Home to hundreds of state parks and over a dozen national forests, the diverse geographic state of Oregon, has everything I would want in my own backyard. Here are a few locations not to miss on your next trip!

1. Horsetail Falls

 Horsetail FallsCascade Locks, United StatesAt the beginning of the Horsetail Falls Loop Hike in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, I traversed along a series of waterfalls. This 2.6-mile loop can be accessed from the Historic Columbia River Highway. I recommend getting there early if you want to have time to photograph all the waterfalls along the trail.
#hiking #oregon #waterfalls

2. Ponytail Falls

 Ponytail FallsCascade Locks, United StatesAs I hiked along the Horsetail Falls Loop, the terrain led me behind an 80ft waterfall without much of a fuss. Ponytail Falls was the second waterfall on the trail where I could photograph from a variety of angles and have direct access to getting refreshed by the waterfall’s mist. The cavern below the volcanic rock provides a unique viewpoint behind Ponytail Falls.

#hiking #oregon #waterfalls #horsetailfallsloop

3. Mount Hood National Forest

 Mt. Hood National ForestSandy, United StatesOregon is home to some of the most scenic forests I have ever driven through. SR 35 is part of the Mount Hood Scenic Loop where I stood staring up at the towering 11,000 plus feet face of Mount Hood.

#hiking #snow #camping #oregon #pnw #scenicdrive

4. Crater Lake National Park

 Crater LakeKlamath County, United StatesYes, it is worth getting up at 4 am to make the sunrise at Crater Lake. There are 50 plus viewpoints along Rim Drive that encircle this blue body of water. Those who rise early to capture this dormant volcano at magic hour will not be disappointed. Direct access to the lake shore can only be reached along the 1.1 mile Fleetwood Cove Trail and includes swimming, fishing, and boat tour activities.
#hiking #camping #oregon #craterlake #pnw

5. Breteinbush, Willamette National Forest

 Willamette National ForestDetroit, United StatesThe surrounding views of the Willamette National Forest at the Breteinbush Hot Springs Center is home to 145 acres of moss filled forests. My girlfriend and I enjoyed two days of soaking in hot mineral spring waters. These springs were bathing suit optional with an open minded community. Vegetarian food, a walking labyrinth, and a variety of wellness classes were a few of the amenities at the retreat center.
#hiking #camping #oregon #willamettenationalforest #breitenbushhotsprings

6. Ecola State Park

 Ecola State ParkCannon Beach, United StatesTreading through Ecola State Park, I explored rainforest one second and walked out onto sandy beaches the next. There were streams and springs gushing out from the forest floor intertwining with the ocean tide. The 9 mile stretch of Pacific Ocean shoreline of the Tillamook Head is a haven for all locals and tourists looking to encounter a completely diverse ecosystem. When driving in from Ecola Park Road I first parked at Ecola Point and hiked further north to Indian Beach.
#hiking #ecolastatepark #oregon #pnw #beaches

7. Indian Beach

 Indian BeachSeaside, United StatesSurprisingly a variety of people can be found surfing the northern beach of Ecola State Park. One local lady told me that they surf all year long and that the fall months bring the best surf to the area. If you want easy access to the long stretches of beaches at Ecola State Park, park north at Indian Beach and walk your way down.

#hiking #indianbeach #surfing #ecolastatepark #oregon #pnw

8. Oregon Coastal Trails

 Oregon Coastal TrailsCannon Beach, United StatesThe trail connecting Ecola Point to Indian Beach is what made the park stand out for me. If it wasn’t for the faint sound of the ocean, there are spots along this terrain that you wouldn’t expect a shoreline to be at your side. Gigantic trees, scattered wild mushrooms, and ocean views provide this 1.5-mile trail with a variety of photographic opportunities.
#hiking #trails #oregon #pnw #ecolastatepark

9. Cannon Beach

 Haystack RockCannon Beach, United StatesMy first time walking Cannon Beach at night to experience the Milky Way over the 235 foot Haystack Rock, is a memory I will never forget. The summer months bring the best night skies for capturing the Milky Way. No matter what season it is, I recommend a jacket, a headlamp, and nice sturdy tripod for windy conditions when photographing at nighttime. During the day a variety of bird species and marine life can be seen around Haystack Rock. This landmark is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. At low tide, the most brilliant, colored starfish can be found all over the rocks and just beneath the water line. Don’t miss this experience and have your children close by!
#hiking #haystackrock #oregon #pnw #milkyway #cannonbeach