7 State Parks You Have to Visit in Oregon

Oregon National Parks
by Richard Bruschi May 24, 2017

OREGON HAS IT ALL: high desert in the east, forested mountains, wild ocean along the coast, sweeping river valleys and towering waterfalls. Our State Parks might not be as well known to visitors as Crater Lake, but they’re more than worth visiting.

Smith Rock

 Smith Rock State ParkTerrebonne, United StatesSmith Rock State Park, in Central Oregon, is a varied natural world in itself. It’s a diorama of different landscapes in a contained area. Jutting rock formations, trees, herons in the creek and incredible colors are harmoniously together within walking distance.
#Oregon #hiking #nature #parks

Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon, north of Bend, offers dramatically different landscapes in a contained area. It is a climber’s paradise. My brother and I hiked up a steep path to the top of the climber-dotted cliffs. Tall pines grew along the creek below. On our walk back, a heron flew low on the water and a river otter kept popping out of the creek.

Ecola State Park

 Ecola State ParkCannon Beach, United StatesThe #Oregon coast is untouched even in some of its most visited spots.
Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock is on the far-right in the background.
#Park #coast #oregoncoast

One of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (National and State) Parks, Ecola is north of the well-known Cannon Beach with its haystack rock. There are miles of walkable trails, with many ways to get down to the beaches. I simply picked one trail and walked down to the sand. The dense forest suddenly opened up for the full roar of the ocean.

Detroit Lake

 Detroit LakeDetroit, United StatesAn eerie, sad yet magical view, when a big lake disappears to leave artifacts and silvered tree stumps.
#Oregon #lake #extreme

Detroit Lake is not far from Salem, the state’s capital; and is technically a reservoir created in 1953. I’ve seen the lake when its water level was so high it almost lapped Oregon Route 22. One year later, after a drought which affected the whole Pacific Northwest, the lake was almost gone. My brother and I walked almost to its very center among the countless tree stumps.

Silver Falls

 Silver Falls State ParkMarion County, United StatesAwe-inspiring landscape and views in this tucked in State Park. There are a series of waterfalls connected by trails.
Photo not by me as I’m in the photo.
#Oregon #waterfall #hiking

The largest State Park in Oregon, halfway between Detroit Lake and Salem, Silver Falls is famous for 24 miles of paths to ten waterfalls of different size, shape and effect. All around there is green lush vegetation, from sky jutting cedars to thick undergrowth.

Painted Hills

 Painted HillsMitchell, United StatesI had the impression that the Painted Hills themselves were popping out almost out of nowhere from the landscape within the Park. And what a sight!
#Oregon #landscape #colors #hiking

Painted Hills is in central Oregon, not far from Smith Rock to its east, and is one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The deep rust colors of the landscape form a burnt, eerie landscape that looks like a painted canvas layered on the hilly ground.

Fort Stevens

 Wreck of the Peter IredaleWarrenton, United StatesFort Stevens is a pretty stretch of coastal wide beach and woodland on the Oregon north-west corner.
The Peter Iredale wreck is historic proof of the nickname of this stretch of coast, ‘Graveyard of the Pacific.’
#Oregon #Coast #Park #ship #oregoncoast

Another of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Parks, Fort Stevens is at the very north-western most tip of the state, at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Park is flat yet forested, with few people around during the year. Here you can see a testimony to the many tragedies of these waters: the Wreck of the Peter Iredale.

Yachats State Park

 Yachats Ocean Road State Natural SiteYachats, United StatesThe #Oregon coast. Wet and wild, moody and beautiful!
#Park #storm #coast #oregoncoast

The lava rocks formations of Yachats are tricky to walk on, yet there is a brooding wind-swept beauty here. This spot is not far from Thor’s Well.

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