The Ultimate Oregon Bucket List – Best Things to Do in Oregon

The Ultimate Oregon Bucket List – Best Things to Do in Oregon

We’re currently homeless! Well, sort of. We’re spending time with some friends and family in Atlanta while transitioning between Portland and NYC. We just put our application in for an apartment!

When we lived in Portland, we wanted to use it as a home base to explore all of the PNW. It turned out that there was so much to see in Oregon, that we spent most our time in the state. We still left so much unexplored! That just means we have plenty to look forward to when we go back to visit.

The Ultimate Oregon Bucket List in Regions - Greater Portland, the Gorge, Oregon Coast, Willamette Valley, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon // localadventurer.com

A big thank you to Travel Oregon for partnering with us on many of these trips. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Aug 7, 2018     First Published: Oct 24, 2017

THE ULTIMATE OREGON BUCKET LIST

There were over a thousand places in Oregon we wanted to explore, including all the waterfallsstate parks, mountains, lakes, breweries, etc. For the sake of making this post easier to digest, this is condensed checklist of 101 things to do divided by region. You can click the links for more info on each destination or region.

GREATER PORTLAND

  1. International Rose Test Garden (best to visit in June)
  2. ☐ Pittock Mansion, Portland – best view of the city IMO
  3. ☐ Powell’s Books
  4. ☐ Tom McCall Waterfront Park (for Cherry Blossom season)
  5.  Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival (Mar-May – dates vary each year)

More: 101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon

Pittock Mansion View - The Ultimate Oregon Bucket List // localadventurer.com

THE GORGE (COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE)

  1. ☐ Drive the Historic Columbia River Highway – 22 miles of waterfalls and lush forests
  2. ☐ Angels Rest
  3. ☐ Elowah Falls Hike + Continue to Munra Point Hike
  4. ☐ Eagle Creek Trail
  5. ☐ Latourell Falls
  6. ☐ Oneonta GorgeTriple Falls Hike
  7. ☐ Multnomah Falls – really crowded with tourists but still worth one visit.
  8. ☐ Rowena Crest Viewpoint + Hikes
  9. ☐ Tom McCall Point Hike / Rowena Crest Trailhead 
  10. ☐ Vista House
  11. ☐ Wahclella Falls
  12. ☐ Dog Mountain Hike, Washington side (best in spring)

More: 21 Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge

Wahclella Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon Waterfalls + The Ultimate Oregon Bucket List // localadventurer.comMunra Point Hike, Columbia River Gorge + Your Essential Oregon Bucket List // localadventurer.com

NOTE: Some of the Gorge is still closed due to the Eagle Creek Fire damage.

MOUNT HOOD

  1. ☐ Bald Mountain Hike (2.0 mi RT, 550 ft, easy)
  2. ☐ Hood River Fruit Loop
  3. ☐ Hood River Lavender Farm or Lavender Valley Lavender Farm
  4. ☐ Mirror Lake
  5. ☐ Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort
  6. ☐ Ramona Falls, Mt Hood National Forest
  7. ☐ Timberline Lodge – famous for being in the Shining.
  8. ☐ Timberline Trail – Most popular backpacking trail around Hood.
  9. ☐ Trillium Lake, Mt Hood National Forest – popular snowshoe spot in winter

More: 15 Best Wildflower Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

Trillium Lake, Mt Hood National Forest + All the Best Places to Visit in Oregon // localadventurer.com

OREGON COAST

  1. ☐ Astoria
  2. ☐ Bandon – Wizard Hat, Howling Dog, and more
  3. ☐ Cannon Beach + Haystack Rock
  4. ☐ Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area + Haystack Rock 2
  5. ☐ Cape Lookout State Park
  6. ☐ Drift Creek Falls Hike
  7. ☐ Ecola State Park – hike to the beach
  8. ☐ Face Rock State Scenic Park (can see Haystack Rock 3 in a distance)
  9. ☐ Florence Sand Rail Tour
  10. ☐ Gold Beach – Shark Fin Rock
  11. ☐ Harris Beach State Park
  12. ☐ Heceta Head Light
  13. ☐ Kentucky Falls, Siuslaw National Forest
  14. ☐ Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks
  15. ☐ Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area: Try Sandboarding
  16. ☐ Oswald West State Park
  17. ☐ Samuel H Boardman State Park
  18. ☐ Sea Lion Caves – Largest sea cave in the US
  19. ☐ Sweet Creek Falls, Siuslaw National Forest
  20. ☐ Thor’s Well in Cape Perpetua
  21. ☐ Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site
  22. ☐ Yaquina Head Light – lots of great tide-pooling

More: All the Best Stops Along the Oregon Coast

Thor's Well, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area + Your Ultimate Oregon Bucket List // localadventurer.comHaystack Rock, Cannon Beach + All the Best Places to Visit in Oregon // localadventurer.com

CENTRAL OREGON

  1. ☐ Bend – stop by Crux Brewery
  2. ☐ Cascade Lakes Scenic Highway (66 mi, 3-5 hours, Jun-Oct)
  3. ☐ Chush Falls Hike, Three Sisters Wilderness (5 mi, easy)
  4. ☐ Lost Lake – the lake that disappears every year
  5. ☐ Mount Bachelor – ski area
  6. ☐ Sahalie Falls + Koosah Falls
  7. ☐ Skylight Cave, Three Sisters Wilderness
  8. ☐ Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne
  9. ☐ Sisters Loop Hike
  10. ☐ South Sister Summit Hike
  11. ☐ Sparks Lake, Deschutes National Forest
  12. ☐ Steelhead Falls, Terrebonne – swimming hole and cliff jumping
  13. ☐ Richardsons Rock Ranch – authentic experience digging for thunder eggs.
  14. ☐ Tumalo Falls, Deschutes National Forest
  15. ☐ White River Falls State Park
  16. ☐ Whychus Creek Falls, Deschutes National Forest

More: 7 Amazing Things to Do at Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park + Your Essential Guide to Oregon // localadventurer.com

WILLAMETTE VALLEY

  1. ☐ Enchanted Forest Theme Park
  2. ☐ Silver Falls State Park, Trail of Ten Falls
  3. ☐ Abiqua Falls – you need a 4 wheel drive with high clearance
  4. ☐ Breitenbush Hot Springs
  5. ☐ Cougar Hot Springs / Terwilliger Hot Springs
  6. ☐ Diamond Creek Falls, Willamette National Forest
  7. ☐ Opal Creek, Willamette National Forest
  8. ☐ Proxy Falls, Willamette National Forest
  9. ☐ Salt Creek Falls, Willamette National Forest
  10. ☐ Sweet Creek Falls
  11. ☐ Tamolitch Blue Pool, Willamette National Forest
  12. ☐ Trestle Creek Falls, Umpqua National Forest
  13. ☐ Tamolitch Blue Pool, Willamette National Forest
  14. ☐ Waldo Lake
  15. ☐ Willamette Valley Wine Tour

North Falls, Trail of Ten Falls Hike, Silver Falls State Park + Your Ultimate Oregon Bucket List // localadventurer.com

EASTERN OREGON

  1. ☐ Alvord Dessert
  2. ☐ Cottonwood Canyon State Park – Oregon’s largest state park.
  3. ☐ Eagle Cap Summit, Wallowas (19 mi RT, 4000 ft, difficult)
  4. ☐ Glacier Lake, Wallowas
  5. ☐ John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (includes Painted Hills)
  6. ☐ Wallowa Lake, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
  7. ☐ Ice Falls + Ice Lake, Wallowas
  8. ☐ Leslie Gulch, Jordan Valley
  9. ☐ Steens Mountain Wilderness
  10. ☐ Succor Creek State Natural Area
  11. ☐ Thorp Creek Hike, Wallowas (9.9 mi RT, 2830 ft, moderate)
  12. ☐ Hells Canyon Overlook
  13. Boardman Tree Farm
  14. ☐ Pendleton
  15. ☐ National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

More: Your Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping in Eastern Oregon

Hells Canyon + All the Best Places to Visit in Oregon // localadventurer.comJohn Day Fossil Beds Painted Hills Unit + Your Essential Guide to Oregon // localadventurer.com

SOUTHERN OREGON

  1. ☐ Crater Lake National Park + Mount Mazama
  2. ☐ Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
  3. ☐ Hike / Raft Rogue River
  4. ☐ Summer Lake Hot Springs
  5. ☐ Tate Creek Slide, Rogue River
  6. ☐ Toketee Falls
  7. ☐ Umpqua Hot Springs

More: Top Things to Do at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park and Mount Mazama + The Best Things to Do in Oregon // localadventurer.com

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS

  • Before your trip, visit TripCheck to see weather conditions and make sure roads are open.  Each region has very different climates and road conditions. Be sure to do some research to find the best times to visit each area. In high elevations, roads may be closed until late summer. Certain parts of the state are more developed than others. Check road conditions to see if you need a four-wheel drive and high clearance vehicle. In Eastern Oregon, for example, you will run into more dirt/gravel roads.
  • Waterfalls are gushing in the winter, but you also get the rainiest weather. If you go in early summer you can get decent weather and the waterfalls aren’t dried up to a trickle compared to late summer.
  • We always recommend being prepared with layers (especially a rain jacket) and waterproof shoes that give you support (HERS + HIS).
  • Pick up an Oregon State Park Pass, NW Forest PassAmerica the Beautiful Pass to save money when visiting all the parks.
  • Our go-to camera set up: Canon 5D Mark III + 35mm + 70-200mm

Have you visited Oregon? What’s at the top of your list?

Did you enjoy this post? Pin it for later

The Ultimate Oregon Bucket List in Regions - Greater Portland, the Gorge, Oregon Coast, Willamette Valley, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon // Local Adventurer #oregon #traveloregon #usa #pnw #pacificnorthwest #travel #bucketlist
Your Essential Oregon Bucket List - All the Best Places to Visit in Oregon State // Local Adventurer #traveloregon #oregon #pnw #pacificnorthwest #uppeerleftcoast #usa #visittheusa
All the Best Places to Visit in Oregon divided into Greater Portland, the Gorge, Oregon Coast, Willamette Valley, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon // localadventurer.com

“Meet

ESTHER + JACOB

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Portland Oregon.

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Thank you. We are preparing for a move to Oregon and I love having this list.
    The first few months, after a move, can be trying, so it will be awesome to have a weekly adventure to look forward to.
    We are very excited, we just need to get there!!!

    1. Where in Oregon are you moving to? :) If it’s Portland, we wrote a post back in the day about the pros and cons of living there if you want to check it out – http://localadventurer.com/living-in-portland-oregon/ If you’re not from the PNW, though, really prep yourself for the gloomy weather. I highly recommend those sun lamps.

  2. Great list. I lived in Port Orchard WA for a while and we used to go to the Portland area every year to see the falls. One of my favorite places was Grants Pass. Very peaceful and beautiful town and they have air jet river cruises. My kids loved to go on those. We saw beaver dams and lots of beautiful places along the river.

    Thanks for sharing this list.

  3. Woowww!!! Definitely I love your webpage, blog, photos… everything. I live in Salem, OR. My family and I always are looking for places to discover and now we have an excellent list. Congratulations guys and thank you. Keep traveling and sharing, maybe some day we match somewhere.

  4. I LOVE Oregon, and have the good fortune to have friends living there. Thanks to them, I saw many of the places you mention including the lighthouses, Columbia River Gorge, the Painted Hills, Crater Lake, etc.,etc.
    Camping, hiking, fishing – I can’t get enough of it. As many times as I’ve been there, I see something new every visit.

  5. This is the best Oregon bucket list I’ve found! You should turn this into a printable so others can check theirs off. I moved to Oregon almost 2 years ago from Florida and couldn’t be happier, although our family spent the first seven months in a tent due to the housing crisis. Still, best decision we ever made.

    I live in Sisters. and I’m pretty sure Chush Falls and Whychus Creek Falls are the same hike. And Skylight Cave is pretty awesome. I discovered that by accident one day. There are SO many incredible places in this state, it would take a lifetime to see them all. I have no reason to leave.

    Thanks for having an awesome blog. :)

    1. Thank you, Mandee! I’ll start working on that printable. That’s a good idea. :) Sisters is such a pretty area. I know that Chush Falls goes along Whychus Creek. Is it the same waterfall though? There are so many waterfalls to keep up with in Oregon. haha One of the reasons that you can explore forever!

      1. I did a little research just to make sure, they’re the same waterfall. However, there is a second one on Whychus Creek called Logjam Falls. I haven’t seen that one yet, but Chush Falls is incredible, and there are two on that particular hike, an upper and lower. Let me know when you get the printable together! :)

    1. I hope you get to visit! :) It’s a beautiful state.

  6. My best friend lives in Portland, so I visit once a year or so. I absolutely LOVE the Oregon Coast and visiting Lewis & Clark was one my favorite adventures to date. That, and all the waterfalls. And the trees. Oregon has great trees.

    1. We love the coast and the waterfalls too. We definitely miss the trees.

  7. It’s such a huge shame about the eagle creek fire! i heard about it in the UK and the damage seems awful. I would love to visit Oregon sometime, it looks so peaceful.

    Abigail Alice x

    1. It really is a shame. I know a lot of people are upset about it. Trying to look on the bright side. Fires can be good for new growth, though, so hopefully in the long loooooong run, it will be even better. I hope you come visit. I think the area should open up by summer.

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