living, though it certainly isn’t nearly as sexy as it looks in all of those pictures on Instagram.

We have a few favorite campgrounds in Oregon that we’ll give you in the itinerary below that are a once-in-a-lifetime experience (looking at you, Trillium). 

One thing we’ve been DYING to do is rent an Escape Campervan . If you’re looking to experience the whole camping thing, but don’t want to sleep in a tent (to be clear, we’re all for tent camping), then a campervan might be for you!

Escape’s vans are all hand-painted, have full kitchens, and would be a lovely way to experience Oregon.

Escape has an office in Portland , which is where you’d pick up and drop off your van. 

The Route for This Road Trip

With that in mind, here’s a summary of the 14 day road trip we’ll cover in detail below. 

Day 1: Astoria

Day 2: cannon beach, days 3-4: tillamook & the three capes scenic route, day 5: newport, cape perpetua, & heceta head lighthouse, day 6: drive the mckenzie river scenic byway to bend, days 7-8: bend (and the cascade lakes scenic byway).

  • Day 9: Smith Rock State Park

Days 10-11: Mount Hood (Government Camp) 

Days 12-13: hood river and the columbia river gorge.

  • Day 14: Explore Portland

Here’s a map of that route. 

We think this itinerary is a good blend of scenic drives (the Oregon Coast and the McKenzie River Scenic Byway are two of our favorites), cool towns (Astoria, Hood River, and Bend), and great outdoor adventures.

Which is basically everything we love about Oregon, packed into two weeks (minus some of the further out spots that don’t make sense here). 

Like we said, you can’t fit it all into one road trip. But we’ve done our best to include the highlights in hopes that you’ll fall in love with Oregon and come back a second (and third) time to explore more. 

Of course, that’s just the base itinerary that we’d recommend. The exact route you take is going to depend on your particular interests, what time of year you’re visiting, and more factors than we can possibly take into account here. 

We have ideas for shorter and longer itineraries below the main itinerary if you have more or less time. 

We’ll do our best to give you all the information you need to plan YOUR road trip in Oregon, but if we miss something or you have more questions, leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to either answer your question, or point you to someone who can.

Exactly How to Plan an Amazing Oregon Road Trip Itinerary

Now that we’ve covered the logistics you need to know to really plan your trip, let’s get into the itinerary itself!

There are a couple of principles that we’re going to follow as we take you through our perfect version of a road trip in Oregon. 

  • We think you should see the mountains and the coast . Both are spectacular, and part of the reason we love Oregon is that you can go from the mountains to the coast in about two hours, give or take. It’s magical.
  • Oregon is big, and you don’t want to spend the entire time driving . We’re going to try and make sure you’re only driving a maximum of four hours between destinations, which means more time exploring, less time driving.
  • There are too many places to see in one trip . Instead of trying to fit every single place into one road trip, we think you should focus so that you aren’t just rolling into a place in the late afternoon, and leaving the next morning. This, of course, means that you’re probably not going to be able to fit every single place into your itinerary. And that’s okay! You can always come back. In this itinerary, we’re focusing on the western half of the state, which is NOT to say there aren’t amazing things to see east of the Cascades. 

With those principles in mind, we’ve created this 14 day Oregon itinerary so that you can almost literally copy and paste it for your trip if that’s what you want. 

Or, you can use bits and pieces of it to cobble together your own version of the road trip. Whatever works best for you!

road trip conditions oregon

Drive Time / Distance from Portland International Airport to Astoria: 2 hours / 95 miles

Where to Stay in Astoria: You want to stay centrally so you can walk to the attractions downtown. We stayed at Norblad on our last trip, and liked it (nice location, stylish rooms, comfy beds). 

Astoria is a fitting first stop on this itinerary, because in many ways, it’s where the state of Oregon as we know it today began. Lewis and Clark Historical Park, which is just south of the city center, is near the location where Lewis and Clark made camp for three months, having completed their mission to find the Pacific Ocean. 

Now, you might be thinking that Lewis and Clark, who had completed their ultimate goal after a significant chunk of time spent struggling west from St. Louis, might have been celebrating with their feet up. 

But their arrival and stay happened to be smack dab in the middle of winter – from December through February – so rather than celebrating with the long, warm days of an Oregon summer, they were treated to constant drizzle and less than eight hours of sunlight. FUN. 

Anyway, Astoria is meaningful in many ways, from the early 19th Century and Lewis and Clark’s antics, to the time when John Jacob Astor tried to make Astoria the New York City of the west (he almost had it!). 

Today, it sits at the northwestern corner of Oregon, and is home to what has to be the highest number of breweries per capita in the country (there’s four or five, and Astoria is tiny), and filming locations for some of the iconic films of the 90’s (the Goonies and Kindergarten Cop, among others). 

What to Do in Astoria

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Astoria. 

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park : Like we mentioned, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is near the site of Fort Clatsop, which is where they set up camp for three miserable months before heading home to report back to Jefferson. There’s a model of Fort Clatsop here, a bunch of fun information on what life was like on that expedition (and some very charismatic rangers eager to share anecdotes like the one above), and a hike that connects the fort with the coast, a route that they covered many times. However, the hike isn’t really worth too much of your time – it’s 6.5 miles one way out to the coast – we’d do the first mile or so, enjoying the ferny forests of sitka spruce trees before heading back. 

The Astoria Column : The Astoria Column is perched up on the hill above town with a commanding view out over the Columbia River and the famous Astoria-Megler Bridge – that’s the green bridge crossing the river to the Washington side. The Column is an interesting piece of art, because it is wrapped in the story of Astoria. It’s hard to see the artwork when you’re standing at the base looking up at it, but there’s a digital re-creation with labels that is helpful to understand exactly what you’re viewing. You can climb to the top of the column for an even more impressive view of the river. It costs $5 to park in the lot at the Column, or you can park at the base of the hill in town (roughly here ) and hike the Cathedral Tree Trail up for free. 

Fort Stevens State Park : This is the northwest corner of Oregon, and also – fun fact – the site of the only attack on a military base in the contiguous United States since the War of 1812 (the Japanese shelled it a few times in 1942). It’s a State Park, though it was a military base through the early 20th Century. Today, the bunkers are one of the main draws here, and are particularly interesting when there are rangers and volunteers out there to tell you stories about the local history (which is usually on weekends in the summer). It’s worth driving out to the coast and hitting the wreck of the Peter Iredale , a shipwreck on a wide sandy beach, and Clatsop Spit at Lot C ( here on Google Maps) where you can walk out along the rocks on the Pacific. 

The Breweries: Two of Oregon’s best breweries are up in Astoria – Buoy Beer Co and Fort George Brewing – and are basically a must-stop for any beer aficionados who find themselves in the state’s northwest corner. They each have a taproom within walking distance of the main drag, and both have food menus and extensive taplists, with many beers you’re not going to find outside of the taproom. In addition, there are a few smaller breweries (like Fortune and Glory Cider Company – technically not a brewery, I guess). Across the street from them is Bridge & Tunnel Bottleshop & Taproom , the best beer bar in Astoria (and a good place to try multiple beers from different breweries). 

road trip conditions oregon

Drive Time / Distance from Astoria to Cannon Beach: 40 minutes / 25 miles

Where to Stay in Cannon Beach: For Cannon Beach, you have two choices – on the beach (more expensive, nice experience) or a few blocks away from the beach (cheaper, less romantic). We’ve stayed at the Inn at Haystack Rock twice , which falls in the latter category and is nice enough (but probably needs a bit of a facelift in the next couple of years). 

Cannon Beach is one of the most popular day trips from Portland , because it’s a mere 90 minutes from downtown Portland. As a result, the area can feel unbearably overcrowded on summer weekends, as Portlanders (us included) flock to the coast to escape the inland heat. 

However, on a weekday or early in the morning and later in the evening, Cannon Beach is a lovely place to spend some time.

We recently went out to Cannon Beach – our first beach foray with our dog, Lupine – midweek in January, and we were basically the only people on the hiking trail in Ecola State Park. It was wet and muddy, yes, but it was so peaceful. 

The highlights in Cannon Beach are actually the state parks that border the town on the north and south end, Ecola State Park and Oswald West State Park .

Sure, Cannon Beach – the town AND the beach – is nice, and you should definitely do a sunset walk on the beach. But definitely don’t miss the nearby state parks.  

What to Do in Cannon Beach

Here are some Cannon Beach highlights that you really shouldn’t miss. 

Haystack Rock: It’s cliche, but Haystack Rock really is an impressive sight, especially if you’re not used to the towering sea stacks that you find up and down the Oregon and Washington coast. In fact, we’d argue that Haystack Rock is up near the top of the list of tourist attractions in Oregon, somewhere below Multnomah Falls and above Powell’s Books in Portland. It’s a huge sea stack, rising 235 feet out of the surf to tower over the beach and surrounding community. It’s particularly spectacular at low tide, when you get some cool reflections in the wet sand. On our first trip to Cannon Beach, we witnessed a pair of Bald Eagles raiding the resident puffin colony for their eggs! It was quite the drama, and there are rangers on the beach in the summer who talk about the puffins and the attempts to keep them alive. 

Ecola State Park: Ecola State Park was closed for years and years until very recently, when it was reopened to the public. As you drive in on the windy, tree-lined road, it’s easy to see why a couple of bad storms put the park out of commission for a couple of years. This park is one of the most popular destinations on the Oregon Coast, so it’s likely to be busy if you’re here in the summer or on a weekend. Get there early to get a parking spot in the relatively small lots! There are two things not to miss in Ecola State Park, we think. 

  • The first is Crescent Beach , which is a short hike accessed either from the main parking lot, or by walking into the park from Cannon Beach. From the main lot, which you should visit whether you do the hike or not for the views, it’s a short downhill hike that winds through the ferny forest before an aggressive descent down to the beach. The beach is best at low tide, when it’s wide and sandy and littered with driftwood and sea stacks. Basically, everything you could possibly want in a Pacific Northwest beach.
  • The second is Indian Beach . There’s a parking lot right at Indian Beach that fills up early because it’s a popular surfing destination. You can also hike out to Indian Beach from the main parking lot in the park, which is worth doing for the coastal views along the way. 

Hiking in Oswald West State Park: This is the other Oregon state park we referenced above, and it’s equally worthwhile. There are three hikes here to focus your time on. First is the hike to the top of Neahkahnie Mountain , which is an aggressive ascent up switchbacks to a viewpoint where you can see miles and miles of coastline to the south. Second is the hike out to Cape Falcon , which navigates out to the cape on the north side of Short Sand Beach, where you’ll have excellent views back towards the beach. Be aware that this hike is almost always extremely muddy. Seriously, do not underestimate the mud, even in the early summer. Third is the hike – though it’s more of a leisurely walk – out to Short Sand Beach , which is a wide sandy beach (at low tide, anyway) that is very popular with surfers. 

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Drive Time / Distance from Cannon Beach to Tillamook: 55 minutes / 40 miles

Where to Stay in Tillamook: Tillamook itself isn’t really the nicest city, but there are some nice places to stay up and down the coast from town. We stayed in one of the tiny homes at Sheltered Nook , which is just north of the city, and really liked it (full kitchens, nice outdoor seating). 

Everyone who has spent any significant amount of time in the Pacific Northwest knows Tillamook because of the cheese, ice cream, sour cream, or some other dairy product that every supermarket carries. 

And while you’re in Tillamook, you should definitely visit their factory for a tasty, educational experience. 

However, Tillamook is also home to the Three Capes Scenic Route, which is well worth a half day of your time to explore as well. 

What to Do Around Tillamook

Here are three things not to miss when you’re in Tillamook. 

The Three Capes Scenic Route: Like we mentioned above, this is probably the premier thing to do near Tillamook. The Three Capes Scenic Route covers a 30 mile stretch of the Oregon Coast from Cape Meares to Cape Kiwanda (Cape Lookout is between them, and rounds out the “Three Capes”) where you’ll have great coastal views around every bend in the road. If you’re following this itinerary as we’ve laid it out, you’ll be heading north to south.

  • Cape Meares is your first stop, and there are two things to check out. First is the Cape Meares Lighthouse, which is the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. However, it has an impressive lens that was installed in 1890. The second thing not to miss is the Octopus Tree (it’s a weird looking tree with eight branches, hence the name) and the viewpoint right past it that looks out over the beaches to the south, including Short Beach. It’s a short walk from the main parking lot.
  • Cape Lookout is your next stop, and is our personal favorite of the three. The highlight, by far, is the hike out to Cape Lookout . It’s a relatively easy hike that hugs the cape, which narrows as you get further and further out onto it before the trail ends at its western tip, where the views are amazing and you can hear the seals frolicking on the rocks below. It’s also a good place for whale watching in spring, because it’s about as close to the migrating mammals as you can get.
  • Cape Kiwanda is the last of the three capes, and it’s a little different. It’s very popular with surfers, and you can drive out onto the beach, which means it’s a slightly different crowd that includes fishermen and boaters. From the parking lot, the main attraction is up and to the right of the beach, where you can hike up onto the cape for some great views in both directions. You’ll be hiking up in deep sand, so it’s harder than it looks. Make sure to catch the hang gliders, if they’re out, who use the northern end of the cape as a jumping off point. 

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Tillamook Cheese Factory: The Tillamook Cheese Factory is legendary. Not only is there a cool educational experience where you can see how they make the cheese, but there are some truly great food options, including a huge ice cream scoop shop. If you’ve never had their ice cream before, it’s incredibly creamy. That’s their whole thing. The chocolate peanut butter swirl is Alysha’s favorite, with thick, creamy swirls of peanut butter tucked into their chocolate ice cream.They also have a retail store here, where you can buy all of their cheeses, including some of their hard-to-find reserve varieties, along with a selection of other local products. If they have them, do not miss their cheese curds, which are only available at the factory and are incredible (we’d never had them before we bought them a few years ago and fried them up post-hike over our camp stove – incredible). 

More Cheese: There’s actually a second cheese destination down the road – Blue Heron French Cheese Co – though we weren’t nearly as impressed with the presentation. The cheese – which leans towards French style – is really good, though. 

Hiking in Lincoln City: Technically this isn’t Tillamook – it’s 30-45 minutes south – but we’re including it here because two of our favorite hikes on the Oregon Coast are in and around the sleepy coastal community of Lincoln City. The first is Cascade Head , which is maintained by the Nature Conservancy (no dogs allowed). It’s a great hike that climbs through the forest and emerges onto a (very windy) bluff over the ocean, which you can climb up for some great coastal views. It’s windy as you get out onto the coast, so be prepared. The second is God’s Thumb , which is a short hike from the north end of Lincoln City that takes you out to a point, which looks out over the Oregon Coast both north and south. Along the loop, you’ll pass the Knoll, where you’ll have a great view of the neverending sandy beach that stretches out to the south. 

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Drive Time / Distance from Tillamook to Newport: 1 hour 30 minutes / 70 miles

Where to Stay in Newport: We haven’t stayed there ourselves yet, but the Inn at Nye Beach has been on our list for years now. 

Newport is the biggest city on the central Oregon Coast, and has the best selection of places to stay, restaurants, and other amenities like grocery stores before you get into the more rural southern Oregon Coast. 

The structure for today is essentially using Newport as a home base to continue your road trip south along the coast past Newport (which is one of our favorite stretches of the Oregon Coast) and then returning to Newport for the night to set yourself up for a long drive the next day. 

Just south of Newport, the coast starts its transformation from the very developed, very tourist-friendly northern Oregon Coast to the more rugged southern Oregon Coast, which is rockier, less-traveled, and offers a little more peace and quiet than places like Cannon Beach and Seaside. 

From Newport, you can hit one of the most scenic drives on the coast – the area around Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head – before returning to Newport for the night to eat some fresh seafood and check out one of the many beaches in town. 

What to Do Around Newport

Here are our favorite things to do in and around Newport. 

Devil’s Churn: A short stop where you’ll hike down to an overlook with a view of an inlet that is partially covered at the end. Which means at high tide, if you’re lucky, the waves coming in will meet the waves going out and create an explosion of water.  

Cape Perpetua: The view from the top of Cape Perpetua is one of our favorite views on the coast, and it reminds us a lot of Big Sur down on the California Coast (at least on a sunny day). You can hike from the lower road up to the top , which is a nice workout, but you can also just drive to the top (which we didn’t know until we got up there, sweaty and huffing and puffing). There really isn’t a reason to do the hike other than a workout – there aren’t really any additional views you get by hiking. 

Heceta Head Lighthouse: This is one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the coast, and it’s easily accessible from the parking lot. It sits on a 1,000 foot headland that towers over the Pacific, and they have tours of the lighthouse, a charming B&B in the old light keeper’s home, and tidepools and trails to explore. You can hike out to Hobbit Beach from the lighthouse, which is a nice little trail that follows the coast to a sandy beach. 

Sea Lion Caves: We drove past this place on our first trip, saw a line out the door of a tiny little touristy-looking hut, and said “look at those suckers!” Then we learned what it actually was later on from some Oregonians, and were at least a little bit disappointed that we didn’t stop in. If you want to see sea lions, this is the place to do it. That hut sits over an elevator that takes you down hundreds of feet to the water level, where there’s a sea cave – America’s largest, in fact – filled to the brim with barking sea lions. Skeptical? Here’s the webcam where you can see for yourself. They’re open 9:00 am – 4:00 pm 363 days a year, and it costs $16 for adults, $10 for kids (under 4 are free!), making it a little bit pricey. 

Exploring Newport: Newport is probably best known for its world-class aquarium – the Oregon Coast Aquarium – which we stopped at and immediately turned around when we saw the flood of small children (it would be a good family activity, though!). There are two lighthouses in town, and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse is at the northern end of town, and is well worth a stop (the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is less impressive). Definitely head down to the charming Historic Bayfront for dinner and the shops there ( here on Google Maps) and head out to Agate Beach ( here on Google Maps) for a good view of the lighthouse. 

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Drive Time / Distance from Newport to the McKenzie River: 3 hours / 130 miles

Full disclosure here: this part of the itinerary requires a long drive, but we think it’s worth it because this part of Oregon might just be our favorite in the entire state. 

The McKenzie River Scenic Byway follows the path of, you guessed it, the McKenzie River, which is one of Oregon’s many important rivers. For your purposes, we’d recommend driving it from the I-5 corridor (you’ll take Highway 126 from Eugene, which connects you to Highway 242) all the way to the eastern end in Sisters. 

It’s a gorgeous drive, littered with waterfalls, tight switchbacks, alpine lakes, and lava flows. 

There are a few things you need to know about this stretch. First, it’s closed outside of summer and early fall (usually open between July and October).

Second, it’s a narrow one way road, so it might not be best for RVs or trailers . 

This is going to be a long day of driving, but ultimately we think it’s worth the journey. At some point, you have to cross over the state from the coast over to the Cascades, and it’s going to take 2-3 hours, depending on how you do it. 

We went back and forth on whether or not to add a night here in Eugene, which would cut down on the drive time, but ultimately we think your time is better spent on a long drive today to give yourself some extra time in other places (which we think are more worthy of your limited time than Eugene).  

Note: You’ll spend the night in Bend tonight, so we’re skipping the “where to stay” section here. 

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What to Do Along the McKenzie River Scenic Byway

Also, if you follow this itinerary as we’ve written it, you’ll be approaching from the west (coming from the Eugene area). We’ve organized the stops from west to east for that reason. 

Proxy Falls: Over the course of this trip, you’re going to see a bunch of incredible waterfalls, especially as you get into the Columbia River Gorge later in the itinerary. Proxy Falls will likely be in your top three. It’s a short hike – roughly 1.5 miles – that takes you to a massive waterfall that cascades down the mossy rocks into Proxy Creek. You can do a loop that takes you to both Lower Proxy Falls and Upper Proxy Falls. The lower falls is the more impressive of the two, and the view from the base is incredible. 

Scott Lake: This pristine lake is one of the spots we’re hoping to return to this summer. It’s a gorgeous lake with a perfect reflection of the Three Sisters (really two of the three sisters), one of the most distinctive natural features of central Oregon, and a bunch of first come, first served campsites along the lakeshore. However, the tradeoff here is the mosquitoes, which are intense in the early summer. For your purposes, we’d park along the lake and walk out to the western shore to get that reflection picture. It’s best in the afternoon, when the sun is behind you. 

Dee Wright Observatory : As you ascend the tight switchbacks along the road as you pass Scott Lake, you’ll notice an abrupt change in the landscape. In what seems like a few minutes, you’ll go from dense evergreen forests to an open, rocky landscape. That shift is a result of a massive eruption of the Belknap Crater two millennia ago, and that dark rock stretching out as far as the eye can see is the resulting lava flow. The Dee Wright Observatory is an excellent stop not only to admire the lava flows, but because it gives you a great overview of the numerous rocky peaks surrounding you. This, my friends, is the heart of the Cascades in Oregon, and you’ll see the Sisters, Broken Top, Mount Washington, and Mount Jefferson, along with a handy key atop the Observatory to help you identify which is which. 

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Sisters: Sisters represents the end of the McKenzie River Scenic Byway, and the beginning of central Oregon and the high desert, which stretches for hundreds of miles to the east until you get into the Wallowas in eastern Oregon. 

Sisters itself is a cute little town that’s a great base for adventures into the nearby Three Sisters Wilderness. 

It’s a vaguely western-themed town, with some great spots to eat and drink ( Sisters Coffee and Sisters Meat and Smokehouse are good stops) and a cute little downtown area where you can do some window shopping. 

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Drive Time / Distance from the McKenzie River to Bend: 1 hour 30 minutes

Where to Stay in Bend: This choice basically comes down to whether you want to be downtown in the heart of all the action, or in a quieter locale. Stay at the Oxford Hotel in Downtown Bend for the best location in the middle of the action. Stay at LOGE Bend – we’ve stayed at other properties they own before – if you want to be right near the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.

Over the past decade or so (though it seems like it happened overnight), Bend has gone from being somewhat on the map, to being one of the most famous outdoor destinations in the western United States. 

As you drive through the Cascade Mountains into the heart of Central Oregon, you’ll notice that the landscape starts to change.

First you hit the eastern foothills, which are notably more dry than the western foothills, and as you continue to Bend and beyond, you’ll be right in the heart of the high desert that stretches across Central Oregon. 

Bend is perfectly placed between the mountains and the high desert. Within 45 minutes or so, you can be in the heart of the alpine paradise in the Cascades, or hiking through the desert dodging rattlesnakes in Smith Rock State Park (more on that in a second). 

Within 45 minutes or so, you’ve got great hiking, cycling, skiing, watersports, and more. Plus, Bend itself has a pretty good food scene, the Deschutes River and all the watersports it has to offer, and perhaps the best selection of breweries in the country. 

What to Do in Bend

Here are some things to do in Bend, including some of the things to do just outside of town along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. 

Hikes Around Bend: Within the Bend city limits, there are a few good hikes (we’re not counting the hikes in the mountains or at Smith Rock, which we have separate sections for below). Pilot Butte is right in the middle of town, and after a quick ascent you have a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape that serves as a nice introduction to Central Oregon’s geography. To the west, you’ll be able to see the snow capped peaks of the Cascades (there’s a topographic map to help you identify which peak is which). To the east, it’s a lot of flat land. We also have hiked pieces of the Deschutes River Trail , which heads south out of town along the river. You could follow the trail for miles and miles, but there’s a nice 2.7 mile loop that focuses on the part of the trail near the Old Mill District that would be a lovely way to spend a morning. It would look something like this . If you want something a little longer, continue south from Farewell Bend Park, which is where the trail gets a little less developed. For more information, read our guide to hiking in Bend .

Explore Downtown Bend: Downtown Bend is centered around Drake Park along the Deschutes River (there are several areas that could be confused as “downtown” so we wanted to clarify). There’s also the Old Mill District, which is a little bit south (and has more chain retailers and Red Robin vibes, if you know what we mean), and the Box Factory, which is between them. In downtown Bend, go to Lone Pine for coffee, The Lemon Tree for brunch (it’s popular so go early), and Bontà for gelato. Then, poke your head into the many shops and boutiques along NW Wall and NW Bond. 

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Brewery Hopping: Bend, like Portland, is known for its breweries. And like Portland, there are way, way too many breweries to visit in just a couple days. Here are a couple that we like for one reason or another.

  • Deschutes Brewing : In many ways, the OG Craft Brewery in Bend that set off the craft beer craze in Oregon. It’s still owned by the original owners (rather than Anheuser-Busch), which is cool. They do tours (which we’ve done and enjoyed), and they have an onsite taproom with beers that you can’t find elsewhere.
  • Silver Moon Brewing : A cozy taproom outside of town – we like them for their Thursday trivia nights! They have a cool space that has both indoor and outdoor seating with a lineup of live music in the summer. They also have a couple of food trucks onsite.
  • Crux Fermentation Project : Our friends who are beer nerds think this is the best beer in Bend (though they also note that there’s too many and they’re too different to really choose). What we like about them is their HUGE outdoor terrace, which is a perfect place for some cold beer after a morning of hiking.  

Cider in Bend: If you’re more into cider (we are!), the small town of Tumalo just north of Bend has a couple of our favorite cideries in Oregon, and they’re just around the corner from each other. The first is Tumalo Cider , which has a nice taproom and great, dry ciders. The second is Bend Cider Company , which has a new-ish taproom a couple of blocks away. They do fun flavor combinations featuring fruits and botanicals (but not too sweet!) – we liked the Blackberry Ancho we tried recently. There’s a food cart pod across the street from Tumalo Cider which would make a good stop for lunch between cider tastings.

Tumalo Falls: Honestly, the hike to Tumalo Falls kind of sucks. But the waterfall is cool, so there’s that! It’s a 97 foot high plunge into Tumalo Creek, and if you do the six mile hike, you’ll reach the viewing platform and realize that it’s a five minute walk from the upper parking lot. We’d drive to the parking lot and check out the falls, saving your energy for a more interesting hike (there are many!) later. 

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Explore the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: This scenic drive (also known as Highway 372) leaves Bend, heading southwest out into the alpine paradise that is Deschutes National Forest. Skiers and snowboarders familiar with Oregon will know this stretch because it takes you out to Mount Bachelor, one of the state’s premier skiing destinations. Which, if we think about our other favorite hiking spots in the Pacific Northwest, is a great indicator of a good summer hiking destination. It’s worth spending a day driving the byway, starting in Bend and working your way down to Elk Lake before returning the way you came. You could also do a loop, taking NF-40 back towards Bend, but we’d prefer driving the more scenic byway both ways. This is a very popular stretch, and there is a permit you’ll need to enter during the peak summer season. 

Hiking Along the Byway: The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is full of great hikes, particularly as you get out past Mount Bachelor. Here are a few good ones. 

  • Green Lakes Trail : Potentially our favorite hike in central Oregon (technically it’s in the Cascades, so does that count as central Oregon?), this hike has everything we love about hiking in Oregon . Following a babbling creek the entire way, which is the perfect white noise for a hike? Check. Pristine alpine lake (really, lakes)? Check. All sorts of peaks to admire? Check. It’s 9 miles, but it’s an easy 9 miles, we think.
  • Tumalo Mountain Trail : A tough ascent, but the views from atop Tumalo Mountain are worth the sweat. You’ll have Mount Bachelor, the South Sister, and Broken Top right in your face, with various other peaks peeking out behind them. It’s basically straight up, straight down.
  • If you’re really up for a challenge, there are two excellent but difficult hikes here: Broken Top & No Name Lake and the South Sister . Both are very difficult, and should not be underestimated. The South Sister is going to be better if you can backcountry camp the night before at Moraine Lake or Green Lakes, which cuts down your ascent (but requires an extra night of backpacking, and all the associated gear). 

Sparks Lake: We love Sparks Lake. The main photo on the homepage of this site (at the time of writing) was taken there on an early summer morning just after sunrise. Head to the day use area, park, and walk along the southeastern shore of the lake, where you’ll be treated to an absurdly good view of the South Sister and Broken Top, with a reflection in the still water of the lake if you’re lucky. 

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Day 9: Smith Rock State Park (and Drive to Government Camp)

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Drive Time / Distance from Bend to Smith Rock State Park: 36 minutes / 23 miles

I will never forget the first time that I laid eyes on Smith Rock State Park during a spring trip to Bend with friends. I had only really ever been to Bend to go skiing in the winter at that point, which had us out in the forest to the city’s west at Mount Bachelor. 

Smith Rock, with its winding river snaking its way between orange-hued rock formations, looks like it belongs somewhere in Utah or Arizona, not in Oregon. At least in my mind, having never explored Oregon east of the Cascades at that particular point in my life. 

Bend is perched in the eastern foothills of the Cascades, and it is situated between the lush evergreen forests that cover the western part of the state, and the high desert that covers most of central and eastern Oregon. 

Remember at the beginning of this guide, when we said that Oregon is the ninth biggest state in the country? Bend is about 25% of the way from the western border (the coast) to the eastern border with Idaho. Which means the high desert stretches for a LONG time from Bend to the east. 

Smith Rock State Park is a destination that is definitely worth stopping at, but it’s not worth an entire section with separate things to do and places to stay. Instead, we’d recommend a stop on the way from Bend up to Mount Hood. It’s a perfect location for that. 

There’s really only one hike in Smith Rock State Park – though you can do it two ways – and that’s the Misery Ridge Trail . It’s accurately named, because the initial ascent up to Misery Ridge is brutal, especially on a hot summer day with full exposure to the sun. 

The views from the top of the ascent, though, are worth the price of admission. You’ll have a panoramic view of central Oregon, with the snowy peaks of the Cascades to the west, and the high desert stretching out as far as the eye can see to the east. 

On the descent, you’ll pass Monkey Face, a very popular destination with rock climbers. It is also accurately named, because from a certain angle, it looks exactly like the face of a monkey. 

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The trail descends back down to the river, where you can either head left to return on the River Trail (shorter and flatter) or right to continue on the Summit Trail (longer with better views and more climbing) to finish the loop.

Note: This is another place where you’ll stop along the way to another destination – in this case Mount Hood – so you’ll spend the night in and around Government Camp after your exploration of Smith Rock. 

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Drive Time / Distance from Smith Rock to Mount Hood: 1 hour 40 minutes / 86 miles

Where to Stay at Mount Hood: There aren’t that many places to stay here, but you do want to be in or around Government Camp on the south slopes of the mountain. There’s a Best Western , a campground at Trillium Lake that we like, and a bunch of nice cabins in the woods to choose from. 

Mount Hood is our favorite hiking destination within a couple of hours of Portland. We fell in love with it on that first road trip that eventually led us to move here, and we go back there as often as we can. 

Matt is from Seattle, where the towering peak of Mount Rainier is a near constant reminder of the natural beauty that lives just outside of the sprawling city (and also a constant barometer of the weather – “is the mountain out?” is a common question to evaluate whether it’s a nice day in Seattle). 

Mount Hood plays a similar role for Portland, and we often have a similar conversation around Portland around whether Hood is out. 

During the winter, Mount Hood is home to some of Oregon’s best skiing. Then, when the snow melts in the late summer, it turns into a veritable alpine wonderland, with wildflowers blooming, roaring waterfalls, and stunning vistas of Mount Hood around every bend in the trail. 

The part you’re going to want to focus on here is the area in and around Government Camp , on Mount Hood’s southern side. 

That’s where all the action is, though that’s not to say there aren’t worthwhile places to visit on other sides of the mountain. 

By focusing there, you’re also nicely positioned for the next stop on your itinerary, Hood River, where you’ll just hop back on Highway 26 and continue north to Oregon’s northern border. 

What to Do at Mount Hood

Here are some of our favorite things to do and see near Mount Hood.

McNeil Point (or Bald Mountain via Lolo Pass): For some of the best views in Oregon, you should hike one of these two trails. However, be warned, the hike up to McNeil Point is no joke. Not even a little bit. We did it at the peak of our hiking powers, during a summer where we were hiking 7-8 miles almost every day, and it kicked our butts. With that warning out of the way, it’s a fantastic hike. It takes you up to an alpine wonderland on Hood’s northwestern slope where you’ll have unobstructed views of the mountain, and you’ll feel like you’re close enough to reach out and touch it. The full hike to McNeil Point is a 10 mile lollipop – you should do the lollipop section counterclockwise because it involves a scramble that is easier to do uphill (you can also go around and make it an out and back, but it’s about 2 miles longer). 

Our favorite view in Oregon is the view from Bald Mountain: You’ll find it plastered all over this website – which you can access either on the way up to McNeil Point, or as a different, much easier hike from the Lolo Pass Trailhead. That’s a good shorter option that is more accessible for more hikers. 

Ramona Falls : If you want a waterfall hike, this is it. Don’t let the 7 miles scare you off – it’s a pretty easy hike with the exception of the crossing of the Sandy River, which used to have a bridge, but has since been relegated to “I don’t know, find your own way across.” It’s not an easy one, though it is worth noting that hundreds of hikers do it every day in the peak of the summer. There are various logs, and some narrower sections of the river a bit upstream from the trail where you can make the crossing. We wouldn’t take our dog, though. Ramona Falls, unlike some of the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, is a wide cascading falls that dribbles down a rock wall rather than plunging down into a pool. Still, it’s very impressive, and it’s 120 feet tall – tall enough that it’s hard to get the whole thing in frame on a photo without a wide angle lens. 

Timberline Lodge and the hike to ZigZag Canyon: The iconic Timberline Lodge is an uber-rustic lodge that is reminiscent of the various national park lodges in the American West. It was built in 1937, and has since been declared a National Historic Landmark. If you’re up for a splurge, their rustic rooms would be a fun place to stay. However, even if you’re not staying here, it’s worth coming up to do some exploring on the trails around the lodge (in the summer, anyway, it’s a ski resort during the winter months). Our favorite of the bunch is a piece of the Timberline Trail, which circumnavigates Mount Hood, and it’s the stretch between the lodge and Zigzag Canyon . It’s a beautiful, somewhat easy hike that ends with a view of the peak up a canyon. 

Trillium Lake: This is our favorite campground in Oregon, although it’s also one of the most competitive. We’ve camped here a few times, and we’ll do it again. The draw here is the excellent views of Mount Hood, often reflected in the surface of the lake, which you can find from the southern end of the lake near the day use parking. It’s also a great place to bring watercraft like kayaks and stand up paddleboards in the summer. 

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Drive Time / Distance from Government Camp to Hood River: 50 minutes / 43 miles

Where to Stay in Hood River: Hood River is a very nice little downtown area, and there aren’t that many places to stay downtown. We actually like staying across the river in Washington, either at the Society Hotel in Bingen or at the lovely RubyJune Inn (a very charming B&B in a tranquil setting run by lovely people). 

The Columbia River Gorge runs along the northern border of Oregon (it separates Oregon from Washington State), and has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the state. 

Depending on how good your memory is (and how long ago high school was for you), you may remember the Columbia River from your days learning about Lewis and Clark, because it’s the river that they came up as they made their way out to their final destination just south of Astoria. 

Living in Portland, the Columbia River Gorge is essentially our backyard. It takes 30-40 minutes for us to get out there, and when we’re looking for an easily accessible hike for a random Thursday morning, this is generally where we’re heading. 

It’s also on our itinerary for every single first-time visitor who comes to Portland to visit us. 

There is a nice mix of different hikes in the Columbia River Gorge , from easy waterfall hikes to hikes that climb to the rim of the Gorge, where you’ll find dramatic vistas out over the Columbia River and the gorge beyond. 

Hood River is a town in the Columbia River Gorge, and it is perched at a crossroads of sorts. It sits at the point where the wet, temperate climate of western Oregon transitions to the dry, more extreme climate of the high desert in eastern Oregon. 

To the west, you’ll find some of the best waterfalls in Oregon. To the east, the high desert. And both north and south are the Cascade Range, and places like Mount Hood and Mount Adams. 

There are a bunch of great things to do in Hood River, and that list grows longer when you include the fertile Hood River Valley and its fruit trees as far as the eye can see and the wineries along the Columbia River. 

Hood River is a great home base to use to explore the Gorge and the fertile Hood River Valley, which is what you’ll be doing for this stretch of the itinerary. 

Note that we’ve split the “what to do” sections below into Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge to make it easier for you to plan and group things together.

What to Do in Hood River

Here are a few of our favorite things to do in and around Hood River.

Tamanawas Falls: This hike is on the eastern slopes of Mount Hood, and would be an excellent stop between Government Camp and Hood River. It’s right on Highway 26, and it’s a nice, easy hike up to a spectacular waterfall. Parking is limited, so you’ll want to get there early, or be prepared to wait for a spot in the tiny lot – parking along the highway is illegal, and we’ve seen many people get tickets here. 

Read More: Everything You Need to Know to Hike the Spectacular Tamanawas Falls Trail

Drive the Fruit Loop: The Hood River Fruit Loop is a perfect half-day activity near Hood River that takes you through the fertile Hood River Valley, with apple and pear trees as far as the eye can see (with backdrops of Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Hood). There are a bunch of worthwhile stops here, but our favorite is Draper Girls Country Farm , which does u-pick cherries for a short window in the summer, and has all around excellent produce more or less from spring to fall. They have a lovely back patio area with great views of Hood, and a lush collection of various fruit trees. Plus, a great selection of locally made jams, honeys, and other stuff inside the shop. 

Wine Tasting near Hood River: The area around Hood River, both on the Oregon side of the Gorge, and on the Washington side, is a great place to grow grapes and make wine. There are a bunch of wineries in Hood River itself ( Hood River Common House is a good spot), but the real way to do it is to hop in the car and drive out to one of the wineries dotting the landscape around Hood River. We like the Gorge White House (not the best wine and cider, but the setting is amazing) and Loop de Loop (the friendliest wine makers and the best dog, plus an amazing view), and have also heard good things about AniChe Cellars , Le Doubblé Troubblé , and Analemma Wines (this one came highly recommended from the folks at the Ruby June Inn, where we stayed on our recent trip). 

road trip conditions oregon

What to Do in the Columbia River Gorge

Here are our favorite stops in the Columbia River Gorge.

Wahclella Falls: This is the best bang-for-your-buck waterfall adventure in the Columbia River Gorge, we think. Multnomah Falls is great, yes, but it’s an absolute zoo at all hours. The short and easy hike out through a canyon with steep rocky walls here weeds out most of the visitors, and you end up at a beautiful waterfall that tumbles off of a ledge into a pool 65 feet below. 

Read More: Everything You Need to Know to Hike the Wahclella Falls Trail

Drive The Historic Columbia River Highway: The Historic Columbia River Highway runs from the town of Dodson, just west of Bonneville (and the dam of the same name), all the way to the town of Troutdale, which is just east of Portland. It’s a windy two lane road that parallels I-84, and is the original road that was used to traverse the Gorge on the Oregon side. Our recommendation would be to drive it from Multnomah Falls to its western terminus, because there are routinely huge traffic jams along the road at the base of Multnomah, and it’s better to park in the big lot along I-84. 

Multnomah Falls: Multnomah Falls is the queen of the waterfalls in Oregon. It’s by far the most impressive waterfall in the state, we think, and it’s actually the biggest tourist attraction in Oregon thanks to its location about 40 minutes away from downtown Portland. It’s a two-tiered waterfall that, all-in, falls 620 feet down from the top of the rocky ledge high above the viewing platform. The only issue we have with Multnomah Falls is the fact that, at any given moment, you’re likely to be sharing the experience with around 1,000 of your closest friends. It’s worth seeing, but there are so many other waterfalls in the Gorge to get to with a fraction of the visitors (especially if you’re willing to hike a little bit). Oh, definitely park at the bigger parking lot along the freeway ( here on Google Maps) – the smaller lots at the base of the falls are an absolute nightmare, and we’ve seen massive backups along the Historic Columbia River Highway of people just waiting to get a spot. The bigger lot has more parking, and you just have to walk a few hundred feet to get to the falls. 

Latourell Falls : Lower Latourell Falls is one of the most scenic waterfalls in the Gorge after Multnomah, particularly in the winter when the water level is high AND there’s a bright greenish-yellow moss covering the rocks on either side of the falls. The lower falls is the more impressive, we think, as it falls 225 feet off of a ledge in one single drop. There’s a nice wooden bridge at the base of the falls, which is a short hike from the trailhead that is a must-do, that is a good spot for pictures. There’s a nice, relatively easy two mile loop hike that takes you up to the Upper Falls and down around to the base of the lower falls that is a worthy excursion if you have the time and energy. 

The Vista House & Portland Women’s Forum Scenic Viewpoint: These are two excellent viewpoints at the western end of the Historic Columbia River Highway to cap off a day full of great views. Pictures are worth 1,000 words here, we think, so here’s a few we’ve gotten from up here. 

road trip conditions oregon

Day 14: Explore Portland 

road trip conditions oregon

Drive Time / Distance from Hood River to Portland: 1 hour / 63 miles

Where to Stay in Portland: Portland is – by far – the biggest city in this guide, so we’d recommend reading our in-depth guide to choosing a place to stay in Portland for the information you need to make the best choice for you (which takes more than a couple of sentences).

What can we say about Portland? We have fallen head-over-heels in love with our new home. Everyone always talks about the “weirdness,” which we have come to understand as an implicit permission to be whoever you want to be. 

That idea flows through to the unique small business culture that exists in Portland, where you can find all sorts of locally made foods, crafts, and home goods.

The funny part about Portland is that there aren’t really any big name tourist attractions. Seattle has the Space Needle, San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, and Portland has… a donut shop and an independent bookstore? But, honestly, that’s kind of why we love it. It’s not that there isn’t a lot to do – there’s plenty of amazing things to do in Portland. 

The food scene? The best on the west coast (except for maybe L.A.). There’s a culture of innovation – which we think is at least partially driven by the food cart scene that allows for low-cost experimentation (versus opening a brick and mortar location). 

The access to the outdoors? Between the excellent parks in Portland and the access to the mountains, Gorge, and coast, it’s hard to beat.

We’re in love with our home, and think you’ll like it too. 

Unfortunately for you, your time here is limited, and we’ve intentionally chosen to weight this road trip towards Oregon’s natural beauty, which means you’re left with about a day, maybe a day and a half to explore the biggest city in the state.

If you have an extra day or two, it’s absolutely worth adding time here.  

What to Do in Portland

Now, there are way too many things to list here, so we’re going to focus on our top five here.

Powell’s City of Books : The fact that we’re starting with an independent bookstore – the largest in the world, no less – tells you just about everything you need to know about Portland. It’s right in the heart of downtown Portland, and is an astounding collection of books from all genres. This place is amazing, and even since we’ve lived here I can’t walk out of here with at least one book. I bought a light blue Powell’s Books t-shirt on clearance almost a decade ago that I wear often, and every time I wear it outside of Portland (usually in Seattle) at least one person stops me to chat about how much they love Powell’s. They have an extensive collection of books, including big sections dedicated to fantasy/sci-fi, Pacific Northwest history, and graphic novels. We especially like the staff picks section in the entryway, which is a nice way to see what the staff are reading and recommending at the moment. 

The International Rose Test Garden : Washington Park – which is the park where this rose garden is located – is the best park in Portland, and is home to a bunch of different attractions including the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Japanese Garden. But the Rose Garden, which is both free and spectacular, is the best of the bunch, we think. There are 10,000 roses here, and when they’re in full bloom between roughly May and September (sometimes longer), it’s quite a sight to behold. 

Breakfast / Brunch in Portland: Portland is an excellent food city in general, especially when you consider prices are going to be about 25% lower than other cities on the west coast. However, it really shines in the morning, when you’ll find some world-class breakfast and brunch options. 

Now, you might expect to see Voodoo Donuts on this list. 

The novelty donuts are fun, yes, but it’s far from undiscovered, and there are honestly much better doughnuts to be had in Portland. Like, a lot of them. Go to Blue Star , Doe Donuts , Coco Donuts , or Petunia’s Pies and Pastries (for gluten free and vegan donuts) if you’re in and around Downtown Portland. 

Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order. 

  • Fried Egg I’m in Love : Award-winning breakfast sandwiches! They have a food cart in downtown Portland, along with a brick & mortar shop on Hawthorne Blvd in Southeast Portland and up on Mississippi Avenue.
  • Ken’s Bakery : The best bakery in Portland, probably. It’s in northwest Portland, and is a local favorite with a rotating selection of pastries that you can see them making right behind the register. Good sandwiches for lunch, too, but the hero is the pastries in the morning.
  • Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai : Go for the mini donuts (they are NOT donut holes, Matt!) with innovative flavors, stay for the incredible chai. There’s a perpetual line, especially on weekends, so go when they open if you can. Alysha LOVES their chai (get a chai flight!). 

Explore The Eastside: While most of the tourist attractions like Powell’s and the Rose Garden (though Powell’s has a location on Hawthorne) are on the west side of the river, we actually like the east side of the river more. We’d divide this large and sprawling area into three distinct areas. If you’re staying downtown and don’t have a car, your best bets are going to be:

  • The Central Eastside: Just over the river from downtown, this area is an old industrial district that has become a great place to spend an afternoon, with all sorts of places to eat and drink. We like Schilling Cider House (for 50 taps of different ciders), Cascade Barrel House (for beer), and the Revolution Hall Rooftop for drinks with panoramic views of Portland and Mount Hood).
  • Southeast Portland: Our neighborhood! Centered on Hawthorne Blvd and Division St, this stretch runs straight through a residential neighborhood and is full of places to eat and drink. Fried Egg I’m in Love (breakfast sandwiches), Cibo (pizza), Lauretta Jean’s (pies), Pinolo Gelato (gelato), Magna Kusina (Filipino), and Oma’s Hideaway (Malaysian / Singaporean food) are the spots we’d hit.
  • Mississippi Avenue: Where we used to live! The stretch along Mississippi Avenue might be the most bang-for-your-buck in terms of the amount of bars and restaurants packed into a relatively short stretch. For food, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty (of Chef’s Table fame), Kate’s Ice Cream (plant-based ice cream), and the food cart pod at Prost . For drinks, go to Interurban . For shopping, don’t miss the Meadow , a store that we go to far too often with salt, chocolate, and bitters.
  • The Alberta Arts District: The furthest from downtown Portland, Alberta Street is one of the main corridors in northeast Portland. Similar to the other places on this list, it’s packed with great food, drinks, and coffee. For coffee, don’t miss Proud Mary (our top coffee shop in Portland for fun single-origin coffees) and Barista . For food, go to Tin Shed Cafe for brunch, Zilla Sake for excellent sushi and sake, and Matt’s BBQ Tacos for…tacos. For drinks, Bye and Bye for good drinks and vegan food, and Great Notion Brewing for beer (and the aforementioned Matt’s BBQ Tacos, which operates on their patio). 

For more, we’d encourage you to head over and read our other Portland guides.

What to Add with More Time in Oregon

Like we’ve said time and time again, two weeks is not really enough time to see everything there is to see in Oregon. Here are a few more things to consider adding if you happen to have more time. 

More Time in Portland (+1-2 Days)

road trip conditions oregon

As we mentioned above, we intentionally decided to weight this itinerary towards Oregon’s natural beauty and have you spend the vast, vast majority of your time outside of cities. 

Which, unfortunately, leaves you with just over a day to explore Portland. 

Ideally, you’d spend two or three days in Portland, which is one of the most underrated food cities (quickly transitioning to “appropriately rated”) cities in the country. 

There’s a strong culture of experimentation and innovation in Portland’s food and drink scene that puts it on the leading edge of food trends that make it a great place for people who love to eat to explore.  

With an extra day or two, you can experience the things that we love about Portland at a more comfortable pace – the amazing green spaces inside the city, and the thriving food and drink scene to name a couple. 

If you have the extra time, we have guides to 2 days in Portland and 3 days in Portland (which includes a half day trip to the Gorge, which you could replace with the trip to Silver Falls just below this) which will give you a play-by-play of exactly how we’d spend your time. 

Day Trip to Silver Falls State Park (+1 Day)

road trip conditions oregon

Silver Falls State Park is a hair over an hour south of Portland, and it’s home to one of our favorite hikes in the state – the incredible Trail of Ten Falls . Which, as you might imagine, features 10 waterfalls over the course of a relatively easy eight mile trail. 

If you want waterfalls – and especially if you’re here in the spring and early summer when the water is high – this is as close to a must-do as it gets. 

After your hike, you can meander through the eastern end of the Willamette Valley on your way back to Portland, stopping at Bauman’s and E.Z. Orchards for farms and cider (and apple cider donuts!). 

The tiny town of Silverton is a nice place to stop for lunch after the hike (or just wait until you get back to Portland and check off some other places there!).

If you do want to stay overnight, the campground at Silver Falls is really nice. However, other than that, there’s really not a whole lot of places to stay nearby, and you’re probably better off making it a day trip and staying in Portland for another night. 

Crater Lake National Park (+1-3 Days)

road trip conditions oregon

So you want to add Crater Lake National Park to your Oregon trip?

Well, we have good news and bad news. 

The good news is that it’s totally doable as long as you have a little extra time. 

The bad news is that it’s only really accessible for a few short months a year, and it’s not really convenient even when it’s at its most accessible. It’s at the southern edge of the state, and it’s fairly far from just about everything else on this itinerary.  

To add Crater Lake to the itinerary, you’re going to want to do it after Bend. It’s about 90 minutes from Bend to the north rim of Crater Lake, which doesn’t seem so bad, right?

However, there is one major caveat here, and that’s the fact that the rim road that circles around to the north end of the rim is closed during the winter and early spring due to snow. 

It will start to open in early spring, but when exactly that happens totally depends on the year. 

That’s an issue to keep in mind because Bend is north of Crater Lake. The only way to access the small slice of the park that’s open between November and April (roughly), which is on the south rim, is to enter the park through the south entrance. Which is about three hours from Bend. 

We would only really recommend adding Crater Lake during the summer and early fall (call it June through October) when roads will be mostly open, and hiking trails will be mostly snow-free.

Add it as an overnight trip from Bend, and continue along on the McKenzie River Scenic Byway as written. 

What to Do with Less Time in Oregon

With less time – 7 or 10 days in Oregon – we’d make some adjustments and be more focused with your time. With 5 days in Oregon, we’d go ahead and spend the entire time in Portland, doing day trips out to the Gorge, the Coast, and Silver Falls to fill your time (you’d want to rent a car for that trip).

With 7 days , we think you have time for a nice little loop that encompasses Portland and the mountains OR the coast, but probably not both.

If you absolutely have to see both, you could add a day on to do a day trip out to the coast (Cannon Beach or Astoria) or the Columbia River Gorge (Hood River).

With 10 days , you have enough time to comfortably do a figure-8 that includes the mountains (Hood River and Mount Hood) and the coast (Cannon Beach and Astoria). 

Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of what those itineraries might look like. 

7 Days in Oregon: The Mountains

Here’s what a perfect 7 days in Oregon might look like, focused on the northwest corner of the state around Portland. 

Add a day if you want to do a day trip out to the coast (and read our guide to the best day trips from Portland ).

  • Day 1: Arrive in Portland, drive to Hood River
  • Day 2: The Columbia River Gorge
  • Day 3: Hood River & Around
  • Day 4: Mount Hood
  • Day 5: Mount Hood
  • Day 6: Portland
  • Day 7: Portland & Fly Home

7 Days in Oregon: The Coast

Add a day if you want to do a day trip out to the mountains, and focus on Hood River or Mount Hood. 

  • Day 1: Arrive in Portland, drive to Astoria
  • Day 2: Astoria
  • Day 3: Cannon Beach & Around
  • Day 4: Tillamook & Three Capes Scenic Loop
  • Day 5: Drive to Portland

10 Days in Oregon

With 10 days, do a loop starting and ending in Portland that takes you first out to the mountains (and the Gorge), then head west out to the coast for a couple of nights before returning to Portland. 

  • Day 6: Drive to Cannon Beach
  • Day 7: Cannon Beach & Around
  • Day 8: Tillamook & Three Capes Scenic Loop
  • Day 9: Drive to Portland
  • Day 10: Portland & Fly Home

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Omg.. I cannot tell you how well written and amazing guide this is. Everything is broken down so well and easy to understand. Loved your blog and have already fallen in love with all the pictures of the falls and mountains you have on this blog. Thank you for writing this up.. Will surely use this guide when we plan to travel.

Thanks for the kind words, Kina!

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The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip: Itinerary Inspiration and Must-See Stops

last Updated: May 17, 2021 bend cannon beach crater lake mt hood oregon portland road trip

FYI: Affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the awesome, free content you see below. I’ll receive a small commission when you purchase from my links (at no extra cost to you), which I’ll totally blow on adult things like boba tea and avocado toast. As always, thanks for the support.

Are you ready to be blown away by shimmering lakes, snowy mountain tops, and enough craft beer to last a lifetime? Get ready for an Oregon road trip, my Pacific-Northwest-craving friends. Sharing tons of details below to get you started planning your trip to the Oregon coast and beyond!

Just last year I had never visited Oregon before. Yeah, yeah, shame on me (I kiiinda recently moved to the west coast so you’ll cut me some slack, yea?) ;p I visited for the first time last year, and let’s just say I’m a tad obsessed. I had heard Portland was kinda cool, and after one look at Crater Lake I knew I had to make it there sooner than later. Alas, my first few trips to Oregon were planned, and I’ve now found myself in the state 3 times within a ~6 month period (something that just NEVER happens).

Heading to Oregon and wondering what all the things to do in Crater Lake are?! Click through for the best hikes, best viewpoints, where to stay, and what to eat - exactly what you need to plan your own visit to Crater Lake!

So without further ado, I’m sharing my ideal Oregon road trip, from the quirkiness that is Portland south to the dazzling still water of Crater Lake and west to the allure that is the stunning Oregon coast.

Oregon Road Trip Itinerary Overview

  • Stop 1: Portland (2-3 days)
  • Stop 2: Columbia River Gorge/Multnomah Falls (1 day)
  • Stop 3: Mt. Hood (1 day)
  • Stop 4:  Silver Falls State Park (1 day)
  • Stop 5: Smith Rock State Park (½-1 day) 
  • Stop 6:  Painted Hills (½ day)
  • Stop 7: Bend (1-2 days)
  • Stop 8: Crater Lake (1-2 days)
  • Stop 9: Ashland (1 day)
  • Stop 10: Coos Bay / Southern Oregon Coast (1 day)
  • Stop 11: Newport, Tillamook, and Cannon Beach (1-2 days)
  • END: Portland

Over the course of the road trip, expect to drive approximately 24 hours (round trip) and around 1000 miles. You’ll notice on the map below that I haven’t included the drive from Portland to Silver Falls State Park (that’ll add another 2 hours or so to the time listed on the map), as well as the 1.5 hour drive back to Portland from Cannon Beach (limits of technology). In order to complete this Oregon road trip in a timely manner (a week to 10 days or so), you’ll be driving almost every day, with some being longer driving days than others. Plan accordingly and bring snacks! The time in the car doesn’t have to be absolutely horrible. :p

→ Read next: Top Tips for Long Car Trips // Long Road Trip Essentials

Planning an Oregon road trip? This post has everything you need, from where to stop, where to sleep, and top things to do in each place!

When to Visit Oregon

Like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon experiences four seasons. To be completely transparent (and as noted above), I visited these different spots in the state on a few different occasions. I visited Portland in early June, Crater Lake in early September, and Bend in the snowy winter months. Oregon is spectacular year round, but if you’re on the hunt for some sunshine and minimal precipitation, I’d recommend planning your Oregon road trip between the months of April and September.

The best month for visiting the Oregon Coast is typically September, as the summer months are usually pretty foggy. It’ll be the wettest throughout the state between November and March, and the warmest between June and September. The roads around Crater Lake typically don’t fully open to cars until July, so keep this in mind if you’re visiting prior!

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

If you have the luxury of picking exactly when to take your Oregon road trip, choose September! The weather is glorious – little to no rain, clear coastlines, and warm weather. Just like my home state of California, Oregon typically experiences an Indian Summer, which lasts until early-mid October.

Getting to Oregon (and Portland in particular)

First things first, if you’re not a resident of Oregon, you’ll of course need to get yourself there! Since PDX is a major international airport, it’s wise to start your Oregon road trip in Portland, as you’ll be able to find decently priced tickets from throughout the US, highly dependent on the airport you’re departing from. For reference, from SFO (San Francisco), I commonly see round trip tickets to PDX (Portland) for under $200, and many times under $150.

New Yorkers can fly to Portland for roughly $300 if bought far enough in advance. I swear by Skyscanner and Google Flights whenever searching for tickets, and more often times than not, find the cheapest prices on one of them. The ability to track prices (and get email notifications when the price drops) is top notch and one of my favorite features. Take advantage of Skyscanner , you guys, they’re seriously the best.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

quirky coffee shops everywhere you go in Portland – this one’s in a converted school bus!

If you’ll be following this complete Oregon road trip itinerary you’ll be doing a full loop from Portland, hence the need for round trip tickets from PDX. If you’re coming from Northern California and don’t mind doing a bit of extra driving, you can start this road trip from wherever you see fit (Crater Lake is roughly 7-8 hours from San Francisco, and the southern Oregon Coast – Coos Bay – is about 9 hours). Just remember that you’ll need to head back to your original destination. 🙂

Since this is in fact a road trip , you’ll need a vehicle to get you from place to place! Worth mentioning so you don’t forget to account for the cost of a rental car when following this Oregon road trip! And since you’ll be returning the car in the same place you picked it up, no need for pesky extra drop-off fees. I commonly use this booking site when searching for low-cost car rental options, and like Skyscanner , frequently find great deals on there!

I like to search  via this site in order to compare rental companies to see who has the best price.

How Long Should This Oregon Road Trip Take?

In all honesty, that’s a kinda hard question to answer, as the duration of the trip highly depends on your interests and how long you wanna stay in each place. I’d say a week if you’re picking and choosing a few stops to 2 and a half weeks if you wanna see and do mostly everything on this Oregon itinerary at a leisurely pace.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Now let’s get this Oregon road trip under way!

The Complete Oregon Road Trip Itinerary

Stop #1: start in portland (2-3 days).

Portland, Oregon is best known for its delectable donuts, snobby coffee culture, orgasmic food, and, of course, for being weird. It is in their slogan after all! Two to three days in the city will give you enough time to see all the highlights, as well as eat to your heart’s content. It’s the best place to start your Oregon road trip since renting a car will be easy peasy if you’re flying into PDX.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

With two days in Portland, you can easily fit in these activities:

  • Pittock Mansion: Looking for spectacular views of the entire city? You’ll find those here at Pittock Mansion. Note that while the view is free to admire, a ticket is required to tour the mansion grounds.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

  • International Rose Test Garden (located within Washington Park): What’s better than rows and rows of sweet-smelling roses? Hint: not much. The garden boasts over 10,000 of the pretty things, in every color combination imaginable (over 650 varieties)! Wander around for a half hour or so, and be sure to actually stop and smell the roses (yes, pun intended). Make sure you visit when the roses are in bloom (April through October, although June is the peak season). FYI – Entrance to the garden is free, but you’ll need to pay a few bucks for parking.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

  • Powell’s City of Books: Book lovers, rejoice! You can easily spend hours (and hours) exploring Powell’s flagship store – you’ll even need a map (which they happily supply). Be warned: this place is HUGE huge (like, multiple floors with rooms opening into rooms opening into rooms, etc etc). It actually takes up an entire city block and then some. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you’re just not looking hard enough – they have EVERYTHING imaginable and then some (new, used, rare, and even out-of-print books). I was like a kid in a candy store…

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

  • Keep Portland Weird Sign: Right across from Voodoo Donuts you’ll find this quick photo spot → don’t miss this iconic mural! The sign itself is just a wall in a parking lot, but just go, be weird, and take your picture. The actual address is 350 W Burnside St in case you can’t find it (it’s right behind Dante’s).

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

  • Tilikum Crossing: Have more time and looking for a scenic leisurely walk over the river? Head to Tilikum Crossing, also known as the “bridge of the people”, a .35 mile pedestrian, bike, and light rail bridge with unparalleled views of the Willamette River. Smart, right? Why don’t more cities have this (bridges that ban cars that is)? You can easily do this walk back and forth in under an hour. I reckon it’d be even more dramatic and scenic at night with all the city lights shining down on the river! Be sure to look out for the submarine near OSMI!

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

→ Read Next: 3 Perfect Days in Portland

Where (and what) to eat in Portland (my favorites):

  • Pok Pok: order the Vietnamese fish sauce wings
  • Blue Star Donuts: just do it, more than once (calories don’t count on vacation)
  • Coffee at Stumptown: grab some at the airport if you don’t have time
  • Salt and Straw ice cream: try some of their wacky flavors, changing all the time!
  • Abyssinian Kitchen: some of the tastiest Ethiopian food around
  • Katchka (Russian): try the herring under a fur coat, Siberian dumplings, lamb with rice, and cauliflower schnitzel (all super tasty)
  • Pine State Biscuits: I’m drooling just thinking about my breakfast
  • Fried Egg, I’m in Love: the best egg sandwiches in Portland, in my opinion
  • Tov Coffee: located in a converted school bus; get “the mint thing”, it’s orgasmic
  • Voodoo Donut: a Portland must-stop, even if everyone says Blue Star is better

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Sleep: Portland (I’ve been lucky enough to stay with friends/family when visiting the area, but I’ve heard fantastic things about Ace Hotel Portland , Jupiter Hotel , Kimpton Hotel Monaco , and Stay Pineapple at Hotel Rose . Browse all hotels in Portland here .

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Stop #2: Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge (1 day)

Distance: 30 miles to Multnomah Falls | Driving time: 45 minutes + driving through the Gorge

It’s time to grab those wheels (hint: car rental) and make our way towards our first official stop on this Oregon road trip, Multnomah Falls!

Being the tallest waterfall in all of Oregon state, a stop at Multnomah Falls really should be on any Oregon road trip itinerary, no matter how long or short. Looking up at the 600+ foot tall roaring cascade of icy water is awe-inspiring to say the least! It’s actually the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest (whoaaa Nelly), so be prepared to share the views with 34,534 of your closest Portland-loving friends if you come after 10am. Visit before 9am and you’ll have the place almost to yourselves, season dependent.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Once Multnomah Falls is outta the way (and as noted earlier, head here early due to the crowds that arrive by 9/10am), continue on your waterfall-finding journey – there’s dozens upon dozens (!!!) of them in the Columbia River Gorge. The Gorge is essentially a canyon of the Columbia River, stretching more than 80 miles and up to 4,000 feet deep, and is kinda a divide between Washington and Oregon. With stunning vistas and enough waterfalls to last a lifetime, you’ll want to carve out at least half a day to explore.

Note that trails close on occasion due to wildfires, so you’ll want to make sure access is available before you set off on any hike. I’ve heard Horsetail Falls, Latourell Falls (it’s a few minutes before Multnomah, but go afterwards to beat the rush at Multnomah), and Wahkeena Falls are spectacular – but all were closed during my June 2018 visit due to the horrific fire in 2017.   Check for possible trail closures here .

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Note that it’s about 45 minutes from Multnomah Falls to the town of Hood River, which is a good place to base yourself for the night. If you’re exploring other waterfalls in the Gorge, you’ll be even closer to Hood River.

Sleep: Hood River (Check out the Hampton Inn & Suites Hood River and the Best Western Plus Hood River – both great options). Browse all hotels near Hood River here.

Stop #3: Hood River and Mt. Hood (1 day)

Psst – if you’re really pressed for time you can combine stop #2 and #3 into one long day. It’s definitely doable, it’ll just be a little rushed. Do note that if you plan on doing some hiking, you’ll probably wanna split up the days, but your call! I visited everything in one day, but wasn’t able to do all the hiking I wanted due to the trail closures as mentioned above.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Distance: 47 miles to Timberline Lodge | Driving time: 1hr

Next up, Hood River, but first, a short pit stop at Rowena Crest . Sure, it’s about 25 minutes outta the way, but most definitely worth it for that instashot (I’m sure you’ve seen it somewhere – haha)! So what is it about this place that makes it rather popular?! Yes, it’s technically just a bend in the road but the surrounding scenery makes it a worthwhile stop.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

This iconic horseshoe curve is actually one of the most photographed roads in all of Oregon! It does get pretty windy up here, so if you’re planning on taking that insta-photo, please be extra extra careful! Note that you’ll need to hoist yourself up and over the railing if you want more than just shoes in your shot (I was too much of a chicken to do so).

On your way to Mt. Hood, you’ll most likely wanna stop in Hood River for some lunch. My suggestion – Solstice Wood Fire Cafe for, you guessed it, some wood-fired pizza. Stretch those legs and go for a walk along the Hood River Waterfront for some great views of the area as well!

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Additional pit stop: Hood River Lavender Farm ! An absolute must-stop for anyone who’s even a little bit lavender obsessed. Not only can you wander around the whole place smelling the sweet smells, but for $5, you can pick your own lavender to tie up and bring home! The place was smaller than I had expected, but there’s tons and tons of lavender bushes so it doesn’t even matter. Be extra careful when picking, as there’s lots of bees!

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Be sure to look inside the gift shop for lavender jams/jellies, soaps, etc. If you come on a clear day you can even see Mt. Hood in the distance! FYI: Lavender picking season is from April/May to November, with peak bloom being July-August.

Wanna brag to your friends about finding the best views of Mt. Hood? Head to Trillium Lake , where the mountain literally reflects in the water and creates the most peaceful setting. What’s better than a mountain reflection in a jazzy blue lake? Not much! On a clear day, you’ll find Mt. Hood perfectly reflected in the water. Worth the short photo stop for sure! You can also walk around the lake for additional views as well, but we wanted to make it back by dinner so skipped the almost-2-mile loop trail. I want to visit during sunrise or sunset next time!

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

End this long day at Timberline , a mountain lodge right at the base of Mt. Hood, where you can watch the skiers summer ski and grab a bite to eat (if you’re so inclined). You of course can spend the night here if you’re planning on actually using the mountain for skiing or snowboarding (be sure to make reservations in advance), but we were just observers for the day.

Sleep in Mt Hood : Timberline Lodge if you’re feelin’ fancy, or check out Best Western Mt. Hood Inn or Collins Lake Resort for budget options in the area.

Stop #4 ( optional ): Silver Falls State Park (1 day)

(adds an extra 2-3 hours of driving time)

Distance : 94 miles to Silver Falls State Park | Driving time : 2hr plus traffic

→ Note that it’s more than possible to visit Silver Falls State Park as a day trip from Portland, so if you wanna do that and tack on a day to your Portland stop, feel free! → That’s what I did! It’s actually only about 1 hour, 15 minutes south of Portland, so if you prefer staying in the city and switching hotels one less time, a day trip to Silver Falls from Portland may be your best bet!

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

If the waterfall at Multnomah wasn’t enough for you, or you’re just a waterfall fanatic like myself, make the 2-3 hour detour to Silver Falls State Park. (Psst – I actually found the waterfall at Silver Falls State Park even more spectacular than those on the Columbia River Gorge). There are numerous trails available, with the easiest of them leading to the most impressive waterfall in the park – South Falls. You can even go behind some of them! Definitely reminded me of the some of the waterfalls I saw in Iceland!

If you’re looking for a longer hike, trek the entire 9 miles and you’ll be rewarded with 10 waterfalls (yes, 10!). Where else can you see 10 waterfalls on one hike?! We hiked about 3 miles or so and saw two waterfalls.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

People actually call it the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system – you’ll quickly understand why after your first visit! I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a leisurely walk the rainforest (Oregon’s only one actually!)

Sleep : Browse all hotels near Silver Falls State Park here.

Stop #5: Smith Rock State Park (½ – 1 day)

Drive: 3 hours to Smith Rock State Park from Silver Falls State Park -or- 2 hours from Timberline

Located roughly 30 minutes north of Bend (next up on this Oregon road trip itinerary) in central Oregon’s High Desert (riiiight off the highway I might add), this is a spot you’d be absolutely mistaken to miss, no matter the weather. With scenic views of deep river canyons and ample hiking opportunities, Smith Rock is any outdoor-lovers dream. If you’re up for a workout on tons of switchbacks, head up to Misery Ridge for dramatic views of the entire canyon and nearby rock formations. This spot is a mecca for rock climbers, and even if you don’t subject yourself to Misery Ridge (it is called Misery Ridge for a reason), you can still spot them from the canyon floor.

Things to do in Bend, Oregon: A Wintery Guide to the City and Surrounding Areas (including where to stay, how to get around, where to eat, and lots more!)

we visited in winter, hence the reason we’re bundling up (obv)

Psst: if you’re an alpaca fanatic like I am (guilty!), be sure to check out Crescent Moon Ranch located in Terrebonne (right near Smith Rock State Park). make sure to head into the visitor’s lounge to pick up some alpaca food to feed the little guys and check out all the goods made from their soft, luxurious fleece. Wool sweaters, wool socks, wool stuffed animals, and oh so much more – it’s all there.

Sleep: near Smith Rock ( Sleep Inn & Suites Redmond and Best Western Plus Rama Inn are viable options) or in the areas of Mitchell / Prineville near the Painted Hills (depends if you wanna do more driving today)

Stop #6 ( optional ): Painted Hills and surrounding areas (1 day)

This minor detour to Painted Hills will take you roughly an hour and 45 minutes outta the way, but hey, you might as well see a lot of the state on this Oregon road trip. And plus, it’s one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, so you kinda gotta see it.

The Painted Hills are just that – full of hills of a whole myriad of different colored soils, including yellows, golds, blacks, and reds. Top Tip: these different colors are best viewed in the late afternoon (the claystones appear different dependent on light and moisture).

But don’t leave just yet – the Painted Hills are just one of three units that make up the John Day Fossil Beds. You’ll find mars-like landscapes at the Clarno Unit, and fossils of plants and animals at the Sheep Rock Unit (which make up 55 million years of evolution with a giant collection of 40,000 fossils). And no, I didn’t exaggerate those numbers. It’s the real deal over in these parts! All of these three units have short trails to dramatic viewpoints of colorful rock formations – you could easily spend all day here. Note that the three units are roughly 1 hour away from each other, so you’ll need to account for some extra driving should you want to visit two or all three.

→ Important: If you’re staying after dark to watch the sunset (highly recommended), be extra careful when driving to your accommodations at night. There’s lots of wildlife out and about near the roads (deer, elk, etc).

Note that today’s kinda a lot of driving if you decide to see Smith Rock and the Painted Hills in one day, so you may want to consider sleeping in Mitchell near the Painted Hills (30 min drive) and driving to Bend the next morning. If you wanna get a head start the drive to Bend, sleep in Prineville (roughly 1 hr, 15 minutes from the Painted Hills and on the way to Bend).

Sleep : Bend at LOGE Entrada Bend (where I stayed and brand spankin-new) or The Oxford Hotel (another top-notch option recommended by a couple we met on our Craft Beverage Tour).   Browse all hotels in Bend here . (or Mitchell / Prineville near the Painted Hills)

Stop #7: Bend (2-3 days)

Drive: 2 hours to Bend from the Painted Hills

Located between the snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Mountains and the high desert plateaus of Central Oregon, Bend really has it all, and then some. Because of its prime location for outdoor activities (think hiking, biking, river sports, etc), you’ll find a ton of sporty enthusiasts living the rugged lifestyle.

Bend is basically an adults playground. And the town is super cute, too, with a whole slew of mouthwatering restaurants and cafes to indulge in!

Things to do in Bend, Oregon: A Wintery Guide to the City and Surrounding Areas (including where to stay, how to get around, where to eat, and lots more!)

As noted above, we visited Bend in it’s snowy winter months , and have yet to experience the area in all it’s warm-weather summer-glory. We fully enjoyed our time in Bend covered in snow, and went snowshoeing, took a craft beverage tour, and ate everything in sight (for real).

However, since I have a feeling you’ll be planning this Oregon road trip for a warmer month, I’ve compiled some of the best things to do in Bend sans piles and piles of snow. I have a few friends and cousins who frequent the area quite often (they’re Bend-obsessed), so I got some recommendations from them for you to enjoy.

Since Bend is sooo well known for its craft beers, you can’t leave town without taking part in the fun for at least a little while. The city is actually known as Beer Town USA, and has more breweries per capita than any other city in Oregon. Craft beverage tours like the Bend Ale Trail or the Local Pour Tour with Wanderlust Tours are especially popular to sample local sips.

Things to do in Bend, Oregon: A Wintery Guide to the City and Surrounding Areas (including where to stay, how to get around, where to eat, and lots more!)

We loved the mixture of the Local Pour Tour, visiting a local cidery, kombucha tap room, a whisky distillery, and of course a brewery. There’s even a non-alcoholic beer brewed for pups! Crazy, right?! They do love their beer over in Bend! If you’re a beer fanatic as well, you may want to schedule your trip to Bend during one of it’s many annual beer celebrations, including Central Oregon Beer Week, Bend BrewFest, or Bend Oktoberfest (among many, many more).

Things to do in Bend, Oregon: A Wintery Guide to the City and Surrounding Areas (including where to stay, how to get around, where to eat, and lots more!)

Alternatively, simply wander around the Old Mill District and Downtown Bend, which have tons of places to eat, stroll, or shop.

Outdoor lovers will also find tons to do here. During the summer, book a kayaking or canoeing expedition on the Cascade Lakes or the Deschutes River with Wanderlust Tours, who we actually went snowshoeing with in the winter and LOVED!

You can also enjoy the outdoors on foot or by bike, and you’ll see tons of people out on the trails on warm, sunny days. The Pilot Butte Trail is a popular hiking trail in Bend that takes you to the top of an extinct volcano (yup, I said volcano alright), with thrilling views of the surrounding Cascade Mountains nearby. It’s a beautiful, scenic trail for beginners and seasoned hikers alike. For bikers, you can’t beat the Deschutes River Trail, which extends over 12 miles and borders the Deschutes River, winding through canyons and beautiful green forests along the way.

Things to do in Bend, Oregon: A Wintery Guide to the City and Surrounding Areas (including where to stay, how to get around, where to eat, and lots more!)

what you can expect Bend to look like in the winter (that snow, swoon)

And if you’re looking to amp up your photography skills, book yourself a private lesson with Toni from Bend Photo Tours. She was oh so patient with me and answered all my silly (and quite embarrassing) questions without batting an eye. Next time I’m there I’m hoping the weather conditions are sufficient for some night-sky photography!

→ Read Next: A Snowy Weekend Trip to Bend, Oregon

Sleep: Bend at LOGE Entrada Bend (where I stayed and brand spankin-new) or The Oxford Hotel (another top-notch option recommended by a couple we met on our Craft Beverage Tour).   Browse all hotels in Bend here .

Stop #8: Crater Lake National Park (2 days)

Drive: 2 hours, 30 minutes to Crater Lake National Park from Bend

Crater Lake National Park has got to be one of the most mesmerizing places I’ve been to date, and thankfully, it’s up next on this Oregon road trip. With its calm dazzling blue waters, scenic highways, and super starry night skies, you can be sure you’ll never forget your visit to Crater Lake. And that’s a promise!

Heading to Oregon and wondering what all the things to do in Crater Lake are?! Click through for the best hikes, best viewpoints, where to stay, and what to eat - exactly what you need to plan your own visit to Crater Lake!

Some quick facts:

  • Crater Lake is currently the 10th-deepest lake in the world, with a maximum depth of almost 600 meters (1,949 feet). It’s also the deepest lake in the USA!
  • The magnificent intense blue color of Crater Lake is primarily due to it’s great, great depth, and remarkable clarity. The waters stay so clear since the lake has no other bodies of water flowing into it, meaning little-to-no pollution!  

Heading to Oregon and wondering what all the things to do in Crater Lake are?! Click through for the best hikes, best viewpoints, where to stay, and what to eat - exactly what you need to plan your own visit to Crater Lake!

We spent most of our time hiking, but there’s lot more to do at the National Park if hiking isn’t your jam. Revel in the views from Rim Drive’s multitude of lookout points, get some fancy drinks and/or a dessert at Crater Lake Lodge, take a boat cruise to Wizard Island, and even go for a swim (if you dare to step foot in the chilly waters)!

Heading to Oregon and wondering what all the things to do in Crater Lake are?! Click through for the best hikes, best viewpoints, where to stay, and what to eat - exactly what you need to plan your own visit to Crater Lake!

Although the park is open every single day of the year, many of the park’s roads, trails, and facilities are closed seasonally due to snow, which usually do not reopen until summer (June/July). If you want to ensure you’ll be able to drive around the perimeter of the lake (Rim Drive), schedule your trip for late July, August, or September. These also happen to be the most popular times to visit Crater Lake, but don’t fret – the park is rather large so you’ll still be able to find your own spots of peace and solitude.  

Heading to Oregon and wondering what all the things to do in Crater Lake are?! Click through for the best hikes, best viewpoints, where to stay, and what to eat - exactly what you need to plan your own visit to Crater Lake!

Sleep : Melita’s Crater Lake Lodge nearby Crater Lake (or you can head right to Ashland if you prefer). Browse all hotels near Crater Lake National Park here.

Stop #9: Ashland (1 day) – OPTIONAL

Drive: 2 hours to Ashland from Crater Lake National Park

Get one last look at Crater Lake, then hit the road; it’s time to make our way to Ashland, one of southern Oregon’s hot spots and loved by all.

Ashland is a classic Pacific Northwest hippie town with a love for nature, beer, and admittedly, all things weird. Here, you can find a very alternative vibe, with tons of green, vegan health shops, locally-brewed beers, and tons of places where you can get in touch with the quirky and downright strange personality of the place.

It’s not everywhere that you can watch Shakespeare, drink Sriracha flavored beer, and go to a paranormal activity hotspot in just one day. But in Ashland, you can do all this and more! Told you it was weird.

Speaking of Shakespeare, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is a must-see here, with regular shows at the Green Show, a performance venue and courtyard that’s frequented by visitors and locals alike. But if you’re not a fan of Shakespeare himself (say what?!), you can see other productions the group puts on, like Hairspray and Alice in Wonderland. The OSF shows usually happen during the summer, and if you choose to go to a classic Shakespeare show, don’t miss the ones at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre.

Aside from Shakespeare, there are tons of other weird and wacky things to do in Ashland. Beer lovers can find the strangest and most unique beers at the Caldera Brewing Tap House, a local favorite that made waves with its Sriracha Stout beer. You can also visit the Oregon Vortex, which is a weirdly spiritual spot known for paranormal activity and other strange happenings located about 30 minutes from town. And of course, don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful nature in the area, especially in the fall, when the leaves turn all kinds of beautiful colors.

Technically , if you wanna save a bit of driving and don’t have all the time in the world, you may choose to cut Ashland out of your Oregon itinerary. Your call, but I think it’s worth at least a day or so.

Sleep: Bard’s Inn Ashland . Browse all hotels in Ashland here.

Stop #10: Coos Bay // Southern Oregon Coast (1-2 days)

Drive: 3 hours, 15 minutes from Ashland to Coos Bay

It’s finally time to get this Oregon coast road trip itinerary underway! The drive from Ashland and Crater Lake will essentially take the same amount of time, so there’s no absolute NEED to visit Ashland if you’re pressed on time.  If you’re coming from either one, you have two options – the long way (~5 hour drive with more exploration of the southern Oregon coast), or the shorter way (3 and a half hours cutting straight to Coos Bay from Ashland/Crater Lake). I suggest opting for the short route as in my opinion, you won’t be missing out on too much by skipping the southern coast below (as Coos Bay is one of most scenic areas on the Oregon Coast)– but obviously, your choice!

San Francisco to Seattle Road Trip Itinerary: COMPLETE road trip with all stops, where to stay, and top things to do from San Francisco to Seattle (national parks, stunning lakes, best wine, etc)!

Coos Bay is home to the Cape Arago Beach Loop, which is where I’d spend the rest of the day.

On this driving/exploring/sightseeing loop, you’ll venture into three Oregon State Parks, watch a ton of seals and sea lions play, as well as stop at numerous breathtaking vantage points. The drive is not super long, but you’ll definitely want the better portion of the day to stop and soak it all in!

A few must-see stops: 1) Bastendorff Beach (say goodbye to crowds and hello to oh so much natural beauty), 2) Sunset Bay State Park (those towering sea cliffs sure are something, especially with the beautiful sandy beaches and amazing tide pool explorations), 3) Cape Arago Lighthouse Viewpoint (you unfortunately can’t view the inside but you can get fantastic views from here), 4) Shore Acres State Park and Botanical Gardens (tons and tons of blooms), 5) Simpson Beach (look out for the migrating whales and hundreds of seals and sea lions), 6) Shell Island (breeding and rest areas for seabirds and Marine mammals), and finally 7) Cape Arago State Park.

Sleep in Coos Bay : Browse all hotels near Coos Bay here.

Stop #11: Newport, Tillamook, and Cannon Beach (2 days)

Next up on this Oregon coast road trip → making the way back up north to Cannon Beach!

Prepare yourself as today’s primarily a driving day, but don’t worry, there’s tons of scenic stops along the way. Think scenic seaside towns, sand dunes, spectacular lighthouses, and cheese! Yes, cheese! Because who isn’t fascinated by cheese?

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Sure, California’s Highway One surely steals the show when it comes to coastal road trips, but Oregon’s coast is one for the bucket list as well! With quiet seaside coves, bustling beach towns, and secluded hideaways, you won’t want to miss the beauty that is Oregon.

A few recommended stops between Coos Bay and Cannon Beach, where we’ll be ending the drive today. If you’re not pressed on time you can easily spread these activities/stops out over two days.

  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area: Wind-sculpted sand dunes for days (literally, miles and miles and miles). This NRA is actually one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world, so yea, I wasn’t kidding when I said Oregon’s coastline is on par with California’s .  You can even take a buggy or ATV tour of the dunes!
  • Haceta Head Lighthouse : The first of numerous lighthouses on our list, and this one just happens to be the brightest light on the Oregon coast and most photographed in the whole state. To say it’s simply stunning is a huge understatement.
  • Cape Perpetua: Don’t miss the Spouting Horn, an exploding salt water geyser, and Thor’s Well, a gaping pit with violent waves crashing in every direction that ultimately fall into a hole, just as weird and wonderful as it sounds.
  • Nye Beach: The perfect stop for a late lunch, depending on how much exploring/sand-duning you did earlier. This is also a great place to spend the night if you’ll be splitting the drive from Coos Bay to Cannon Beach into two days.
  • Yaquina Head Light: Being the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, you can’t miss this towering beauty
  • Devils Punchbowl State Reserve: This is a popular whale watching site and displays an intriguing geology. Also, as the name suggests, there’s a hollow rock formation shaped like a huge punch bowl. Better yet, go at sunset if you want to see something spectacular.
  • Tillamook Cheese Factory: Who could resist some fine, fine creamy cheese samples? Not I, that’s for sure! If you’re not familiar with the brand, Tillamook is a leading cheese provider in the area, who aims to connect farmers with everyday food lovers (hi!) with cheese and ice cream. Don’t miss the tour.
  • Cannon Beach: Phew, made it (finally)! HAYSTACK ROCK, enough said.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

Finally, the last official stop on this Oregon coast road trip, the one and only Cannon Beach. Here at Cannon Beach, you’ll find the famous and ever-so-popular Haystack Rock (it’s a sight to be seen).

No matter where you stand, you’ll see it (I promise), as it towers 235 feet over the beach. If you can, plan your visit during low tide so you’re able to walk right up to Haystack Rock to search for sea creatures (crabs, sea anemone, mussels, and snails). Check here to see when the tide is at its lowest. Check out Pelican Brewing Company should you get hungry (the fish tacos were absolutely bomb).

Sleep: Hallmark Resort and Spa Cannon Beach or Surfsand Resort if you’re feeling fancy, or Hidden Villa Cottages for a less expensive room. Note that many of the hotels are quite expensive in Cannon Beach, so expect to pay at least $250 a night or so.

Thankfully, you’ve only got about an hour and a half drive west back to the city of Portland to complete this full Oregon road trip. Choose to drive back after your first night in Cannon Beach, or the morning after your second.

Planning a trip to Oregon in the near future? Check out this Portland itinerary, full of great foodie spots, waterfall hikes, and vista points! See all the highlights in 3 days in Portland!

End: Portland → Phew, you made it back! Grab some Stumptown Coffee on your way home!

Are you visiting the state soon? What are you most excited about on this Oregon road trip itinerary!?

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April 5, 2024 at 8:41 am

Sharp photos! Bend is definitely vibrant in the summer. You should make the trip. Be sure to check out Galveston and the oldmill district =)

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Planning an epic Northern California road trip and looking for the best stops to make?! I’m here to show you all the highlights (think redwoods, deep blue lakes, and freshly shucked oysters)!

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Home » North America » USA » Oregon

Epic Oregon Road Trip Travel Guide | Best Routes in 2024!

Going on a  road trip in Oregon  has to be one of the best ways to experience the state! With your own car and the freedom of the road, you’ll be able to go wherever you want and see whatever you like in this glorious state.

Oregon is a magical place full of beautiful landscapes, interesting people, and amazing food and drink. There are few other destinations in the world where you can surf and ski in the same day and, for that matter, drink some of the best beer of your life all the while.

There’s a lot to do in Oregon but, make no mistake, this is a big, wide-open state, one that requires plenty of time and patience to see.

Renting a car in a foreign state or country can be intimidating. Travelers may not know where to go or what to do. They may be worried about expenses or spending too much money pointlessly as well.

Don’t worry – we have the insider information you need for an EPIC Oregon road trip.

Written by a road-trip expert and local, this epic guide covers everything you need to know about visiting Oregon by car or campervan.

We’ll show you exactly how to stick to a budget, tell you about the best things in Oregon, and give you plenty of ideas and itineraries so you can easily plan out your entire trip!

So let’s start planning your dream Oregon road trip!

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Eastern oregon road trip, the grand tour oregon itinerary, places to visit in oregon, oregon road trip tips, apartments and hotels in oregon, renting a car or campervan in oregon.

Oregon is about average when it comes to the costs of living, though it is quickly becoming one of the more expensive states. A road trip in Oregon can be affordable or it could be expensive – it all depends on how you want to do it.

We at The Broke Backpacker always try to go on affordable adventures and are always looking for ways to travel cheap ! Even if we are unable to travel for $10/day, as we do in our favorite countries, we can at least help you reduce the prices of an Oregon road trip.

The average daily budget for an Oregon road trip is between $150-$200 – this includes gas, a rental car, lodging, food, drink, and entry into certain attractions. Make note of this number but please do not let it discourage you – we’re going to show how to reduce it to a more budget-friendly amount soon.

Gas will undoubtedly be your largest expense while on a road trip in Oregon. It’s sometimes hard to predict how much gas you will use but it is almost always is more than you expect. Do not take this expense lightly and do you everything you can to limit it.

Other than gas, the costs associated with a road trip in Oregon really come down to how you want to travel, eat, sleep, and drink. These run gamut from driving in a cheap economy car to a gas-guzzling SUV and eating out in expensive restaurants to cooking your own food at a campground.

If you are mostly cooking for yourself, camping, and exploring Oregon’s wild places, you can reduce that cost in half. Traveling with at least one other person will also keep costs much lower.

Think about what you want to do on your Oregon road trip route and then set a budget.

Below is a breakdown of the average costs of a road trip in Oregon.

hidden waterfall marion falls oregon photography roaming ralph

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Average Costs of an Oregon Road Trip

Rental car :  $30-$100

RV rental :  $100-$300

Gallon of gas:  $3.23

Private AirBnB home:  $80

Hotel room:  $120

Hostel:  $25-$30

Campground:  $5-$15 (sometimes free!)

Sandwich:  $6-$9

Beer at a bar:  $5-$7

Coffee:  $2-$3

Bottle of Whiskey from market:  $20

Dinner for two:  $30-$50

  • The Oregon Coast – 4 days
  • The Cascades – 7 days
  • Eastern Oregon  – 10 days
  • The Grand Tour Oregon – 14 days

Below is a list of sample Oregon road trip routes. Varying from 5 to 14 days in length, they cover many of the top destinations in Oregon. Each itinerary provides day-by-day highlights, which are meant to give you some good Oregon road trip ideas.

road trip conditions oregon

The USA is  blisteringly beautiful. It’s also blisteringly expensive! Visiting two national parks in day can run you $70+ in entry fees.

Orrrr… you kick those entry fees to the curb, buy an annual ‘America the Beautiful Pass’ for $79.99,  and get unlimited access to ALL 2000+ federally managed sites in the States totally FREE!

You do the math. 😉

The Oregon Coast is probably the most beloved road trip in the entire state and is a popular area for a holiday stay with both locals and out-of-towners. People flock here to get away from the rat race for a little while and tend to just laze about on the beach or in a local diner.

The Oregon Coast itself is not well-known for its warm weather or clear days, but rather its rugged beauty. Dramatic cliffs, tide pools, and sea stacks are the most notable landmarks here – palm trees are markedly absent.

The best part about a road trip on Oregon Highway 101 is that you’ll never be far away from the coast. This route hugs the near entirety of the shoreline and only deviates when passing through an epic forest. For 90% of the way, it’ll just be you and the ocean.

oregon road trip map itinerary 4 days

  • Bandon by the Sea
  • Samuel H Boardman Park
  • Ecola State Park
  • Cape Perpetua
  • Florence Sand Dunes
  • Pacific City Camping Resort Yurts
  • Windermere on the Beach  (Bandon)
  • Ecola Creek Lodge  (Cannon Beach)
  • Norblad Hotel  (Astoria)
  • McMenamins Gearhart Hotel  (Gearhart)
  • Shucking fresh oysters
  • Bonfires on the beach
  • Surfing at Oswald West
  • Whale watching

The entire way.

  • Pelican Brewery (Cape Kiwanda)
  • The Schooner (Netarts)
  • Fort George Brewery (Astoria)
  • Local Ocean Seafoods (Newport)
  • Mattie’s (Brooking)
  • Festival of the Dark Arts in Astoria (February)
  • Goonies Day in Astoria (June)
  • Newport Seafood and Wine Fest (February)
  • South Coast Clambake and Jazz Fest (March)
  • Southern Oregon Kite Festival (July)

ecola state park oregon coast road trip

Oregon’s Cascade Range is not the highest nor the most epic in the USA – these mountains are fairly gentle and draw attention only when there is a volcano around. Hidden in the lush fur of these slopes though are, hands-down, the best waterfalls in the country, not to mention some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Better yet, some of Oregon’s best cabins and treehouses are found here, so book a stay amongst the forests for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Mt Hood and Crater Lake are the Cascade’s most famous landmarks and both are must see places in Oregon. In between these two are countless more treasures, including, but not limited to, Jefferson Park, Marion Falls, Clear Lake, and the Three Sisters Wilderness. I’m barely scratching the surface as well.

Following a road trip in the Cascades, you will also have the chance to drive up the Willamette Valley, which has some of the finest Pinot Noirs in the world. Nothing really beats a glass of wine or a B&B at a vineyard after spending a week in the mountains.

map of oregon travel itinerary

  • Crater Lake
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Willamette Valley vineyards
  • Lots of waterfalls
  • Maverick Inn  (Klamath Falls)
  • Pacific Crest Trailhouse  (Cascade Locks)
  • Eugene Whitaker House
  • Bunk + Brews Historic Lucas House  (Bend)
  • Hiking/skiing at Mt Hood
  • Rock climbing at Smith Rock
  • Swimming at Crater Lake
  • Willamette Valley wine tours
  • Waterfall photography
  • Crater Lake Rim Road
  • Highway 138
  • Crux Fermentation Science (Bend)
  • Sam Bond’s Garage (Eugene)
  • Caspian Cafe (Eugene)
  • The Painted Lady (McMinnville)
  • Ritter’s Housemade Foods (Salem)
  • Oregon Country Fair (July)
  • International Pinot Noir Celebration (July)
  • Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival (April/March)
  • Tigard Festival of Balloons (June)
  • Bend Brew Festival (August)

If you need more recommendations on where to stay on your road trip, check out these cottages in Oregon .

crater lake in the summer oregon road trip

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and  ditch the plastic .

A visit to Eastern Oregon will be a wholly unique experience compared to the Western portion of the state. Deciduous rainforests and beaches are swapped for desert-scapes and hazy mountains. If you wanted to see a side of Oregon that few are even aware, this is the one.

There are lots of things to do in Eastern Oregon. Smith Rock offers some of the best climbing in the country while the Wallowas (AKA the Oregon Alps) offer some of the best skiing and hiking in Colorado . Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert are two of the greatest hidden gems on the West Coast and are known only to adventurous Oregonians.

The culture is also distinct from the rest of the state. Cowboys, whiskey guzzlers, social pariahs; all of these are the types of people you’ll see in Eastern Oregon.

map of oregon travel itinerary

  • Painted Hills
  • Steens Mountains
  • Hell’s Canyon
  • Dreamer’s Lodge  (John Day)
  • Eagle Cap Chalets  (Joseph)
  • Rory and Ryan Inn  (Burns)
  • Brewery tours in Bend
  • Snowboarding at Mt Bachelor
  • Hiking in Wallowas
  • Desert scenery
  • Cowboys in Pendleton
  • Steens Mountain Road
  • Scenic Lakes Byway
  • Deschutes Brewing (Bend)
  • McKay Cottage (Bend)
  • Roosters Country Kitchen (Pendleton)
  • Arrowhead Chocolates (Joseph)
  • Sisters Folk Festival (September)
  • Deschutes County Fair (August)
  • Pendleton Whiskey Music Fest (July)

steens mountain oregon

This the best road trip in Oregon – hands-down. Hell, this is one of the best drives in the USA ! You see everything and then some! The coast, the Cascades, the deserts of Eastern Oregon; all of these areas will be available to you with this itinerary.

In addition to the grand majority of the locations listed above, you will also have more time in Southern Oregon. This region is one of the most neglected parts of the state, which is unfair considering what it offers. The river rafting is epic, Ashland is one of the most charming cities you’ve never heard of, and the wine is arguably even better than that of the Willamette Valley.

So if you have time to kill and want to see the best of Oregon, look no further than this route. Oregon is beautiful and this is the best way to see it.

oregon road trip map itinerary 14 days

  • Eastern Oregon
  • Timberline Lodge
  • Traveler’s House  (Portland)
  • The Ashland Hostel
  • Columbia Hotel  (Ashland)
  • Everywhere else mentioned prior
  • Skiing at Mt Hood
  • Climbing at Smith Rock
  • Rafting in Southern Oregon
  • Chilling in Ashland
  • Wine and beer tours
  • Seafood on the coast
  • Hiking in the Wallowas
  • Growler’s Taproom (Portland)
  • Shalom Y’all (Portland)
  • Cartopia (Portland)
  • Brother’s Restaurant (Ashland)
  • Cafe Broder (Portland
  • Everything else mentioned in this guide
  • Ashland Shakespeare Festival (February)
  • Portland Brewer’s Festival (July)
  • Portland Rose Festival and Parade (May/June)
  • Portland Waterfront Blue’s Festival (July)
  • Pickathon (August)
  • Portland MFNW (August)

multnomah falls winter landscape oregon road trip

Below is a list of the best road trip stops in Oregon. Study them well and decide which ones you like the most.

Road Trip to Portland

The City of Roses. Little Beirut. Rip City. Bridgetown. Stumptown. Call it what you will but few names can actually capture the intangible flavor and uniqueness that Portland excludes in abundance.

For years, Portland was a city of obscurity, full of eccentrics and abject people. For residents, this anonymity was an ideal situation that allowed them to cultivate their weirdness. Portland has only been “discovered” in recent years by the rest of the world and has since developed into a full-on tourist destination.

Portland is not a big city by American standards. There are no large attractions in Portland like a Hollywood Sign or Liberty Bell. Life is simpler (and better) in Portland because people care mostly about good food, good beer, and good health (both physically and spiritually). For these reasons, the best things to do in Portland are to just eat, drink, and go for a walk.

portland oregon and mt hood at dusk from pittock mansion

The best districts in Portland to walk around are definitely the Alphabet District , the Pearl, Alberta Arts , Hawthorne , and Laurelhurst . Other neighborhoods like Belmont, Mississippi, Division, and Chinatown are also worth visiting. On either side of the Willamette River are the Eastbank Esplanade and Tom McCall Waterfront , which are both great places to wander around.

A hike through the lush Forest Park makes for a lovely day. Inside and on the outskirts of the large park are some of Portland’s best attractions like Pittock Mansion , the Rose Gardens , and Japanese Gardens .

If there were must-see landmarks in Portland then they’d probably the bridges. Portlandians are in love with their bridges and take great pride in them. St. John’s Bridge is a crowd favorite as is the iron Hawthorne Bridge.

I’d go into more detail on the city, and talk about the many restaurants and bars, but, unfortunately, there is not enough time and space available in this guide. That’s what the our Portland Budget Travel guide is for – blessings!

  And the  coolest places in Portland to go .

  Craft a killer  Portland travel itinerary .

  Read about the  coolest hostels in Portland .

  And book a killer  Airbnb Portland apartment .

Road Trip through the Columbia River Gorge

With endless outdoor opportunities, the much loved Columbia River Gorge is like a playground for adults! Those looking for the best hikes near Portland should head directly to this scenic area. Also, there are some excellent breweries nearby offering crucial post-hike beers.

Starting in Troutdale and driving along the  Historic Columbia River Highway , you’ll first arrive at the Portland Women’s Forum , which has one of the most iconic views of the Gorge. You’ll see the Vista House perched on the walls of the gorge in the distance as well as the Columbia River .

From there you can continue on to picturesque Laurotell Falls and Bridal Veil Falls (see if you can find the elusive Upper Bridal Veil Fall ). Nearby Angel’s Rest is a very popular sunset hike for locals as well.

columbia river gorge from womens forum viewpoint

The next stop is Multnomah Falls, which is arguably the most spectacular waterfall in Oregon. This near-perfect waterfall drops over 500 ft amidst verdant foliage and is one of the most photographed places in Oregon. In front of the falls is an equally photogenic bridge, which makes the scene look like Rivendell.

Beyond Multnomah Falls, you’ll pass by many other superlative portions of the Gorge, notably Oneonta Gorge and Eagle Creek . These are some of the most beautiful places in Oregon as well as the most crowded. Note that this part of the Gorge was damaged recently by a wildfire and that some trails may be closed.

Past Eagle Creek is Cascade Locks, home to the historical Bridge of the Gods, which is where the PCT crosses into Washington. Further along is the Hood River, which is one of the coolest towns in Oregon. Here are, hands-down, some of the best breweries in Oregon in addition to some killer windsurfing and gorgeous views of Mt Hood and Mt Adams.

Road Trip to Mt Hood

Oregon’s pride and joy, the image that most Oregonians can recall from their earliest memories, is Mt Hood. For outdoor enthusiasts and mountain lovers, Mt Hood will be the crowning achievement on their road trip in Oregon.

Getting to Mt Hood is very easy as one of the states main arteries ( Highway 26 ) runs literally right next to it. The drive is gorgeous and a little perilous if you’re visiting Mt Hood in the winter.

If your car is not able to drive in the snow, which is very common beyond December, you can still catch a local shuttle in Sandy to the main alpine settlements: Government Camp and Timberline , the latter of which is famous for appearing in Stanley Kubrik’s The Shining .

Along 26 are several stops that you should absolutely make time for. Trillium Lake and Mirror Lake are local favorites, however, it’s also one of the most famous hikes in the USA , so the trails can be quite crowded.

mt hood pink sunset trillium lake snow roaming ralph photography

There are several awesome spots on the eastern and northern flanks of Mt Hood that can be accessed by several forest roads. Cloud Cap , Tamanawas Falls , and Lost Lake are great places to check out.

If you’re a skier, then Mt Hood is unquestionably one of the best places in Oregon to visit in the winter. The skiing here is world-class and runs come in many forms, from tended to the backcountry. If you’re visiting Oregon in the summer, no worries; Timberline Lodge has the longest ski season in the country and is open 365 days a year.

Mt Hood is one of the most climbed glaciated mountains on the planet, second only to Mt Fuji. It is a great introductory peak for beginners and requires only a long day to summit. You will still need the proper adventure equipment to climb in as well as current condition reports.

Oregon Coast Road Trip

The Oregon Coast is not the typical kind of beach getaway – it’s not warm, it’s not very comfortable, and it’s not at all like those tropical postcards.

oRainy, rugged, and utterly romantic, the Oregon Coast is a marvel in its own way. If you’re travelling the USA for the adventure and appreciate a harsher beauty(or possibly like to wear both sandals and sweaters at the same time), you will instantly fall in love with this place.

The Coast is long and nearly 100% accessible via the Oregon Coast Highway 101 . A road trip on this highway will give you tons of opportunities to experience the local attractions. The Oregon Coast can roughly be divided into three parts (North, Central, and South) and between the three, there are, honestly, too many things to see and do.

oregon coast sunset at indian beach oregon coast road trip roaming ralph photography

Starting north you have the top weekend getaways for Portlandians – Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, and Manzanita. Astoria is mostly famous for being the setting for Steven Spielberg’s The Goonies.

Seaside is a cute town popular with families and is a bit touristy. Cannon Beach is equally as touristy but hosts the stunning Haystack Rock.

Manzanita is the most laidback of the bunch and is aw great base for day trips to Oswald West State Park and Neahkahnie Mountain , both of which offer some of the best Oregon Coast hikes.

Moving south we head past Tillamook , the cheese capital of Oregon, and past Cape Kiwanda, one of my favorite places in Oregon, before arriving in Newport , famous for the highly-regarded Oregon Coast Aquarium . Beyond Newport is ultra-rugged Cape Perpetua , home to the Devil’s Churn, Thor’s Well, and Sea Lion Caves.

After Perpetua, we drive to Florence and the epic Oregon Sand Dunes , which originally inspired Frank Herbert to write the sci-fi masterpiece, Dune . Quad biking on the dunes is one of the most popular things to do on the Oregon Coast, though there are plenty of other places to go for a nice walk.

Saving the best for last, we wrap our Oregon Coast road trip in the south. The stretch between Bandon and Brookings is superlative with state parks like Face Rock, Samuel H. Boardman, and Pistol River all providing amazing settings. Some of the best hikes on the Oregon Coast are also around Boardman.

Willamette Valley Road Trip

The Willamette Valley is the breadbasket of Oregon and the source of much of its delicious produce. It also hosts some of the most respected wineries in the USA, which produce some of the finest Pinots in the entire world, not to mention a number of interesting towns and natural attractions.

The Willamette Valley runs for about 150 miles from Portland south to Eugene . The largest highway in Oregon, Interstate 5 , runs through the Willamette Valley meaning you can travel by car to California .

I5 itself doesn’t really have a lot of great views and the drive itself is pretty boring. Deviate slightly from I5 and there’s lots more though.

There are over 500 wineries spread throughout the Willamette Valley. The greatest concentration of wineries is around Highway 18 near McMinnville, Salem, and Newberg . You could easily spend an entire day touring these vineyards and trying some of the best wine in the country but please remember to drive safely.

willamette valley winery and countryside oregon road trip

To the west of the Willamette Valley, you’ll the see the Cascade Range rising. The Cascades, running all the way from Washington to California, are like the geographic spine of the state and heavily influence the weather.

Hidden inside of the Cascades are some more great waterfalls, which make for great day hikes close to Portland.

Silver Falls State Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Oregon because it offers great scenery and easy trails. Nearby is the much more intimate albeit difficult Abiqua Falls , which has become a local favorite.

Penetrate even deeper into the Cascades and you’ll find hidden gems like Olallie Lake, Bagby Hot Springs, Jefferson Park, Marion Falls, and Three Fingered Jack.

Eugene is worth dropping by if you have a moment. Eugene was once considered the “hippie capital” of Oregon though it’s more gentrified now. You can still get a taste of the counterculture in the bluesy Whitaker District.

Road Trip to Bend

Located on the other side of the Cascades in the High Oregon Desert, Bend is, in a lot of ways, like a foil to Portland. Bend is smaller, more rural, more politically conservative, and even more laid back than “big city” Portland.

Bend still has that quintessential Oregon charm though and ultimately makes for an awesome stop on any Oregon road trip route.

You’ll have to cross the Cascades in order to arrive in Bend. You can cross the Cascades via several passes and each offers their own set of attractions. I personally enjoy driving along Highway 20/126 because I have a chance to visit some of my favorite places in Oregon including Koosah Falls, Clear Lake, Tamolitch Falls, Proxy Falls, and Linton Falls . Note that only the larger highways like 26 may be open in winter.

Bend mostly gets attention for the surrounding landscape, which you’ll be introduced to on the drive in. The city itself is really cool though and actually a really fun place in Oregon to hang in, so it’s definitely worth staying in Bend for a couple nights. If you need ideas for places to stay in Bend, consider checking out one of the incredible vacation rentals . The local breweries, like Deschutes and Crux , are some of the finest in the state and the food ain’t bad either.

People usually head outdoors immediately upon arriving in Bend. Around the city are some of the best mountain biking, skiing, climbing, and hiking in Oregon, making the area a paradise for outdoors people.

smith rock near end oregon road trip roaming ralph photography

Nearby Mt Bachelor is one of the best places to visit in Oregon in winter as the snow is legendary. North of Bend is the holy Smith Rock , which is often considered the birthplace of American rock climbing. East is endless sagebrush.

I definitely suggest driving on the Cascades Lakes Byway in the summer. You can visit local favorites like Tumalo Falls and Sparks Lake , all the while being afforded views of the Three Sisters . South Sister is a popular and relatively easy climb.

Road Trip to Crater Lake

Oregon only has one national park but it is easily one of the most stunning parks in the USA . Crater Lake is a marvel, an enormous body of water held high in the air on top of a collapsed volcano. The water is one of the deepest shades of blue that you will ever see and, officially, some of the clearest. There’s simply nothing else like it in the world.

Crater Lake is located a couple hours south of Bend in the Cascade Mountains. There are several entrances to the park but only one, Munson Valley via Highway 62 , is open (sometimes) in the winter. You’ll have to pay to enter the park though rates change depending on the time of year (summer: $25 winter: $15).

There is a lot to do at Crater Lake, though most people just stand there and stare in awe at it. You can hike, climb to one of the many surrounding peaks, descend down to the lake’s edge for a very cold swim, or simply drive around the rim in the summer on the Rim Road.

crater lake sunset roaming ralph photography

Several times in the year the road is closed to vehicular traffic so that bikers and pedestrians may enjoy the park without being disturbed, which is a really nice touch.

Though there is more to do in the summer, the best time of year to visit Crater Lake is in the winter. During this time, there are very few people, tons of snow, and just a powerful stillness to the place. The silence in the winter is almost total and you’ll be shocked, maybe even scared at how serene it is.

You can, of course, camp at Crater Lake though campgrounds can fill really quick. If you strike out camping, the nearest large town is Klamath Falls and it has plenty of lodging.

An Eastern Oregon road trip is a must for anyone who wants to get the full Oregonian experience. Some of the USA’s most beautiful places are found in this part of the state and anyone interested in a more rugged adventure will enjoy Eastern Oregon very much.

A lot of people often imagine Oregon covered in trees and being rained on 24/7; few realize that almost two-thirds of the state is actually a mix of desert terrain and stark mountains.

Lying on the other side of the Cascades, Eastern Oregon is, contrary to the common image, arid, hot, and sometimes bitterly cold. This austere landscape is gorgeous though and only solidifies Oregon as one of the most geographically diverse states in the USA.

painted hills viewpoint sunset oregon road trip roaming ralph photography

The most popular place in Eastern Oregon is probably the kaleidoscopic Painted Hills , located in the John Day Fossil Beds . These hills are a geologic wonder and famous for their bright colors.

Surrounding the John Day area are the Ochoco, Malheur, and Umatilla forests as well as the Blue Mountains and Strawberry Mountains . Fun fact: the Blue Mountains are home to the world’s largest organism – a 2400-year-old fungus that covers over 2,000 acres.

In the far northeastern corner of the state are the Wallowa Mountains aka “The Alps of Oregon.” The Wallowas are an outdoor wonderland that offer great skiing opportunities and some of the best hikes in Oregon.

Most of the Wallowa Mountains fall within the Eagle Cap Wilderness though local townships like Joseph and Enterprise are worth visiting as well.

Nearby to the Wallowas is the historically significant Snake River and Hell’s Canyon , the deepest canyon in the entire United States.

There are many more hidden parts in Eastern Oregon that are really out in the middle of nowhere. To learn more about some of these remote locations among others, refer to the section below where we talk about secret Oregon.

road trip conditions oregon

Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

Off The Beaten Path Oregon Road Trip Ideas

Oregon has so many hidden treasures for you to discover! To see something different, start with these relatively unknown locations, which are among the most uniques places to visit in Oregon.

1. Steens Mountains

The epitome of off-the-beaten-path in Oregon; these mountains are located in the far southeastern corner of the state and it takes a real journey to get here. Drive to the top of the mountains via the astounding Steens Mountain Road .

Be on the lookout for wild horses and, in the autumn, the golden aspens. On the other side of the Steens is the Alvord Desert – a surreal playa that is popular among both artists and off-roaders who like to go for joy rides.

2. Owyhee Canyonlands

One of the last untouched desert frontiers in America, full of hoodoos, stone towers, and delicate ravines. The Owyhee Canyonlands are often compared to the national parks and landscapes of Utah  albeit not as extensive.

Popular among hikers, rock climbers, and river rafters though not many people actually make it out this far due to rough and remote roads. Definitely one of the most beautiful and unique places to visit in Oregon.

3. Southern Oregon Road Trip

Though not exactly hidden, Southern Oregon often receives far less attention than the rest of the state. People usually visit to attend the famous Shakespeare Festival in charming Ashland or when passing through on a road trip from California, but there is a lot more happening than most are aware of.

The Rogue Valley has a burgeoning wine and beer scene that will soon rival the Willamette Valley. In terms of natural attractions, there is the Rogue River with its world-class rapids as well as the rugged Siskiyou Mountains and Oregon Caves , all of which make for great adventures.

lounging in the alvord desert with an umbrella eastern oregon road trip

Oregon Roadside Attractions

Americans have a weird affinity to the strange landmarks that are usually found out in the middle of nowhere. The roadside attractions in Oregon have become so admired that many people go on a trip just see them!

Below is a list of some of the most interesting roadside attractions in Oregon. Did we mention that a lot of these stops are among the best cheap things to do in Oregon as well?

  • Peace Candle of the World (Scappoose) – A former silo that was filled with wax and painted red to resemble a giant candle. Promotes world peace.
  • Enchanted Forest (Salem) – An amusement park filled with fairytale-themed rides and attractions. Whimsical and a little creepy.
  • The Oregon Vortex (Gold Hill) – Place where the laws of physics are purportedly non-existent due to paranormal activity.
  • Short Bridge Ghost Town (Short Bridge) – A seemingly derelict town that is actually a very well designed prop.
  • Octopus Tree (Tillamook) – An old spruce tree that came to be shaped like an octopus by unknown means.
  • Prehistoric Gardens (Port Orford) – A series of lifesize dinosaur recreations in the coastal rainforest. Intended to look like a prehistoric zoo.
  • Peterson Rock Garden (Redmond) – An estate full intricate statues and structures made from rocks and stones.
  • Oregon Corndog (Rockaway Beach) – Home to the world’s largest (artificial) corn dog. There’s also a bucking mechanical corn dog ride complete with a saddle.
  • Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (McMinnville) – Holy ground for anyone interest in aviation. Hosts a large collection of planes, most importantly the Spruce Goose, one of the largest planes ever designed.
  • Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health (Salem) – A real mental institution that was used for filming One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Now displays important artifacts from the movie as well as archaic therapeutic techniques.

octopus tree oregon roadside attraction

Oregon Scenic Drives

Everywhere you look in Oregon, there’s beauty; much of it can be seen from the seat of your car! Those who want a glimpse of the state’s splendor from behind the wheel should definitely check out these scenic drives in Oregon.

  • Highway 101 – A road trip on Oregon Highway 101 is a great way to experience the best of the Oregon Coast. Most of the Oregon coast’s top attractions are within a stone’s throw from the highway as well. Highlights include the views from the slope of Neahkahnie Mountain, driving past the Oregon Dunes , and seeing the sea stacks of Bandon and/or Cannon Beach . This highway also makes for a natural transition when road tripping from California as the 101 runs all the way up the West Coast to Washington .
  • Interstate 84 – Drive through one of Oregon’s greatest points of pride: the Columbia River Gorge. With high walls and dense woods, the Gorge is like something out of Scandinavia. Aside from being gorgeous by itself, the Gorge has lots of hiking opportunities as well as some of the best waterfalls in Oregon.
  • Highway 138 – One of my favorite scenic drives in Oregon. Depart from Crater Lake and head northwest through the Cascade Range. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the prettiest and most unique places in Oregon, including Mt. Thielsen (aka the Lightning Bolt) and Toketee Falls . 138 eventually enters the Umpqua River Valley, which is equally remarkable.
  • Highway 26 – A great commute that affords road trippers glimpses of the tableau that is the Oregonian landscape. On this scenic drive through Oregon, you’ll have the chance to experience the state’s amazing geographic diversity. Start on the coast (Cannon Beach) and drive east through the city of Portland, the alpine forests at the base of Mt. Hood, and then down to the Oregon High Desert. 26 goes all the way to Boise, Idaho but the Painted Hills are a great place to stop.

rowena crest road trip oregon

Why Visit this Part of the World

Oregon is one of the brightest and quirkiest places in all of the USA. It is a spectacular state that provides everything that makes for an awesome road trip: great food, gorgeous natural attractions, engaging people, and best of all, an easygoing culture that loves to enjoy itself.

Due to its relative isolation, Oregon has always been a hideaway for the abject in society, which has shaped both its history and demographgics for better or worse .

In short, many people – the eccentric, unaccepted, burnt-out, adventurous sorts – who felt confined in conventional American life all fled to the farthest corner of the US, that is the Pacific Northwest . The result of this migration is now an established culture that champions the strange and alternative.

portland oregon old town sign

Oregonians are very proud of their eccentricities. You’ll often see people in the cities of Portland and Eugene doing, saying, and wearing whatever they want, sometimes to a bombastic level.

Libertarianism and separatism are very popular concepts in Oregon, both among urban and rural centers. Regardless of politics though, Oregonians are very outspoken people.

And why shouldn’t they be outspoken? Oregon has some of the most fantastic landscapes in the USA, a mostly forward-thinking society, and a people that really give a shit. Quality, ecologically-friendly products are of the utmost importance here and social progressivism is often at the forefront of people’s lives here.

There are very few places as interesting or as enthralling as Oregon. Between the hugely varied landscapes and the larger-than-life personalities, this is a state that grips you and doesn’t let go. It plants a seed and takes root in everyone’s mind and everyone has a hard time ending an Oregon road trip.

Getting Insured

Traveling without insurance would be risky so do consider getting good backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

road trip conditions oregon

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Top Tips for Broke Backpackers

Below is a list of Oregon road trip ideas for saving money. Try and practice these as much as possible.

  • Rent an economy car: Prices can be as low as $25/day depending on the time of year and how far in advance you reserve. Economy cars are also more fuel efficient so you’ll save on fuel. Use apps like ViaMichelin to find cheap gas, which, seriously, always ends up being one of the most surprising and costly expenses on a road trip.
  • Use vehicle relocation services: These brilliant services offer huge discounts to people on the condition they get a vehicle to a certain place at a certain time. No joke, you can rent a car sometimes for as low as $1/day! Availability is very limited though, so keep a watchful eye on the sites. Check immova and Cruise America to start with.
  • Sleep overnight in an empty lot: Though not technically legal in Oregon, people sleep in parking lots all the time. Make sure the lot is safe by asking around. Walmarts are reportedly good places to park overnight as they allow overnight parking.
  • Camp: Unless you want to fork out big bucks for a lodge, pack the car with your camping essentials . Campgrounds are way less expensive and sometimes even free.
  • Cook your own food: Eating out can be very expensive in Oregon. Cook your own food as much as possible to save – I recommend bringing a portable backpacking stove. Otherwise, have a fancy night out at a food cart.
  • Do free shit: There are lots of free things to do in Oregon! From hiking to laying on the beach to going to the local monuments; all of these things cost you nill. You can get started with this awesome guide to free activities in Portland from OregonLive. Be sure to keep your ear to the ground for all things free in Oregon.
  • Pack a travel water bottle: It’s good for your wallet and the environment.

people playing on the oregon coast roaming ralph photography

Sometimes you need a roof over your head and your own shower to clean all that grime away from camping. Luckily, there are a whole range of accommodation types in Oregon catered to all sorts of travelers.

It might be a good road trip idea in Oregon to stay at a lodge once or twice for a recharge. Sticking to a budget while not staying in a dump will still require a bit of research.

There are plenty of budget hotels and motels in Oregon but they suffer from a drab and uninspired design that is endemic to most cheap American lodging.

portland oregon at night city lights

You can check into a cheap hotel in Oregon for a night, and will often have to, but don’t expect much. At more than $60/night minimum, staying in these cheap hotels can start to feel like a waste very quickly.

Although the USA’s hostel scene is lacking outside the major backpacking destinations, you can find hostels in Oregon that are affordable and fun.

AirBnBs in Oregon are often cheaper and far more intimate than generic hotels. There are some really crazy AirBnB rentals out there as well! I’ve seen yurts, teepees, tree houses, renovated barn houses, and much more listed for rent in Oregon.

These would certainly be among the best places to stay in Oregon when visiting.

To save the most money on your road trip through Oregon, consider sticking to hostels and campgrounds. Hostels in Oregon are quirky and full of character not to mention the most affordable form of accommodation.

If you’re feeling lucky, you could also try your hand at finding a host with Couchsurfing! Lots of people use this though so competition is quite high in Oregon.

Best Places to Stay in Oregon on a Budget

Camping in oregon.

Camping is absolutely one of the best ways to sleep on a road trip through Oregon because

  • It’s cheap and…

There’s nothing better than a night outdoors with a car full of goodies, a roaring fire, and a good pint of camp whiskey. Americans love it, Oregonians especially love it, and so should you!

There are campgrounds everywhere in Oregon and in all sorts of varieties. There are standard sites, primitive sites, RV parks, glamping, something called “treetop camping” and many, many more types that just get more and more ridiculous. You can even stay the night in a fire lookout , which has to be one of the coolest places to stay in Oregon.

camping on an oregon road trip

You can use this search engine to find a campground in Oregon . Be sure to keep your eye an AirBnB as well – there are lots of interesting private camps listed.

Campgrounds in Oregon offer a range of amenities and at a range of prices. Most facilities will require a small fee to be paid, which goes toward keeping the grounds tidy and clean.

You can sometimes pay online but most of the time there will be a form at the actual site that you need complete on your own. Even though registrations from these are not always checked, please be respectful and pay the nominal fee for your stay.

If you intend on staying at a campground near of the more famous attractions in Oregon, like the Painted Hills, Smith Rock or Crater Lake, then you definitely consider reserving a space ahead, especially in the summer months. Campsites can fill up very quickly in Oregon.

If there appears to be no space leftover at your prospective campsite, there may still be walk-up sites available. Get to the grounds as early as possible to snag these spaces.

Camping in Oregon – Gear Checklist

Camping is one of the best ways to experience the USA, and Oregon has some of the finest camping in the whole country. You could sleep in your car or an RV while road tripping in Oregon, but sleeping outside under the stars is way more fun.

Having a good-quality camping tent  will keep you comfortable on those chilly nights and give you lots of flexibility when it comes to finding a place to sleep.

Here are some other essentials that we recommend if you plan on camping out…

Pacsafe belt

Travel Security Belt

This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

sea to summit towel

Microfiber Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Gifts for backpackers

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.


‘Monopoly Deal’

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Mesh Laundry Bag Nomatic

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

For plenty more inspiration on what to pack, check out my full road trip packing list .

backpacker drinking using grayl geopress filter bottle

Drink water from ANYWHERE. The Grayl Geopress is the worlds leading filtered water bottle protecting you from all manner of waterborne nasties.

Single-use plastic bottles are a MASSIVE threat to marine life. Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. Save money and the environment!

We’ve tested the Geopress  rigorously  from the icy heights of Pakistan to the tropical jungles of Bali, and can confirm: it’s the best water bottle you’ll ever buy!

Free Camping in Oregon

Those on a road trip in Oregon should totally take advantage of the many free campgrounds spread throughout the state. Note that electricity, bathrooms, and running water are not guaranteed at any of these. Also be aware that many free campgrounds in Oregon may require a 4×4 vehicle to reach.

Refer below for a list of some of our favorite free campgrounds in Oregon or this website for a complete archive of free campgrounds.

mt jefferson eastern oregon as seen from lookout mountain roaming ralph

Books to Read during your Oregon Road Trip

These are some of my favorite travel reads and books set in Oregon. Read one or two and you may have some great road trips ideas for Oregon…

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – One of Ken Kesey’s most famous novels, thanks in part to the film of the same name. Paints a picture of mental health and conformity through the lens of a man who’s just too full of life.
  • Sometimes a Great Notion – Ken Kesey is a literary demigod in Oregon and this is arguably his greatest novel. A tale of a hardheaded logging family that goes on strike, leading the town to drama and tragedy.
  • The River Why – A quintessential American coming-of-age tale, both for the protagonist and the nation the book represents. Set in Portland and the Oregon Coastal Range.
  • Night Dogs – Vietnam War vet deals with violence in the streets and in himself. An excellent if not authentic crime novel.
  • The Lathe of Heaven – A man wakes up one day to discover that his dreams can affect reality itself. A novel exploring human creation and destruction. Set in Portland, which was the ultimate home of the author, sci-fi legend Ursula K Guin.
  • Dies the Fire – All electronics are rendered useless by a magnetic storm, resulting in humanity’s return to the Dark Ages. Brutality, desperation, and sword fights in Portland follow.
  • Lonely Planet: Washington, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest – It’s sometimes worth traveling with a guidebook.

Renting a car is the most popular way of getting around Oregon. There are a myriad of car rental agencies here that offer varying deals and varying models.

To find the best rental car deal in the USA, use search engines that compare the prices from individual companies. We personally like using rentalcars.com as they’ve never failed to give us a great price.

You can also rent an RV or campervan and travel by way of vanlife , which means you don’t have to worry about packing camping gear. You will have to empty and refill the various wascampete and water tanks though, which will require a visit to the proper facilities. RVs also cost more to rent, use more gas, and demand higher prices at campgrounds.

Make sure you also purchase a RentalCover.com policy to cover your rental vehicle against any common damages such as tires, windscreens, theft, and more at a fraction of the price you would pay at the rental desk.

renting an rv in oregon roads

We suggest booking a campervan with Outdoorsy as they usually have a good selection and good prices. Better yet, Broke Backpackers also get a $40 discount with Outdoorsy! Just use the coupon code “BACKPACKER” when checking out.

The roads in Oregon are generally very good and a sedan or economy car should deliver you to most of Oregon’s top destinations. Only in the most remote portions of the state and the Cascades, will the roads be so bad that you need 4×4 or at least high clearance.

If you’re on a road trip in Oregon during the winter and want to go to the mountains, you will definitely need all-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

Tips for Saving Money on Car Rentals in the US

  • We mentioned before that you can reach out to vehicle relocation services, like immova and Cruise America , as a way of saving heaps of cash on rentals. Pursue these as best you can as they can save you a lot of money. Don’t get your hopes up too much though, as availability is always limited.
  • Car insurance isn’t always mandatory in the USA but is highly encouraged. This being said, you don’t necessarily have to buy car insurance from the company you’re renting from. Purchase a RentalCover.com policy to cover your vehicle against any common damages such as tires, windscreens, theft, and more at a fraction of the price you would pay at the rental desk.
  • Many credit card companies offer free car insurance if you book the car with the proper card. Call your credit card company for more information regarding terms and conditions.

oregon scenic drive in winter

Best Time to Visit Oregon

The best time to visit Oregon really depends on what you want to do. With lots of activities year round, you could go on a road trip in Oregon and always have something to do. Drinking beer is, of course, something that happens 365 days of the year.

There are several different climates in Oregon. Generally speaking, everything west of the Cascade Mountains is maritime e.g. there’s a lot more rain and mild temperatures. East of the Cascades is much drier and prone to extreme temperature shifts, which is a characteristic of the high desert.

Precipitation occurs almost always in the winter months regardless of location.

  • Summer is a great time to visit Oregon because the skies are almost always clear and rainfall is sporadic. There are lots of festivals during this time of the year and most Oregonians spend their free time outdoors. What little rain does fall in the summer is usually the result of occasional storms, which sometimes come in the form of thunderstorms. Thunderstorms often cause forest fires, which have become more common in recent years due to increasing summer temperatures and decreasing rainfall.
  • Spring and autumn are lovely seasons to visit Oregon but are somewhat brief. Summer usually goes into September and winter often feels very long (November-March).
  • Winters in Western Oregon are notoriously dreary as rain falls almost every day and the skies are almost always overcast. Being the tortured souls that they are, Oregonians love to be homebodies and stay warm with a beer at this time.

Luckily, the Cascades and parts of Eastern Oregon receive plenty of snowfall in the winter, giving winter athletes plenty of opportunities. In fact, Oregon has some of the best slopes on the West Coast.

portland oregon with rare snow oregon road trip roaming ralph photography

Things go wrong on the road ALL THE TIME. Be prepared for what life throws at you.

Buy an AMK Travel Medical Kit before you head out on your next adventure – don’t be daft!

Food in Oregon

Oregon is often ranked as one of the top foodie states in the country by several major publications; more often than naught, it’s #1. Thanks to a thriving farm-to-table scene and a population with a real culinary passion, Oregon has, seriously, some of the best food that you’ll ever eat.

Nearly every part of Oregon offers some amazing local product. To the east is grade-A cattle; to the west are the sublime bounties of the sea; and in the middle is the Willamette Valley, a hugely prosperous agricultural area.

When on a road trip in Oregon, there are so many ways to satiate your appetite. You can visit one of the many authentic farmers’ markets, swing by a roadside diner, book a table at a eclectic restaurant or eat at a food cart.

For those on a budget road trip in Oregon, I highly recommend eating at the small hole-in-the-wall joints and food trucks to save to money.

food carts in portland oregon sunny day

Hands down, the best food is found at the many food carts , for which Oregon is famous for. The food here is affordable, inventive, sometimes revolutionary, and always delicious.

Food carts are often labors of love, which means the food is extraordinarily cared for. If given the choice, I will always choose a food cart over a restaurant.

Like the anonymous food carts, the mom-and-pop restaurants found in bumfuck nowhere are also among the best things in Oregon. Simple as they may be in offerings, the ambiance and loving meals they provide are one of a kind.

I can think of many places that are so good they warrant road trips themselves. The gigantic burgers of Helvetia Tavern or the soothing ice cream of K & R Drive In are certainly worthy, if not sweet memories for me.

Get your Buzz On

Whether it’s because of the demand for alcohol during those depressing winter months or because the region produces some of the finest hops, grapes, and other botanicals for making beverages, makes no difference; Oregon loves to produce and consume booze in all of its forms.

Oregon makes some of the best wine, beer, and spirits in the USA and that is a fact that locals will defend with a fiery passion. (Go Pinot Noir, not California Cab.)

Agricultural epicenters like Hood River, the Willamette Valley, McMinnville, and Medford consistently produce the best booze in the state. Amongst these regions are dozens if not hundreds of wineries, distilleries, and breweries that offer countless alcoholic varieties.

Throw in the fact that many of these sites are located in gorgeous, bucolic settings and you have some of the most fun places to stay in Oregon.

If you had to choose one place to sample local wares or go party for that matter, it’d definitely be Portland. You cannot throw a rock in this city and not hit a bar; they’re simply everywhere.

taps in a growler refill store oregon beers

Nearly every type of bar as well: dives, speakeasies, country haunts, beer halls, urban wineries, clubs, and many more. Strip clubs are particularly well represented in Portland, so much so that the city actually has the highest concentration per capita in the country beating out both Orlando and Las Vegas.

No piece about getting buzzed in Oregon would be complete without talking about the marijuana, which is 100% legal in the state. Like alcohol consumption, you must simply be over a certain age (21) and only smoke it in certain places like on your property or away from businesses. You can buy weed a local dispensary , which only requires you to bring an ID and cash.

Being a Responsible Backpacker in Oregon

Remember to be a respectful camper while on your Oregon road trip. Depart from the grounds at a decent hour, follow leave no trace principles, and be very, very aware of fire bans. Forest fires are an enormous problem in Oregon and are often caused by reckless campers.

Oregonians are also very conscious of the environment and like to take care of it, as should you.

Reduce your plastic footprint: Perhaps the best thing you can do for our planet is to make sure you do NOT add to the plastic problem all over the world. Don’t buy one-use water bottles, the plastic ends up in a landfill or in the ocean.

I know it can be hard, but do your best to use the least amount of plastic water bottles that you can. Refill the ones that you do buy! Use a Grayl Geopress . Refill at your hostel/guest house! There are plenty of ways to reduce plastic!!!

Pack a  tough and cool travel water bottle . You’ll use it every single day whether you are traveling or not! Help save the planet, and pick up a water bottle here.

Check out our post on how to be a responsible backpacker.

forest fire in oregon

Make Money Online Whilst Traveling in Oregon

Want to stay in the USA longer? Worried that you don’t have enough cash for a longer Oregon road trip? One idea is to make money while traveling!

Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income—from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. Depending on your qualifications (or your motivation to obtain qualifications like a TEFL certificate) you can teach English remotely from your laptop, save some cash for your next adventure, and make a positive impact on the world by improving another person’s language skills!

It’s a win-win! Check out this detailed article for everything you need to know to start  teaching English online .

In addition to giving you the qualifications to teach English online, TEFL courses open up a huge range of opportunities and you can find teaching work all over the world. To find out more about TEFL courses and how you can teach English around the world, read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad .

Broke Backpacker readers get a 50% discount on TEFL courses with MyTEFL (simply enter the code PACK50), to find out more, please read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.

Whether you are keen to teach English online or looking to take your teaching game a step further by finding a job teaching English in a foreign country, getting your TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction.

sunset over mt jefferson from timberline lodge oregon roaming ralph

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I came upon this site searching for travel points,budgeting, anything Oregon and you hit it right on the button. This is the best well written and organized site I’ve read. I bookmarked it. Thank you so much.

Stumbled upon your awesome Oregon site while looking for things to see here in the great state of Oregon when the COVID-19 quarantine is lifted. I’ve only lived here for four years, but have been coming here all my life to visit family, so I’m familiar with a lot of the state. Thank you for such a comprehensive and thorough site about travel in Oregon.

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road trip conditions oregon

The Complete Oregon Road Trip Itinerary (50 Stops & 4 Unique Routes!)

Post Summary: The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip Itinerary According To A PNW Local

Oregon. That magical spot in the corner of the United States where roaring waterfalls, epic coastlines, and mysteries in the forest all thrive next to each other. 

It’s an incredible place that requires the guidance of PNW experts (that’s us!) to divulge all the best stops in the state. We’ve been exploring Oregon for years , so you can count on us to provide well-rounded tips to give you the best experience!

In this post, we’re sharing the most epic Oregon road trip route , including our favorite stops and custom trips of 2-weeks, 10-days, and 1-week to cater to your specific needs. Scroll all the way to the bottom to find a free Oregon road trip itinerary download , too!

Okay, enough talking, let’s get exploring!

road trip conditions oregon

The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip Itinerary (Exactly Where To Find The Best Spots!)

First of all, where is oregon.

Oregon is located in a region called the Pacific Northwest , which is located in the northwest corner of the contiguous United States.

Fixed between its northern neighbor, Washington , and its southern neighbor, Northern California , Oregon is a unique mix of giant redwood trees, raging waterfalls, high desert, and beautiful coastal wilderness.

It’s got a little bit of everything , which is why taking an Oregon road trip will probably be the most incredible thing you will do this year!

Here’s a little bit about Oregon to start…

Oregon is broken down into seven distinct regions, each with its own unique spin on Oregon culture and iconic destinations . Here’s a breakdown of what you might expect from each:

  • The Oregon Coast: 363 miles of accessible beaches, historic lighthouses, sea stacks, and gorgeous little Oregon beach towns . 
  • Central Oregon: A High Desert escape including popular spots like Sisters, Bend, and Smith Rock State Park . 
  • Eastern Oregon : Lonely vast desert with incredible geological features scattered across the area. Known for the Alvord Desert, Pendleton, and the Painted Hills. 
  • Portland Region: The urban center for creatives, makers, and foodies. Known for its epic food culture, bridges, and accessibility to nature.
  • Mt. Hood & The Columbia River Gorge: Home to the highest mountain in Oregon (Mt Hood), and some of the most famous Oregon waterfalls like Multnomah Falls. 
  • Southern Oregon: Home to Crater Lake National Park, this region also boasts adventurous caves, gorgeous forests, and hidden hot springs (Umpqua Hot Springs). 
  • The Willamette Valley: Known for its amazing wine, tulips, and orchards, this farming community is a hub for a perfect weekend getaway.

road trip conditions oregon

Great…So Where Do I Start My Oregon Road Trip?

The easiest place to start your Oregon road trip is in Portland . This is the biggest city, where you will find the most options for car rentals, flights into the state ( Portland International Airport – PDX ), and stores to pick up any last-minute supplies.

Our Oregon road trip itinerary has you starting in Portland and heading east, but you can always fit the route to suit your own needs and desires! Keep scrolling to see all the stops so you can make your decision.

How Do I Get Around On My Oregon Road Trip?

Emily Mandagie driving the Oregon Coast Highway 101

The easiest way to get around on an Oregon trip is to drive in a car . It’s unreasonable to believe that you can fly from place to place. The biggest major airport is in Portland (PDX) and the rest are smaller local airports.

It’s easiest to get around Oregon in a car , and we highly suggest this mode of transportation! If you are hoping to do some camping along the way, we recommend checking out the company Outdoorsy to rent a campervan . It’s like having your transportation AND accommodations all in one place.

Outdoorsy does local recreational vehicle rentals (kind of like Airbnb but for cars!) so you can travel around Oregon in style with a cool vintage VW bus or cute teardrop trailer!

road trip conditions oregon

Where Do I Stay During My Oregon Road Trip?

The good thing about Oregon road trips is that they are completely customizable! You can stay at some of the coolest lodges and hotels in Oregon, explore backcountry roads for camping, or do a little mix of both!

Finding Epic Campsites in Oregon: There are so many amazing campsites in Oregon that the topic requires its own blog post! However, one of our most coveted tools for finding the best camping spots is through The Dyrt . The Dyrt is a campground finding app , and one of the best ones we’ve used! It’s got great reviews with photos, offline maps, road trip routing tools, and more! Our readers get to try it free for 30-days by using our code Mandagies !

Our favorite lodges & resorts in Oregon: Some amazing accommodations stand out among the others, and we think that some of these places deserve their own recognition! Here are some of our favorite lodges in Oregon that we recommend checking out!

FivePine Lodge – Sisters, OR (Central) Bay Point Landing – Coos Bay, OR (Southern Coast) Headlands Lodge – Pacific City, OR (Northern Coast) The Independence Hotel – Willamette Valley (Northwest/Central ORegon)

road trip conditions oregon

The Mega Oregon Road Trip Itinerary (All The Best Stop In Oregon)

This two week Oregon road trip will bring you to all the best spots!

Stop 1: Portland, Oregon

Before departing the city, spend some time visiting Portland’s coolest locations! Some of the most popular outdoor places to visit in the city include the Portland Rose Garden, Washington Park, the Pittock Mansion (with its view of the city!), and Forest Park.

Grab a bite to eat at one of the several food truck communities around town. Click here to locate all the food truck pods around Portland!

From here, make sure to stock up with snacks at your favorite grocery store, fill up with gas, and hit the road!

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 2: Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway

Begin your Oregon road trip in Portland and head to Interstate 84 East to start your Columbia River Gorge Scenic Drive . This is a great start to any Oregon road trip itinerary for its iconic stops like Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. 

If you want to go hiking in this area, consider Wahclella Falls Trail (only 1.9-miles long) or Munra Point Trail for incredible panoramic views.

To spend more time checking out cool waterfalls in Oregon , consider taking the Historic Columbia River Highway (that parallels I-84), which provides easy access to many of them. Don’t forget to drive a little farther than Hood River to check out Rowena Crest , that famous hairpin road!

Note: The Eagle Creek Fire of 2017 devastated much of this area, and hikes/waterfall trails are slowly opening after restoration efforts. Click here to be updated on real-time trail openings in the Columbia River Gorge . 

Extra Stops Between Portland and Hood River:

  • Vista House – A museum, observatory, and rest stop
  • Bridge of the Gods – Many of the Pacific Crest Trail Hikers cross here!
  • Beacon Rock State Park (on the Washington side)
  • More than 25 Columbia River Gorge waterfalls to see!

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 3: Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon is the perfect place to stay after a day of planning fun things to do in the Columbia River Gorge ! Placed conveniently on the river’s edge, there is easy access to Mount Hood directly south, water activities like windsurfing , and Washington waterfalls right across the river in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest to the north.

If you want a little more adventure, consider crossing the toll bridge ($2) to Washington and venturing on nearby trails to Falls Creek Falls , Panther Creek Falls, or Lower Lewis Falls.

Cool Places To Stay in Hood River, Oregon

Modern Townhome in White Salmon, WA (just across the river) MtAdamsView in Hood River (TONS of gorge and mountain views, sleeps 6) Best Western Plus in Hood River (great value, free breakfast)

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 4: Mount Hood

Route your Oregon road trip from the river’s edge to the mountains, more specifically to all the cool things to do in Mount Hood !

Watch a sunrise at  Trillium Lake – one of the easiest lakes to reach on Mount Hood. On a clear day, you will be able to see the reflection of the picturesque Mount Hood beautifully framed in the distance! Other Mount Hood lakes include Frog Lake,  Lost Lake,  and  Mirror Lake –  each with their own unique reflection of the mountain. 

If you are interested in discovering some cool hiking trails around Mout Hood, consider  Ramona Falls trail. This gorgeous horsetail falls is hidden deep in the forest, but the payoff is huge once you see it with your own eyes. Care for a short waterfall hike for your Portland day trip? Consider  Tamanawas Falls , an easy 3.3-mile trail with a gorgeous view!

Want to challenge yourself? Here are some other longer hikes in the Mount Hood area.

  • Tom Dick and Harry  (9 miles out and back)
  • Bald Mountain  (6 miles out and back)
  • McNeil Point Trail  (9.6 miles out and back)

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 5: The Painted Hills

After stopping at Mount Hood (overnight or just for a day trip) take the 3.5-hour drive from Mount Hood to the Painted Hills to catch a gorgeous sunset in the Oregon desert. 

The Painted Hills gets its name from the exposed layers of colorful soil that are revealed in the rolling hills of the John Day Fossil Beds . Make sure to stay on the boardwalks as you explore the Painted Hills. The hills are extremely fragile!

In the morning, return to the John Day Fossil Bed units and see the Painted Hills as the sun rises! This is a gorgeous time of day in the hills, and you’ll likely get it all to yourself in the early hours of the morning. 

Need a place to sleep? Consider these nearby campgrounds (or click here to discover FREE campsites nearby too! )

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 6: Smith Rock State Park

From the Painted Hills through the Ochoco National Forest , take the 1.5-hour drive to Smith Rock State Park . Smith Rock is a hub for climbers , but there are several other things to do here, including hiking, biking, and taking photos!

To stretch your legs on this Oregon road trip, take the short but *very* steep Misery Ridge Trail . This 0.68-mile trail climbs 600 feet giving even the most experienced hiker a run for their money! The views at the top are worth it though, especially during sunrise or sunset!

Emily Mandagie biking in Sisters, Oregon - TheMandagies.com

Stop 7: Bend, Oregon

The city of Bend is an excellent stop on any good Oregon road trip! It’s an outdoor-loving town that connects Western Oregon and Eastern Oregon, making it a great pit stop to pick up last-minute gear, groceries, and maybe even tune ups for your car.

For a little relaxation from the road, grab a beer in town at any of the iconic stops on the Bend Ale Trail . If you are visiting in the summertime, floating the Deschutes River is a popular activity on a hot day. Make sure to bring your PFDs, water sandals, and a garbage bag!

In the morning, grab breakfast in Bend at The Sparrow Bakery, (their ocean rolls are famous!), and some to-go coffee at Spoken Moto and make some fun stops around Bend on your way south. Lava Island Falls and Lava River Cave are both easy and accessible places to see along your Oregon road trip route going out of town.

More adventures near Bend, Oregon

  • Hiking to Tumalo Falls (6.5 miles out-and-back)
  • Go backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Take a road trip detour on the Cascades Lake Highway

Read More: How to Spend 4 Days In Bend, Oregon

Eastern Oregon Road Trip Route - Leslie Gulch Stop

Oregon Road Trip Bonus Route – Eastern Oregon!

Psst…want to spend a lot more time in Eastern Oregon? Check out our Eastern Oregon Road Trip route right here !

From Bend, you have the option of extending your Oregon Road trip going east , or continue south and west towards the coast! Either option is great, it really just depends on how much time you have.

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 8: Oregon Waterfalls

The drive from Bend to Crater Lake National Park is pretty short, about 1.5 hours. This gives you plenty of time to make some fun stops along the way , most notably, to waterfalls in Oregon !

For longer Oregon waterfall hikes, make your way west on Highway 58 for a fun hike at Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls . Continue your drive south and divert north on Highway 138 for a stop at Watson Falls before making your way to the Crater Lake North Entrance. 

More Oregon Waterfalls Near The Area:

  • Proxy Falls (Highway 242 – North of Bend)
  • Chush Falls (Near Sisters, Oregon)
  • Dillon Falls
  • Benham Falls

Stop 9: Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is one of the most iconic stops on an Oregon road trip, and the ONLY national park stop in the state. Spend sunset capturing the iconic Wizard Island on Crater Lake, and top it off by spending the night at the historic Crater Lake Lodge .

In the morning, spend an entire day hiking around Crater Lake on Watchman Peak Trail, Cleetwood Cove Trail, or Cloudcap Overlook.

At Crater Lake , you can spend the morning driving the Rim Drive , which takes about 2 hours to go all the way around. Hike to Plaikni Falls in the afternoon and in the evening watch the sunset at Garfield Peak or Sinnott Memorial Observation Station.

Emily Mandagie sitting in Hart Mountain Hot Springs in Eastern Oregon

Bonus Oregon Road Trip Stop: Oregon Hot Springs

Now, this is the part of your road trip route in Oregon where you can choose where you’d like to spend your time! You can opt to continue driving east to explore some of the famous Eastern Oregon hot springs . 

If you decided to check out some hot springs in Oregon , we highly suggest booking an overnight stay (Summer Lakes Hot Springs and Crystal Crane have lodging available!) or bringing your camping gear to find some free camping nearby . 

Here are some Oregon hot springs you should be checking out on this leg of your Oregon road trip itinerary:

  • Crystal Crane Hot Springs – Hot spring pond and private soaking tubs
  • Summer Lakes Hot Springs – Communal bathhouse
  • Hart Mountain Hot Springs – Structured underground pool and open springs, both natural
  • Have an extra day? Drive farther east and check out Alvord Hot Springs , and Willow Creek Hot Springs !

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Stop 10: Umpqua National Forest

Another iconic destination on your Oregon road trip is an adventure in Umpqua National Forest . You’ve probably seen pictures of those cliffside hot springs pools, or the rushing waterfall flanked by towering basalt cliffs. Well, these places are Umpqua Hot Springs and Toketee Falls !

Both places are easy to reach, each with a short hike to the final destination. Come with a national forest pass to hang in your car’s rearview mirror. You can pick one up at the Diamond Lake Ranger Station nearby if you need one. See the difference between Pacific Northwest forest passes here to find the correct one.

Leave No Trace Notes: Umpqua Hot Springs is notorious for garbage . Please pack out your trash, and consider taking other garbage with you, too. Hiking to the base of Toketee Falls is prohibited , no matter how many pictures you see of people doing so. It is possible to get cited for climbing down to the bottom, so don’t risk it!

Best Beaches on the Southern Oregon Coast - Natural Bridges

Stop 11: Southern Oregon Coast

Finally, the first ocean stop on your Oregon road trip!

The Southern Oregon Coast is arguably the most beautiful area of an Oregon road trip. If you love seaside cliffs, hidden coves, and gorgeous beaches, this is the place for you!

Spend some time exploring the 12 miles of protected coastline at Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor . This part of your road trip in Oregon will take an entire day, between stops, viewpoints, and even a hike to a place called Secret Beach .

Finally, end your day in Gold Beach for the evening. Here, you can find tons of amenities, hotels, and beach rentals for a quiet and relaxing evening. Make sure to stop at our favorite beach, Myers Creek Beach to enjoy a beautiful Oregon coast picnic to end the day!

Read More: The 25 best beaches in Oregon (From North to South!)

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Stop 12: Central Oregon Coast

Central Oregon is full of adventurous destinations and unique curiosities. If you like thrills, try renting an ATV to ride across the Oregon Dunes, stretching 40 miles across the coastline.

You can also check out incredible places like Cape Perpetua , which is filled with churning coves, sea spouts, and lots of tide pools along the Oregon Coast .

Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area is another great place to explore, with a giant sea cave and surfing opportunities!

In the evening, splurge to go glamping and one of Coos Bay’s coolest spots – Bay Point Landing ! This luxury camping resort has plenty of pull-in sites for RVs and trailers. You can also rent a standalone cabin , airstream , or renovated RV of your own to enjoy upscale camping. The grounds have amenities like a pool, lounge room, upscale bathrooms, and a cute camp store.

Downtown Eugene 20x21 Mural Project - TheMandagies.com

Stop 13: Eugene, Oregon

If you wanted to go inland to explore the Cascade Mountains, this is the part of your Oregon road trip to make that decision! Drive away from the Oregon coast to go inland to Eugene, Oregon, and explore this upbeat college town.

But before leaving the coast, consider stopping by Heceta Head Lighthouse and Cape Perpetua for one last adventure by the water. The lighthouse can be seen up close with a short hike, which is incredible at sunrise and sunset!

Cape Perpetua is best explored during low tide, where you can access the many tide pools and curiosities that dot the shore. If you do come during high tide, don’t fret! You can see the waves push up through Thor’s Well for a dramatic display, and the Devil’s Churn to watch the waves crash around this small cove. 

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 14: Willamette National Forest

Heading inland from Eugene, there are a ton of beautiful places to see in the Willamette National Forest . The first stop is Terwilliger Hot Springs (often called Cougar Hot Springs) for a lovely natural soak. Keep driving to choose a waterfall adventure – Proxy Falls , Sahalie and Koosah Falls , The Blue Pool , and Tamolitch Falls .

You’ll want to spend at least a full day in this area (or even go camping overnight!) because the trails here are packed with adventure! Keep driving on Highway 126 as it continues on Highway 22 north to Silver Falls State Park and Salem, Oregon to continue on your epic Oregon road trip.

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 15: Salem and The Willamette Valley

If you like good food, you’re going to love this stop on your Oregon road trip. The Willamette Valley is full of wineries, farms, and beautiful vineyards! There are lots of options to enjoy farm-to-table dinners, wine tastings, and all-day experiences. Consider staying nearby at the Independence Hotel .

For a little adventure, head to Silver Falls State Park where you can hike the Trail of Ten Falls . This Oregon hike is exactly what its name entails – ten beautiful falls in an 8.7-mile trail. Come enjoy this condensed version of many iconic Oregon waterfalls all in one place!

road trip conditions oregon

Stop 16: Northern Oregon Coast

Refueling in Salem, it’s time to get back to the coast! The final stops on your Oregon road trip include classic North Oregon Coast stops and beautiful Oregon beach towns , hikes, and plenty of dreamy overlooks.

Beginning in Cape Kiwanda , spend the day hiking up the sand dunes to watch the dory boats dock onshore and paragliders sail down to the beach. Make sure to stop and eat lunch at Pelican Brewing . They have incredible beer and pub food, with an outdoor patio overlooking Pacific City’s own Haystack Rock.

Continuing north to another iconic “Haystack Rock” (arguably the most popular one too) Cannon Beach is the best place to grab a coffee and take a walk along the beach. During low tide, you can get close to the rock and spot puffins in their natural habitat!

road trip conditions oregon

If you want a little more adventure in your day, drive up to Ecola State Park to hike Crescent Beach Trail , the trail to Indian Sands, or Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint. These lush Oregon Coast hikes are sure to leave you breathless!

Stay either at the Headlands Lodge in Pacific City , Oregon Coast Modern Cabin in Manzanita , or affordable hotels in Cannon Beach !

Peter Iredale Shipwrek at Fort Stevens State Park

Stop 17: Finish Your Oregon Road Trip Back to Portland, Oregon 

On your way back to Portland to finish your Oregon road trip, you can take the short way on Highway 26, or the long way through Astoria, Oregon, and heading back to the city on Highway 30.

The detour through Astoria won’t disappoint! Filled with great restaurants, antique and vintage shops, and lots of history, it’s a perfect final stop on the Oregon coast road trip section of your drive.

For outdoorsy activities, stop by Fort Steven’s State Park to check out the historic military installation, as well as the famous Peter Iredale shipwreck . For hiking, stay close to town and check out the Cathedral Tree Trail and the Astoria Column .

And you’ve done it! You’ve completed the coolest Oregon road trip to see all the best highlights, hikes, and iconic locations in the state.

road trip conditions oregon

Oregon Road Trip Itinerary Examples

Below, we’re sharing some Oregon road trip itinerary examples to help you customize it exactly to fit your needs. For even more resources, we created this road trip itinerary in Oregon to print out and take on your journey!

(We’re running some email maintenance – this download will be back soon!)

Two Week Oregon Road Trip

See the detailed breakdown of our two-week Oregon road trip itinerary above!

10 Day Oregon Road Trip

You can see a lot with 10 days in Oregon! This route is a compressed version of our two-week road trip, with just a little less time in each spot but plenty of stops for an epic and interesting route!

  • Day 1: Portland to Hood River
  • Day 2: Hood River to Bend, Oregon
  • Day 3: Bend, Oregon to Crater Lake National Park
  • Day 4: Crater Lake to Umpqua National Forest
  • Day 5: Umpqua National Forest to Samuel H. Boardman
  • Day 6: Samuel H. Boardman to Coos Bay
  • Day 7: Coos Bay to Eugene, Oregon
  • Day 8: Eugene, Oregon to Salem, Oregon
  • Day 9: Salem, Oregon to Cannon Beach
  • Day 10: Cannon Beach to Portland, Oregon

One Week Oregon Road Trip

One week for an Oregon road trip will introduce you to Oregon’s vast and diverse landscape! From Crater Lake to Bend, Coos Bay to Cannon Beach, this route will bring you to some of the best of Oregon photography locations. 

  • Day 1: Portland to Hood River
  • Day 2: Hood River to Bend, Oregon
  • Day 3: Bend, Oregon to Crater Lake National Park
  • Day 4: Crater Lake to Samuel H. Boardman
  • Day 5: Samuel H. Boardman to Coos Bay
  • Day 6: Coos Bay to Cannon Beach
  • Day 7: Cannon Beach to Portland, OR

5 Day Oregon Road Trip

With 5 days in Oregon, you can see the highlights! This quick trip averages about 3-4 hours of driving per day, and takes you through mountains, by waterfalls, and meets up with some of the most scenic views along the Oregon Coast.

  • Day 1: Portland to Bend
  • Day 2: Bend to Eugene
  • Day 3: Eugene to Samuel H. Boardman
  • Day 4: Samuel H. Boardman to Yachats
  • Day 5: Yachats to Portland

Have you ever experienced an Oregon road trip? What Oregon itinerary is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!

road trip conditions oregon

Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.

I’m really glad you liked our Oregon road trip route! I hope you et a change to travel across this beautiful state!

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ODOT crews reopen Highway 101 on Oregon coast after landslide forces closure for several hours

Landslide closed US Highway 101 on Oregon coast early Monday morning.

MANZANITA, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A landslide closed U.S. Highway 101 early Monday morning for several hours but it was fully open again by the noon hour, ODOT reported.

The slide occurred about two miles north of Manzanita, at the south end of Oswald West State Park.

One lane was open by mid-morning as crews worked to clear debris, allowing traffic in both directions using flaggers.

Once fully reopened, ODOT said it would continue to monitor the site and could need to close a lane occasionally for further maintenance.

Motorists were warned to slow down and watch out for road crews.

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    The TripCheck website provides roadside camera images and detailed information about Oregon road traffic congestion, incidents, weather conditions, services and commercial vehicle restrictions and registration.

  2. Statewide Oregon Road Conditions

    Statewide Oregon Road Conditions. Highways with no adverse conditions do not show up on this report. ... MP 40.64 (Eagle Creek Bridge - Richland) Effective October 20, 2016, all single-trip permit holders over continuous trip permit weights must stop all traffic, straddle centerline, and be the only vehicle on bridge when crossing. Last Updated

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