Springtime in Oregon means that cabin fever has done its worst. The itch to get outside is real, and while winter might have us dreaming of big-time backwoods adventures, those require time and dedication that’s not always feasible. Never fear, frontcountry warriors can still enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with ease.
Five Ways to Spend One Day:
The best part about living in a state like Oregon is that adventure is always waiting. Be it the rocky Pacific coast, the cascading waterfalls, the towering forests or the volcanic desert landscapes out east, there’s no shortage of things to do.
Day Hiking / Car Cruising
Spend a morning moseying down the coast, flying kites at Beverly Beach—or catch a colorful sunset at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint in Yachats. Enjoy driving one of the state’s many scenic byways and pull off as you like for day hikes and easily accessible viewpoints. Check out oregonstateparks.org for free maps to help you choose.
Learn a New Skill
Spend time exploring something you’ve never done before, like trying your hand at fly fishing, plant identification, or stargazing. Pine Mountain Observatory in Deschutes National Forest offers a designated spot, free from light pollution, to watch the night skies. Keep a journal and update it throughout the season as you learn new constellations. Not only is this a great creative outlet from the stress of the urban world, but it hones your land navigation skills as well.
Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching
In Oregon, animal and bird populations flourish. Head to Mt. Hood National Forest and drive the scenic loop for a chance to spot eagles, black bears, coyotes, deer, elk, and many other animals. Government Point on the coast is a beautiful spot to catch glimpses of aquatic mammals, such as whales and sea lions while the high-plains desert east of the Cascades offers visitors an abundance of bird watching opportunities.
Tackle your workout in the outdoors by mountain biking, trail running, or bouldering for the day. Head to the coast and bike a section of the Coastal Trail which grants you seaside sights while staying close to towns so you can still grab a well-deserved beer. Or, stay local and challenge yourself by trail-running a path you usually hike. Sweating in the fresh air can be more revitalizing, and more rewarding, than working out in a gym.
Pack a Picnic
It doesn’t get much more relaxing than packing up a well-thought-out meal and a blanket to spend time with your significant other or a friend somewhere with a view. Whether you choose a spot that looks out over the ocean, like Arch Rock in Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, or just a remote portion of a local park, you will be rewarded with solace and satiation. Choose foods that transport well and don’t make a mess, like fresh fruit or sandwiches. Be sure to pick up and pack out any trash.
Choose three things from this list to knock out in a single day.
See how high in elevation you can get in one day (or an hour); record your accomplishment and beat it next time you hit the trail.
Not-To-Miss Pacific Northwest Parks
Crater Lake National Park
The iconic National Park boasts the deepest lake in the US with pristine views of the Cascades. Located in central Oregon, the park offers many scenic drives, spring snowshoeing, and vehicle-free areas for those looking to hike or bike safely.
Lava River Cave
This lava-tube cave just outside of Bend is a haven for adventurers as it offers a chance to explore the mile-long tunnel right off the highway. Part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, the Lava River Cave is Oregon’s longest intact tube.
Silver Falls State Park
The loop trail of Silver Falls, an hour east of Salem, showcases 10 incredible and varied waterfalls on the 7.2-mile fairly easy hike. Not into that long of a hike? South Falls day-use area offers a beautiful waterfall and places to barbeque, play horseshoes, or camp.