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Growing up, hearing “Oregon” only really made me think of one thing – and that thing involved pixelated graphics, oxen, and people in my party dying of dysentery.
But, just as the West Coast is much more than just California, Oregon is much more than just the Oregon Trail (the physical and computerized version).
So when my partner Elliot and I started talking about planning a trip to Oregon to visit his sister who just recently moved there, I knew I needed to do some research. Because I wanted to be able to show you, too, that Oregon is a much cooler and much more beautiful state than many people realize.
Photos that show the beauty of Oregon
Here, then, are some of my favorite photos that show the variety of what Oregon has to offer:
Multnomah Falls is a 620-foot double waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge; it's easily one of the most iconic sites in Oregon.
The Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon have been named one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. The colors in the millions-of-years-old rock here change based on the light and time of day, but there's no denying that it looks like Mother Nature took a giant paintbrush to the land.
Oregon's coast is incredible! This was snapped near the town of Oceanside.
Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon is another one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon – and this photo should show you why!
Oregon's Willamette Valley is renowned for it's wineries. This picturesque one is Sokol Blosser.
Sunset from Pilot Butte, which rises nearly 500 feet above the city of Bend. On a clear day, you can see lots of Oregon's mountains from here.
The famous Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach. This 235-foot sea stack is another icon of Oregon.
The Columbia River Gorge is famous for its waterfalls, but it also has some beautiful forests, too!
A closer look at the colors of the Painted Hills. This is actually one of three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.
Portland has both traditional Chinese and Japanese gardens. This was taken at the Japanese Gardens, which are well worth a visit.
Another shot of sunset at Pilot Butte in Bend.
The Oregon Coast at Cape Mears.
At Smith Rock State Park, the Misery Ridge hiking trail will get you views like this!
Another view of Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.
Mt. Hood as seen from Portland, Oregon.
The best thing about the Painted Hills? Unlike the Columbia River Gorge which can be super crowded during high season, hardly anyone visits this beautiful spot!
A view of Eastern Oregon. This half of the state is sparsely populated – we were driving on a gravel road when I took this!
The beautiful Oregon coast at Cannon Beach again.
Lastly, the International Rose Test Garden in Portland is free and the perfect place for a summer stroll.
The Columbia River Gorge from above. The historic Columbia River Highway here was first planned scenic roadway in the United States.
Can you see the monkey's face at Monkey Face rock at Smith Rock State Park? This is a very popular spot with rock climbers – in fact, this is considered the birthplace of modern American sport climbing.
*Note: I had hoped to also be able to show you Crater Lake, which is the deepest lake in the U.S. and famous for its brilliant blue color. Unfortunately, thanks to a really harsh 2016-17 winter in Oregon, the roads within Crater Lake National Park were still closed due to snow when I visited in the first half of June! So travel tip: if you want to be sure to be able to visit Crater Lake, visit Oregon in late summer instead!
Did any of these photos surprise you? Which one makes you want to visit Oregon the most?
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