Oregon: Most Scenic Places

February 17, 2010

While driving through the Santiam Pass today along highway 22, it occurred to me that I don’t have a favorite. Favorite thing to look at in Oregon, that is. I asked David what he thought the most scenic thing in Oregon was and he was befuddled and had no answers really, either.

Today the sun came out over Santiam Pass. This rarely happens in winter. The ground was so cold that the forests held mist in them, and the effect of the sun coming through the mist and watery branches and ferns was impressive. Every mountain was there, and close, and incredibly white: Mt. Washington, Three-Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson. It was sort of world-class today. At other times the Santiam Pass route is merely okay, which reminds me that so much depends on current conditions and state of mind.

What do you think is the most scenic area or areas of Oregon?

Popular Favorites

  • The Columbia River Gorge
  • The coast, especially the more isolated and cliff-bound southern coast
  • The good ol’ Cascade Mountains
  • The Wallowas (Alps-like mountainous area in far northeastern Oregon)

My Favorites

  • Catlow Rim and Steens Mountain
  • Millican/Pine Mountain (25 miles east of Bend)
  • Malheur Lake area in spring
  • Wheatfields of the north central part of the state
  • Obvious but true: Cascade Lakes highway in certain seasons and weather
Multnomah Falls, 1998 on Flickr

Multnomah Falls, a classic Columbia River Gorge destination. Used to be Oregon’s number one tourist destination, an honor that now is held by a casino. Awesome.

A Better Steens on Flickr

David on top of Steens Mountain

You? This is far harder to pin down than I first thought.


  1. autumn says:

    the gorge is hard to beat. specifically, i like Oneonta. there is a trail that runs over the rim of the waterfall in the deepest reaches of the crag, far better is to scramble o’ertop the logjam in the gorge, wade through the waist deep water, and arrive in front of the fall panting a bit. going in at night with a flashlight and chasing the salamanders is also well worth doing.

    perhaps also an obvious answer; Crater Lake. i was simply stunned at the shade of blue that water is.

    favorite though, hands down, Cape Lookout, south of Tillamook. a hard hike out to the promontory is rewarded with a vista looking out to the ocean and back at the land. Manzanita shines like a jewel at sunset, limned with golden light.

  2. Brian says:

    East: Elkhorns, Steens, and Wallowas, as well as Hell’s Canyon.

    West: 3 Sisters wilderness, MacKenzie Pass

Related Posts

Scipio the Computer has deemed that these might be similar in content!
Wonderful games with Caslon