We all know that Oregon is full of amazing wonders and places to explore and soak in the sites. From east to west, Oregon’s wide range of beauty is mind boggling. Lush green forests to rugged mountain terrain to the dry desert. Go the extra distance and check out some of these lesser known spots.
1. Silver Falls State Park
One of the most beautiful places in Oregon, especially in the fall, Silver Falls features incredible plant life and 10 incredible waterfalls that you can walk around, above and behind.
2. The Painted Hills
Located in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, the Painted Hills are like something from a space expedition movie. You’ll feel like you’re on Mars as you navigate the pathways through the colorful landscape.
3. Steens Mountain Wilderness
The Steens Mountains in Southeastern Oregon are enormous, jagged and otherworldly. They meet the Alvord Desert (coming up next) for an all-around stunning slice of this incredible state.
4. Alvord Desert
In the shadow of the Steens Mountains, the Alvord Desert will surely show you the variety of Oregon’s landscape. The 84 square miles of salt-flat desert in the remote southeast Oregon is a great place to take some friends and some bikes to cruise around and get dusty.
5. Paulina Lake and East Lake
Located in Newberry Crater in Central Oregon, Paulina Lake and East Lake are side by side and separated by the Newberry Volcano. Featuring a hidden hot springs, waterfalls and swimming, you can spend days here just exploring and becoming one with nature.
6. Ramona Falls
Ramona Falls is found in the Mount Hood National Forest on the upper Sandy River. When you come upon it, you’ll feel like you’ve entered something of fiction.
7. Lost Lake
Tucked away in the Mount Hood Wilderness, Lost Lake is perfect for hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking and more. The serene lake with breathtaking views of Mt. Hood is worth the trek.
8. Dee Wright Observatory
Dee Wright Observatory, just off the McKenzie Pass in the Three Sisters Wilderness is a funky and unique lava rock observatory. The views of all the mountains surrounding it are worth the stop or an extra trip to get there.
9. Wallowa Mountains
Of Oregon’s 7 Wonders, the Wallowa Mountains are frequented the least. With incredible views, foliage and Wallowa Lake, the trek to this Eastern Oregon paradise is worth it.
10. Terwilliger Hot Springs
A 5-tiered natural hot spring located in the Willamette National Forest near Cougar Reservoir, Terwilliger Hot Springs (also known as Cougar Hot Springs) is a beautiful and relaxing getaway. Make your way there for an evening while camping on the McKenzie River.
11. The Owyhee
The curving and winding Owyhee River makes its way through Southern Oregon and creating the Owyhee Canyonlands. The geological formations and beautiful river make it one incredibly unique area in Oregon.
12. Opal Creek
Located in the Willamette National Forest, Opal Creek’s turquoise waters will have you mesmerized. Its hiking, sightseeing and swimming holes are perfect for summer exploring.
13. Rowena Crest
Rowena Crest is located in the Columbia Gorge between Hood River and and The Dalles. Its drop dead gorgeous views will take your breath away.
14. Leslie Gulch
Another little-known Oregon find, Leslie Gulch is a canyon in far eastern Oregon featuring all shades of browns, tans, reds and yellows in its incredible rock formations.
15. Pillars of Rome
Very few are familiar with the Pillars of Rome, located in Jordan Valley. The rock formations are so mind blowing that you’ll have to just sit and stay awhile to take it all in.