We’ve all heard about the Seven Wonders of the World, but did you know another set of impressive sights exists right here in our backyard? You may not be able to hop on a plane to see the Great Wall of China or the Roman Colosseum, but you can hit the road for a statewide tour of some jaw-dropping sights — otherwise known as the Seven Wonders of Oregon.
Consider embarking on a day trip to visit one or two of these destinations, or visit them all in one ambitious road trip throughout the state. Either way, these iconic Oregon landmarks should be added to your bucket list!
Stretching over 80 miles from east to west along the Washington-Oregon border, the Columbia River Gorge is a massive 4,000-foot-deep canyon filled with adventure and beautiful scenery. Visitors can visit the many cliffs and viewpoints in both Washington and Oregon overlooking the spectacular Columbia River as it cuts through the Cascades.
There are so many things to do, see and taste in the Gorge, from waterfall hikes to kiteboarding and local breweries to fruit orchards. Take a look at some of our favorite things to do in the Columbia River Gorge, whether you’re visiting for the first time or you’ve passed by the Gorge many times!
2. Crater Lake
Considered one of the most renowned destinations in the Pacific Northwest, it is only right that you have experienced Crater Lake National Park first-hand. With a depth of 1,943 feet, the jaw-dropping Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. The intense blue color reflects the lake’s purity and depth, made even more magical on a clear, sunny day. There are several viewpoints overlooking the lake, but a favorite is the historic fire lookout tower on the Watchman Peak Trail, which is less than a mile long. Or take in several different vantage points by driving along the 33-mile Rim Drive encircling the lake and providing 30 overlooks.
3. Mt. Hood
Reaching an elevation of 11,249 feet, Mount Hood is the highest point in all of Oregon and the fourth highest in the Cascade Range. Plus, Mount Hood is one of the most climbed mountains in the world, making it a prominent and must-see mountain for Pacific Northwesterners.
Visible from many vantage points in Hood River and surrounding communities, this towering mountain is both a stunning backdrop and a popular destination for outdoor recreation all year long. Use our comprehensive guide to Mount Hood to enhance your visit, whether you live across the country, across the state or just down the road in Hood River. We’re sharing insight on the best places to stay, where to eat, and things to do on and around Mount Hood.
Situated in eastern Oregon just northeast of Bend, the Painted Hills is the most-visited attraction in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument — and for obvious reasons. As the name implies, the hills appear to be painted with vibrant colors of yellow, orange, red and black, preserving a sequence of past climate change. Plan a visit to the Painted Hills during the late afternoon when the colors are most vibrant! Spend some time exploring some of the trails in the area or taking a drive along the lengthy Journey Through Time Scenic Byway, one of our favorite scenic drives in the state.
5. Oregon Coast
From the ever-popular Cannon Beach to the mysterious Brookings, the Oregon Coast is lined with a number of towns worth visiting. That’s why the entire coast is included as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon.
Take in the sights, smells and refreshing ocean mist of the Oregon Coast by traveling its entire length along the 101. You can complete your coastal tour in one go for an ambitious yet scenic drive (totalling just over 7 hours of drive time) or split it up into several short trips, stopping at some of the best sights along the way. We recommend stopping at Gold Beach, Pacific City, Brookings, Lincoln City, Newport, Florence, Seaside, Manzanita or Cannon Beach. If you end up in Cannon Beach, there are plenty of places to stay along the ocean!
6. Smith Rock
Situated just north of Redmond, Smith Rock State Park is an absolutely spectacular sight to see — and one of our favorite hiking destinations in Central Oregon. There is so much to explore within this 641-acre state park, whether you like to hike, mountain climb, camp, bike, run, or simply admire nature and wildlife. Take in jaw-dropping views of the river canyon and jagged rock formations reaching to the sky. The park is open from dawn to dusk year-round and the day use fee is $5 per vehicle.
7. The Wallowas
While a lot of other mountains get the limelight in the Pacific Northwest, the Wallowa Mountains are not to be missed. Often called “the Alps of Oregon,” this range extends 40 miles in the Columbia Plateau of northeastern Oregon. One of the best ways to get a full view of the mountains is on board the Wallowa Lake Tramway, which transports you 3,700 feet up Mount Howard. If you prefer working a little harder for your views, hike the short nature trail after the tram ride or hike the ridge heading south to reach the 9,702-foot Aneroid Mountain.
While you’re in this area, be sure to stop by the quaint town of Joseph (one of our favorite tiny towns in Oregon) and take in more jaw-dropping views at the Hells Canyon Overlook!
How Many Wonders Have You Witnessed?
Have you seen all Seven Wonders of Oregon? Let us know in the comments below!