The legendary Lewis and Clark Trail passes through the Columbia River Gorge and concludes where the land meets the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon. Travelers still flock to the “Beaver State” for boundless adventures, whether climbing Mount Hood, rafting the Rogue and Deschutes Rivers, sipping pinot noir in Willamette Valley or relishing urban culture. Rainforest, volcanoes, rivers and wilderness carve a diverse landscape, from the Eastern Oregon desert to the 363 miles of public beaches and coastline.
In 1845, the founders of Portland named the Oregon city by tossing a coin representing their hometowns of Boston, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine. In turn, the East Coast natives established the largest metropolitan area in the state at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Today, galleries, coffeehouses and wine bars line charming neighborhoods dotted with farmers’ markets, while vintage trolleys roll through Downtown.
On Portland’s north end, shoppers peruse upscale boutiques, brew pubs and eateries in the Pearl District, home to the famous Powell’s City of Books. Visitors can enjoy beautiful grounds and sweeping city views from Pittock Mansion or the International Rose Test Garden in the hills west of downtown, or meander the 70 miles of walking trails in Forest Park, a 5,000-acre urban forest reserve overlooking the Willamette River.
Northern Oregon offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia Gorge—an 80-mile canyon along the Columbia River—lies northeast of Portland and extends to The Dalles. Forested cliffs soar above the waters that divide Oregon from Washington to the north. Traveling the zigzag highways along the banks, one cannot help but imagine explorers Lewis and Clark eying the gorge for the first time. Snow-capped Mount Hood—the tallest mountain in the state—sits 50 miles southeast of Portland and features historic Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, which offers year-round snowboarding and skiing.
East of Hood’s Cascade Range modern-day explorers find more mountains, desert and Old West towns. One of the state’s most eye-popping attractions resides in the south where rainwater fills the remnants of a destroyed volcano, creating Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S.