9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America

9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America

Iceland has blown up over the past 5 years, partly due to social media and partly due to the amazing deals on flights. Who has done a stopover on the way to Europe? Seems like everyone and their mom have either been to Iceland or it’s at the top of their travel wish list.

When we think back to all the adventures we’ve had in Oregon, there were dozens of times we said to ourselves “this looks just like Iceland!” If Montana is the Switzerland of America, then surely Oregon is the Iceland of America.

9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com

9 REASONS WHY OREGON IS THE ICELAND OF AMERICA

1. The Land of Waterfalls

Iceland has been called the land of waterfalls. Some sources say they have over 200, while others say over 1000. Did you know that Oregon has over 250 waterfalls to explore? It has over 1000 if you also count the unnamed ones. These waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes, are just as majestic, and generally much less crowded (minus Multnomah and Oneonta, which are extremely crowded). Even the tallest waterfalls are comparable. Glymur is Iceland’s tallest waterfall at 650 ft and Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall at 635 ft.

Read More: Ultimate List of Oregon’s Waterfalls

Seljalandsfoss, Waterfalls in Iceland + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.comNorth Falls, Oregon + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com

2. Basalt Columns

The first time we saw basalt columns was in Iceland and we were completely fascinated by the geometric shapes. When we moved to Oregon, we realized they are all over the state as well. Latourell Falls and Toketee Falls are popular spots where you can see basalt columns, but you can also find them many places along the Cascade Range and the Oregon Coast.

Basalt Columns in Iceland vs Basalt Columns in Oregon + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.comBasalt Columns in Oregon at Latourell Falls + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.comBasalt Columns in Oregon at Latourell Falls + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com

3. Puffins

People who love wildlife visit Iceland to see the Atlantic Puffins, but did you know you could see puffins in Oregon too? Tufted puffins breed on Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock and can appear anytime between April and August.

Tufted Puffins, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon (photo: Diana Robinson) // localadventurer.com
photo: Diana Robinson

4. Beaches

Dramatic coastlines and beautiful beaches appear in both Iceland and Oregon. When we drove the entire 363 miles of the Oregon coast, we saw similar rock structures. We haven’t confirmed this yet, but apparently, you can also find black sand beaches at Humbug Mountain State Park in Port Orford. This is the Amardrangur Rock at Dyrholaey on the left and Face Rock State Park on the right.

Arnardrangur at Dyrholaey Beach in Iceland + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com

5. Canyons

Canyons are another common feature found in Iceland. You can also find beautiful and dramatic canyons in Oregon! This is Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon to the left and Succor Creek Canyon to the right.

Fjadrargljufur Iceland vs Succor Creek State Park in Oregon + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.comFjadrargljufur Iceland vs Succor Creek State Park in Oregon + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com
photo (left): Steve Boland

6. Airplane Wrecks and Shipwrecks

Iceland has this epic plane wreck and a few shipwrecks to find, but Oregon isn’t leaving you empty handed. There are some plane wrecks in Oregon that require a 4 wheel drive to get to. If you’re looking for shipwrecks, though, Peter Iredale is easy to access in Fort Stevens State Park.

DC3 Plane Crash Iceland // localadventurer.com

7. Volcanoes and Mountains

Iceland owes its existence to volcanoes and still has 37 on the island and 6 are restless. Oregon is home to 19 dormant or extinct volcanoes.

How are these so alike? Bùlandstindur Mountain is on the left and Sheep Rock is on the right.

Bùlandstindur Mountain, East Iceland (photo: floheinstein) // localadventurer.comSheep Rock, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon // localadventurer.com
photo (left): floheinstein

The Painted Hills aren’t exactly mountains, but they do remind us of the Landmannalauger.

Landmannalauger Mountains Iceland + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America (photo: Brandon Daniel) // localadventurer.comPainted Hills, Oregon + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com
photo (left): Brandon Daniel

Munra Point looks similar to Blatindur Mountain and Hornbjarg Cliffs and Eastern Oregon often made us think of Kirkjufells.

8. Glaciers and Ice Caves

After visiting the glacier caves in Iceland, we learned that Mt Hood has largest system of ice caves in the lower 48. One of the more popular technical hikes is to Sandy Glacier Caves, which we haven’t explored yet because we have very little mountaineering experience.

Note: If you don’t have much experience mountaineering, ice climbing, and caving, do not attempt to visit these caves.

Glacier Caves + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.comSandy Glacier Caves Oregon (photo: Steve Rollins) + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com
photo (right): Steve Rollins

9. Hot Springs and Geysers

Iceland wins out when it comes to the sheer number of hot springs and geysers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix in Oregon. There are plenty of hot springs to go for a soak in Oregon. If you want to see a geyser erupt, you can visit Oregon’s only geyser, the Old Perpetual Geyser to see 60-foot plumes every 90 seconds.

Strokkur Geyser - The Best Golden Circle Tour with Mountaineers of Iceland // localadventurer.comOld Perpetual Geyser in Oregon + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com
photo (right): Lyza

THERE’S MORE

Oregon is 246% bigger than Iceland which means there’s room for various other landscapes and miles and miles of trails. On top of that, the food is waaaaaaaay better and cheaper!

Oregon vs Iceland + 9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com
source: comparea

What do you think? Do you think Oregon is the Iceland of America? Can you think of any other places in the US that remind you of other countries?

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9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.com9 Reasons Why Oregon is the Iceland of America // localadventurer.comDC3 Plane Wreck Iceland // localadventurer.com

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ESTHER + JACOB

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I had no idea there were puffins on the coast of Oregon! They’re so damn cute and I’ve been wanting to see them in person for forever.

  2. Oregon has SO much natural beauty! And I didn’t know you had puffins there as well! All the more reason to get out there and explore. I would love to be stationed out in the PNW again. I felt like we didn’t have nearly enough time to see it in the two years we were there.

    1. I agree! There’s just so much you can do… the waterfall chasing alone kept us busy. Hopefully, you’ll get more time out in the PNW.

  3. Never been to Oregon, but it looks like a beautiful place.

  4. We were just in the Pacific Northwest and could not agree more. It’s like a whole other world up there and it’s absolutely stunning! Your photos are beautiful!

  5. Iceland was one of my most treasured trips ever. I’ve been searching for another place that is just as full of adventure, who knew it was right in my back yard! Booking a trip asap.

    1. So many great adventures in Oregon. I hope you get to see all these places. We were constantly thinking how similar it looked to Iceland. :) Ohh.. and if you loved Iceland, New Zealand also has similar landscapes!

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