Oregon State Parks Activities
With scenery ranging from the towering Cascade Mountains to the River Gorge, there’s no shortage of incredible camping spots in the Beaver State! Situated halfway down the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Beverly Beach State Park is a phenomenal destination to camp in where guests can take part in whale watching before turning in for the night.
The natural landscapes surrounding Wallowa Lake State Park also make for a great camping trip. Surrounded on three sides by awe-inspiring mountains, views of the sunsets here are unmatched.
The sprawling campsites at Silver Falls State Park are also a crowd favorite. With over 45 tent sites, 52 electrical sites, and two group camp areas, spending a night here is undoubtedly a treat that you’ll never forget. Take in beautiful views of the cascading waterfalls the minute you wake up!
Camping in one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon should definitely be on every outdoor lover’s bucket list, At Smith Rock State Park, pitch your tent amid the majestic rock spires, cliffs, and pillars that have made this destination renowned all over the world. While Oregon has just one species of bear (the black bear), it’s a good idea to know how to avoid a bear attack.
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If you’re in the mood for a stunning hike like no other, then head over to Silver Falls State Park where the Trail of Ten Falls awaits. The route traverses behind the 177-foot South Falls, featuring a few steep climbs and rocky terrain. All in all, this trail will take you through at least ten more beautiful waterfalls – definitely a sight that you shouldn’t pass up!
Smith Rock State Park is home to the Misery Ridge Trail, which features breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes unique to this part of Oregon. The route may be challenging but the sights are well worth it. As you are hiking, you may encounter a bear, so it’s always a good idea to have bear spray with you. We have a list of the best bear spray you may want to consider bringing with you.
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While Smith Rock State Park is more popular with avid rock climbers, it still offers plenty of spots where anglers can cast their lines. Flowing through the park is the striking Crooked River, a popular fishing spot famous for its huge population of native rainbow trout.
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Try your luck at locating concealed caches across all nine regions of Oregon! Geocaching can be done at Fort Stevens State Park, Ona Beach State Park, Fogarty Creek State Park, Sunset Bay State Park, and more.
Day Use Areas
Its abundance of waterfalls and other natural wonders make Silver Falls State Park a popular among picnic-goers. Within the park lies the South Falls Day Use Area, which features a ton of barbecue stands, a playground, covered picnic areas, tables, and even horseshoe pits. After your meal, be sure to take on one of the park’s many nature trails for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
Those looking for a peaceful and scenic picnic should check out the facilities at Lake Owyhee State Park. The Gordon Gulch Day Use Area is a favorite among residents but be advised that this park has only a limited number of staff and no cell service. So, if you’re in the mood for a day of solitude, then this destination is your best bet.
The ten-mile Mountain of the Rogue Loop begins at Valley of the Rogue State Park and is a favorite among intermediate and advanced riders. Designed by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, this route features some of the most thrilling challengings in the sport, including deep-forest rollers and narrow, exposed singletrack.
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Situated on the peninsula where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, Fort Stevens State Park is a bird watching paradise. The Surf Scooter, the Pacific Loon, and the Pelagic Cormorant can be seen here year-round while sightings of the Sooty Shearwater are abundant during the late summer season. Birders spending the day here have also reported glimpses of rare species like the Northern Fulmar and the Rhinoceros Auklet. Take a look at our suggested best birding binoculars for every price range.
Cape Meares State Park also offers a ton of Bird-watching opportunities. The Marbled Murrelet, the Tufted Puffin, and a whole host of seabird varieties have made their homes within the park’s diverse habitats.
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Rock Climbing and Mountaineering
Did you even go to Oregon if you didn’t stop by Smith Rock State Park? Climbing opportunities here are in abundance, featuring incredible views of the surrounding landscapes, as well as difficulty levels that cater to all sorts of skill sets. Its towering rock spires boast of an elevation of 3,000 feet, drawing in more than 800,000 visitors –most of whom are international climbers – every year.
Gallop across the shores of the Pacific Ocean at Bob Straub State Park, which features a ton of sand dunes to ride through. For equestrians looking for a different kind of experience, the park also has a few trails that meander through lush forests filled with towering trees and a diverse set of wildlife.
South Beach State Park also offers horseback riding trails perfect for those wishing to explore this region of Oregon. These routes are laid-back, peaceful, and relatively easy to get through, perfect for those who want a scenic and slow-paced ride. The park is also located near Seal Rock Stables, which offers overnight boarding, horse camping sites, and a whole host of trails across a 180-acre ranch.
Silver Falls State Park is a winter wonderland and many flock here to take hikes across snowy landscapes. The awe-inspiring two-tiered Double Falls are even more majestic in chillier temperatures!
Oregon is known for its powerful winter storms and chasing these natural wonders is a beloved hobby among many of the state’s residents. Guests wishing to try their hand at it should head over to Fort Stevens State Park, located in Astoria, or at Ecola State Park, situated north of Cannon Beach. These are the best spots to witness a mind-blowing winter storm.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Take in the underwater wonders of the Columbia River at Fort Stevens State Park where visitors are welcome to dive in the South Jetty, situated at the mouth of the river. Be advised, though, that diving is only permitted when the weather is optimal.
Bullards Beach State Park is a criminally underrated diving spot in Oregon. Crabbing and spearfishing opportunities are also in abundance here although conditions can sometimes be too rough.
In Central Oregon, diving enthusiasts flock to The Cove Palisades State Park where incredible spots include the Crooked River Boat Ramp and the Upper Deschutes Boat Launch, both of which are situated on Lake Billy Chinook. Water clarity here is amazing and the submerged cliffs along the banks make for a fascinating dive.
Located in the Oregon Coast, Stub Stewart State Park offers permanent orienteering courses that range from beginner to advanced. An Eagle Scout project, this course features a dense network of trails, old logging tracks, and plenty of other challenges.
The Short Sands Beach at Oswald West State Park is the perfect place for beginners to practice their surfing skills. Waves here are neither too high, nor too challenging and weather conditions are nearly always great.
On the other hand, more advanced surfers should head over to the cove found at Indian Beach, situated at the foot of Ecola State Park. With towering surfs and a ton of other natural obstacles, this spot is perfect for those looking to take their skills to the next level.
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