Our second trip to the western United States was an opportunity to discover different regions, and it is in Oregon that we started our journey. Oregon is a more secretive state, an American west far from the crowds and known sites. A state dedicated to all nature lovers, in all its forms. A state where the forest, which covers almost half of its surface, is queen. A state in which we made a week-long road trip that we won’t soon forget…!
The coast of Oregon: Cannon Beach
Before immersing ourselves in the great forests of Oregon, we turned to the ocean. For Oregon is also 584 kilometres of road along the Pacific coast. One of the most spectacular places is surely the Cannon Beach, located 1h30 drive from Portland. This gigantic beach lined with very characteristic rocks is a pleasure to discover.
The place being very crowded on weekends, we enjoyed a few hours of quietness at sunrise. We woke up early because we were sleeping in a motel located at Rockaway beach, much further south. A tip: if you want to sleep at Cannon beach on the weekend, book early! Whether it is for hotels or campsites.
A light mist, the mirror effect of the water, the cry of the seagulls, and the pastel colours have given this beach an incomparable beauty.
A moment that we were waiting for impatiently, when we found ourselves in front of the famous Haystack Rock, which makes the fame of this beach…
Oregon Coast: Ecola State Park
Our exploration of the Pacific Ocean coast continued in the small state park of Ecola, a stone’s throw from Cannon Beach. We dreamed of walking in these large misty forests covered with moss and ferns, so characteristic of the Pacific North West…
There are two main viewpoints accessible by car: Ecola Point and Indian Beach, opening onto the ocean and dotted with rocks. A coastal hike connects these two points, 3.2 kilometres long, but the trail is in very poor condition and is currently closed. Fortunately, there are other hikes along the ocean north of the park in areas that are only accessible on foot.
It is in an atmosphere specific to the region, i.e. cloudy and rainy, that we observed the incredible nature of this small state park.
Silver falls State Park: The little known waterfalls
In the late summer of 2017, fires have been raging across the state. Fires that lasted for several weeks due to a severe lack of rain. This had an impact on our planning and we had to give up the Columbia River Gorge, known for its succession of waterfalls, each one more beautiful than the next. We had to improvise at the last minute, and look for other places to see waterfalls, not too far from Portland and Mount Hood, which is our next stop!
That’s how we found ourselves by chance in the state park of Silver falls. This park is almost unknown to tourists, and is the delight of locals who come to spend their weekend there. Another great place located less than 1h30 drive from Portland!
There is an important concentration of waterfalls, more or less large, in the heart of a dense forest in which it is not impossible to meet a bear…!
Abiqua Falls: The waterfall off the beaten path
After meeting up with the Americans on the weekend at Silver Falls State Park, we got even more out of the touristic circuit by getting lost on the state tracks until the start of the hike to the Abiqua waterfalls. These waterfalls are deserved and to reach them we drove on the secondary roads, then on the tracks, to finish on a last narrow, steep, and in bad condition track (we were happy to have rented a 4×4!). And from there we followed a chaotic path to arrive in front of this waterfall that literally left us speechless.
This spectacular waterfall is located in the heart of an amphitheatre made of basalt organs, hidden in a green setting. 28 meters high, on which the water of the Abiqua River flows…!
Mount Hood: Oregon’s iconic volcano
Oregon has the distinction of being dotted with isolated mountains, rising above the great fir forests. This is undeniably one of the most spectacular landscapes in the state! During this road-trip, we absolutely wanted to discover one of these mountains and set our sights on Mount Hood, a sleeping strato-volcano that represents the highest point in Oregon, at 3729 meters (9,729 feet).
Approaching Mount Hood means first driving on roads through a gigantic national forest, before reaching the summit of the volcano at a bend in the road. A summit that is surrounded by 12 glaciers, just that!
There are many activities to do around Mount Hood: hiking, skiing, canoeing on the lakes… the adventures are numerous. On our side, we took advantage of this corner of nature to walk, we tell you in a special article 4 hikes we did at Mount Hood.
A natural spa in the forest: Umpqua hot springs
Now we’re going to tell you about one of the best memories of our trip through Oregon. Imagine yourself in the heart of a forest (and yes always these forests, let’s not forget that this is what makes this state so special!), and after crossing a superb bridge, climbing a short but intense climb, arriving in front of a succession of basins into which water at 35°C flows. With a 4-star view, please. A much appreciated break in the middle of our busy days!
Oregon: Crater Lake National Park
Impossible to end this stay without making a stop in the only national park in the state, and what a park it is! Almost 8000 years ago, Mount Mazama erupted. Its summit collapsed under volcanic pressure, creating a huge crater that filled with water over time. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America, at 592 meters deep!
The curse of fire continues to this day, and it is a smoke-filled landscape that opened up for us when we arrived at one of the few open viewpoints. We couldn’t have been able to admire the brilliant blue colour of the water, for which the lake is famous. Once we arrived at the viewpoint next to Crater Lake Lodge, it was a bit frustrated for the view and sad for the burning nature that we walked up this caldera impressive by its size. Wizard Island appears in the middle of this lake, from this silence, with the allure of a mysterious island. What an atmosphere!
Only the eastern shore was accessible that day, so our visit of the park was rather limited. This did not prevent us from enjoying the superb panorama on the lake, along this scenic route.
The landscapes of Oregon, where the road took us
Because it was an extraordinary road-trip, because we loved the foggy atmosphere in these great forests, because the mountains are grandiose, and because images are worth more than a thousand words, we leave you with these images captured here and there, somewhere in the Pacific North West…