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Oregon

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Oregon [1] is an American state in the Pacific Northwest. It features rugged rocky coastlines, dense forests, fun cities, western mountains, and even a desert in the southeastern part of the state.

Regions

Oregon Regions
  • High Desert - Central Oregon: cattle, timber and sage country
  • Cascade Mountains - Numerous wildernesses, thick forests, fresh air and water which divide western Oregon from Central Oregon
  • Oregon Coast - Spectacular and rugged coastline, modest and affordable accommodations
  • Willamette Valley -- Oregon's breadbasket
  • Columbia Gorge - Wind and beauty. This region includes the Mt. Hood area
  • Southern Oregon -- Beautiful old-growth forests, world-class fishing, breath-taking waterfalls, emerging wine region, gateway to Crater Lake
  • Eastern Oregon

Cities

  • Ashland -- Home of the annual Shakespeare Festival
  • Bend -- The year round destination
  • Eugene -- Site of the University of Oregon
  • Gresham -- Home of the annual Jazz Festival (Also known as 'The Ham')
  • Klamath Falls -- Home of Running Y Ranch Resort
  • Medford -- Great Red Lobster
  • Myrtle Point -- Home of the Coos County fair and rodeo
  • Portland -- The state's largest city
  • Roseburg -- Home of Roseburg Forest Products-lumber

Other destinations

  • California National Historical Trail - The road to California carried over 250,000 gold-seekers & farmers to the gold fields & rich farmlands of California during the 1840's and 1850's as well as those who choose to head north to the Oregon Territory
  • Crater Lake National Park -- Deepest lake in the world above sea level, Oregon's only national park
  • Lewis and Clark National Monument - 12 park sites located on a 40-mile stretch of the Pacific coast located at the western end of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
  • Mount Bachelor -- skiing and snowboarding (November through May)
  • Mount Hood -- snowboarding & skiing (lift serviced year round), snowshoeing, alpine slides, hiking, backpacking, camping
  • Painted Hills -- Part of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, 75 Miles East of Bend, approximately 1000 Ha, 3132 Acres, one of the most photographed areas in Oregon. Colors change as the sun moves in the sky, making an extended visit quite worthwhile. Brilliant yellow wildflowers bloom in rivers of color down the "valleys" of the hillsides in late April/early May.
  • Oregon National Historical Trail -- As the harbinger of America's westward expansion, the Oregon Trail was the pathway to the Pacific for fur traders, gold seekers, missionaries and others.
  • Willamette National Forest -- Offering numerous outdoor recreation activities including hiking, sailing, and camping at Waldo Lake.
  • Wallowa Lake -- One of Oregon's finest lakes. Beautiful scenery, camping, boating, fishing, hiking, eating, and lodging in the quiet town of Joseph.

Understand

If driving in Oregon, be aware of a state law that does not allow self-service at gas stations. A gas station attendant must pump the gas.

Get in

By plane

The three largest commercial passenger airports in Oregon are:

  • Portland International Airport (PDX) in Portland
  • Mahlon Sweet Field (EUG) in Eugene
  • Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR) in Medford

Scappoose Airport Hillsboro Airport Salem Airport

Portland International is served non-stop by most major airlines and by several international carriers; it is the only international port of entry for Oregon. Mahlon Sweet Field and Rogue Valley Airport are served non-stop by feeder lines to Portland and other regional hubs such as San Francisco, Seattle, and Salt Lake City.

By train

Amtrak offers several ways to enter and travel thorughout Oregon by train:

  • The Empire Builder runs between Chicago and Spokane, Washington, where it then splits, with half of the train continuing to Seattle, and the other half to Portland.
  • The Coast Starlight. Regarded by many as America's most scenic train ride, the Coast Starlight runs between Los Angeles, California, and Seattle, Washington, stopping at many Oregon towns including Portland, Salem, Eugene, and Klamath Falls.
  • Amtrak Cascades. The Cascades is a special service that operates between Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), and Eugene using special high-speed Talgo rolling stock. Stops include Portland and Albany. See http://www.amtrakcascades.com .

For more information, see Amtrak's website, Wikitravel's article Rail travel in the United States, or the Wikipedia pages on each of this train services.

By car

Oregon has two Interstate Highways:

  • Interstate 5 connects Medford, Eugene, Salem, and Portland, running north to the Canadian border of British Columbia, and south through the Willamette Valley all the way to San Diego, California, therefore connecting Canada and Mexico via 3 west coast states.
  • Interstate 84 connects Portland, The Dalles, and Pendleton, running east to Boise, Idaho and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Federal and state highways effectively serve the remainder of the state, arranged in a grid-like lattice, but warped by mountain ranges:

  • Highway 101 winds along the Pacific coast and goes through the main street of most every town along the way
  • Highway 99 is the predecessor to I-5, but goes through many towns in the Willamette Valley. At Junction City (just north of Eugene), it splits as 99E and 99W which meander along the respective sides of the Willamette River; both terminate in Portland. South of Eugene, it is the same as I-5.
  • Highway 97 is the main Central Oregon north/south route. When I-5 is closed by winter storms, this is usually a good alternate as it is east of the Cascades and subject to much less precipitation.
  • Highway 26 goes from the northern coast through the coast range, through Portland then over the south flank of Mount Hood then generally follows an east-west path tracing the north Oregon border 50-75 miles south almost to the Idaho border at Vale.
  • Highway 20 goes from the north central coast in Newport to the eastern border roughly midway through the state.

Oregon is one of two states in the U.S. (along with New Jersey) where self-serve gasoline stations are not allowed by law. The speed limit along the interstates is generally 65 miles per hour (mph) except in the urban areas of interstate 5 where it is 55 mph. On highways it is generally 55 mph. For more details see Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 811.111 and 810.180.

By foot

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (which runs from Canada to Mexico) passes through Oregon along the Cascade Mountains. With almost no civilization along its route and very few highway crossings (four in the northern 150 miles of the trail), it is exceptional for experiencing nature while avoiding civilization.


See

Hundreds of species of birds and wildlife in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Do

Southern Oregon has the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, Crater Lake, Rogue River, and Oregon Coast.

  • Raft the Rogue River, Grants Pass, [2]. Spend four days rafting the Class III rapids of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. Camping and lodge trips are available.
  • Enjoy the outdoors by camping at Devil's Lake, Ft. Stevens, Tillamook State Forest or Detroit Lake State Recreation Area.
  • Nearly 40 miles of coastline Dunes at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area between Florence and Coos Bay: get sand in your hair by driving ATVs or dune buggies.
  • Take a Oregon Coast [3] getaway or extended vacation. Visit the 363 miles of coastline and sandy beaches. Enjoy your stay at one of the most romantic places in the world.

Eat

  • Visit one of the three Old Spaghetti Factory restaurants in the Portland area.
  • The Refectory for the best Italian food in the northwest, located in southeast Portland.
  • Wonderful food located at Rock Bottom Grill in Downtown Portland.
  • Four star dining in hiking boots and jeans? This is perfectly acceptable (as are suits and tuxedos) at Timberline Lodge's Cascade Dining Room which offers seasonal northwest cuisine year round. Excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner selections. Dinner reservations are helpful most evenings, but a necessity at holidays and nice summer weekends.
  • The Pine Tavern is a sophisticated restaurant serving fine Oregon cuisine. In downtown Bend on gorgeous Mirror Pond, it is the best food for 100 miles in any direction.

Drink

McMenamin's has several breweries and pubs throughout the state, including ones in Portland, Bend, McMinnville, and Eugene.

Stay safe

Get out

  • Go Watch a Portland Trail Blazer game.
  • Go Watch a Portland Winterhawks game.
  • Go to the Oregon Zoo.
  • Smell the International Rose Test Gardens for free
  • Go Skiing or Snowboarding on Mt. Hood. In August if you want.
  • Go Bike Riding on the Spring Water Trail or in downtown Portland.
  • Go to the Beach at Lincoln City, Seaside, or Newport.
  • Visit Saturday Market in downtown Portland for wonderful local food, arts & crafts and music
  • Soak in the natural hot springs at Bagby Hot Springs, Breitenbush Resort, or the edge of Alvord Desert
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