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8 of the Most Beautiful Places to See in Oregon

Jamie Delos Reyes

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Witness a state brimming with national parks and gorgeous fields belonging in postcards! Trek through hiking trails wandering through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Oregon boasts stunning landscapes and friendly, hospitable people. Fill your bucket list with the most beautiful places to see in Oregon!

1. Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Photo Credits: Joinn

An enchanting place, the Yaquina Head Natural Area features some of the most beautiful coastlines in the US. Aside from being the tallest lighthouse in the state, a great array of tide pools are also here. The lighthouse used to be the Cape Foulweather Lighthouse but renamed to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. It started to become active in 1873 and continues today. Staffed with three lighthouse keepers in the past, the lighthouse became automatic in 1966.

The lighthouse appeared in the 2002 film The Ring. It was the setting of the “Moesko Island Lighthouse”, and a few earlier films and television shows. The lighthouse is open for tours. However, space is on a first-come-first-served basis.

2. Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon, Oregon
Photo Credits: Culture Trip

Hells Canyon is America’s deepest river gorge and one of the most beautiful places to see in Oregon. With wild river rapids and unique rock formations, it is also home to some parts of the Snake River. The river carved out the gorge over several million years. It is in a remote area, with most of it inaccessible by road. However, once reached, many visitors find that the views of rock formations along the river are stunning and unbeatable.

It is also home to many species of fish and some of the largest rapids in the Pacific Northwest. You’ll see diverse wildlife and many miles of hiking trails that will appeal to trekkers. Many outdoor activities are available for all types of visitors. Go fishing, jet boat tours, hiking, and whitewater rafting and kayaking! Tours are offered all year round.

3. Alvord Desert

Alvord Desert, Oregon
Photo Credits: Portland Monthly

Despite Oregon being known for its lushness and constant rain, the Alvord Desert is in southeastern Oregon. It is southeast of the Steens Mountains. The area is virtually untouched by humans, with pristine mountain ranges and dry lake beds. The place gets its name after Gen. Benjamin Alvord, commander of the US Army Department of Oregon during the Civil War.

It has a cold desert climate, which is because of the nearby mountain ranges that shelter it from rainfall. It is ideal for driving and observing the diverse wildlife that makes its home in the desert. Wild horses, nesting birds, sheep, deer, and elk can live there. Birds fly in from a nearby wildlife refuge, making the area ideal for visitors who wish to go birdwatching.

4. Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave, Oregon
Photo Credits: Roland

The Lava River Cave is in the Deschutes National Forest, and one of the most beautiful places to see in Oregon. It came from a volcanic eruption around 80,000 years ago, hence its name. It is the longest lava tube in Oregon. The cave was first officially discovered by pioneers in 1889. However, the presence of obsidian near the cave has led experts to believe that Native Americans knew about its existence prior to the arrival of settlers.

To explore, visitors must descend a combination of flat boardwalk and uneven steps into the dark with a flashlight for a self-guided tour. visitors are rewarded with the sight of an unusual and beautiful sand garden and ice crystals descending from the ceiling.

5. Steins Pillar

Steins Pillar, Oregon
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

A beacon for miles around, the Steins Pillar is a natural wonder and volcanic oddity is not as widely frequented as the other locations on this list. It is in the Ochoco Mountains. After volcanic eruptions deposited layers and layers of lava and ash onto the landscape several million years ago, erosions and a constantly shifting landscape resulted in this approximately 350-foot “nature’s skyscraper” in the middle of Oregon’s lush forestry.

It features acres of ponderosa pines and nearby high mountain meadows full of wildflowers and ferns. Visitors to the area can explore the surrounding nature and take part in the wildflower displays hosted in the spring. Don’t miss one of the most beautiful places to see in Oregon!

6. Thor’s Well

Thor’s Well, Oregon
Photo Credits: Flickr | Beau Rogers

A never-ending whirlpool of ocean water, colliding waves, and shooting water, Thor’s Well is a mesmerizing sinkhole in the large forested headland of Cape Perpetua, managed as part of the Siuslaw National Forest. It is in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area which features as well a crack in the coastal rock known as Devil’s Churn, where incoming and outgoing waves collide in an occasional startling explosion of water.

Thor’s Well, in particular, is best seen around an hour before high tide to an hour after high tide. Depending on the wind, the height of the high tide, and the direction and size of the swelling waves, the sights can truly be spectacular. While waiting for the ideal time, visitors can partake in the many activities offered in the area, such as camping, picnicking, hiking, and whale watching.

7. Little Crater Lake

Little Crater Lake, Oregon
Photo Credits: Flickr | glori123

With its proximity to Portland, one would think Little Crater Lake would be greatly frequented by visitors. However, the crowds are much smaller, which makes viewing the beautiful scenery at this lake much more ideal. The crystal clear, bright turquoise waters of the lake make it ideal for relaxing after a grueling hike or taking a moment to clear your head while camping at the nearby Little Crater Lake Campground. You can find its secluded location in the Mount Hood National Forest, which offers a few clues about why it is still a hidden gem.

8. Angel’s Rest

Angel’s Rest, Oregon
Photo Credits: William Carnes

Boasting an incredible view of Columbia Gorge, Angel’s Rest is a hiker’s reward after a moderate level hike. The scenery beautifully combines rolling mountain ranges, the winding Columbia River, and trees as far as the eye can see. Going up at this incredible height, Angel’s Rest is truly one of the most beautiful places to see in Oregon.

Oregon boasts lush forestry, incredible views, and adventurous people. There’s also no limit to the adventures you can embark on. Its exceptional beauty and impressive landmarks make it one of the must-visit states in the country.

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