7 Oregon Weekenders
Sick of the usual? Find yourself in a new adventure with one of these weekend getaways.
April 1 2012By Lee Lewis Husk
Oregon’s fabled outdoor adventures are just out the door – whether it’s heartthumping whitewater on a wild and remote river, a mountain bike ride in old growth timber, a kayak trip to see a Great Blue Heron, surfing at the Oregon coast or fly-fishing from a historical ranch. 1859 carves out some fascinating places for the perfect Oregon weekenders.
LEARN TO SURF AT OTTER ROCK
Catch a wave at Otter Rock, a tiny village eight miles north of Newport that has a protected cove just right for learning to surf. Take a lesson from local Paul Hansen, or snag a package at the Oregon Surf Shop in Lincoln City or Ossies Surf Shop across from Agate Beach. Packages include a lesson, surfboard, wet suit, boots, gloves and hood—and you’ll definitely need the neoprene for Oregon surfing. Stay at the Looking Glass Inn in Lincoln City or Bella Beach near Glen Eden, or camp at Beverly Beach State Park. When you’ve had enough surfing, try stand-up paddle boarding on Devils Lake or at Otter Rock, but steer clear of surfers. Hitting one with your board would be totally bogus.
Paul Hansen Surfing Lessons | 541.765.2294
Oregon Surf Shop | oregonsurfshop.com
Ossie’s Surf Shop | ossiessurfshop.com
Looking Glass Inn | lookingglassinn.com
Bella Beach | bellabeachrentals.com
Beverly Beach | oregonstateparks.org
MOUNTAIN BIKE OR HIKE THE MCKENZIE RIVER TRAIL
Itching for a challenge? Ride the twenty-sixmile section of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail from Clear Lake to McKenzie Bridge off Highway 126, between Sisters and Eugene. This eye-candy single-track trail through old growth Douglas fir, lava flows, waterfalls, a stunning blue pool and log bridges is a classic ride, better handled by experienced bikers; novice riders will want to dismount for portions of the trail. Hikers can jump in at Trail Bridge Reservoir and walk to Tamolitch Falls (the “blue pool,” shown here). Arrange a shuttle from Bend or McKenzie River to the start of the bike trail. Stay in Sisters at FivePine Lodge or at Belknap Hot Springs.
McKenzie River Trail | mckenzierivertrail.com
Five Pine Lodge | fivepinelodge.com
Belknap Hot Springs | belknaphotsprings.com
PICK A RIVER: SNAKE, SALMON OR GRANDE RONDE FOR WHITEWATER RAFTING
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a river by the oar. Which will it be: the Snake, Salmon or Grande Ronde River? All roll through ancient river beds inhabited for thousands of years by Native Americans and exotic wildlife, featuring flows of up to Class IV rapids—each substantially different. The Snake River in the Hells Canyon runs through North America’s deepest canyon and is the most rugged and remote of the three. The Salmon River merges downstream of Hells Canyon and provides rushing water with white sandy beaches ideal for swimming. The Grande Ronde runs through old growth forests and is best floated in the spring when water levels are high. Winding Waters River Expeditions in Joseph provides all-inclusive three-, four- and five-day float trips on all three rivers with camping equipment and meals provided. Trips start in Joseph or in Lewiston, Idaho, with shuttles back to the starting point. Sign up for a four-day trip on the Snake and fly back to Joseph in a private plane. For unwinding after a heart-pumping day on the river, try Winding Waters’ yoga trip on the Salmon River.
Winding Waters River Expedition | windingwatersrafting.com
CRAZY WITH KIDS
CUT LOOSE AT SEASIDE
Yearning for a bit of nostalgia? A place where you and the kids can enjoy laid-back Americana? Try Seaside on Oregon’s north coast, where the salt air smells of caramel corn, elephant ears and corn dogs. The oneand- a-half-mile oceanfront promenade, circa 1920, is great for running, biking, pushing a stroller or rollerblading. Play volleyball on the beach or get out of the rain at the Oregon Coast’s largest game arcade or carousel. Hike the Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail from Seaside into Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach. Sleuth for clues to the city’s Treasure Quest game and win a prize. Stay at Sandy Cove Inn or the Tides by the Sea.
Seaside Chamber | seaside.com
Sandy Cove Inn | sandycoveinn.net
Tides by the Sea | thetidesbythesea.com
STEP BACK IN TIME AT THE BIG K GUEST RANCH
A slice of paradise, early twentieth century style, lies off windy Highway 138 between Sutherlin and Elkton. In 1908, Charles Franklin Kesterson bought 400 acres along the Umpqua River. Since then, four successive generations have acquired more land, turning it into a 2,500- acre ranch that supports cattle ranching, logging and the Big K Guest Ranch—the vision of Charles’ grandson, “Big Al.” Guests enjoy ten miles of pristine river frontage for guided fishing or rafting trips, fish ponds for the youngsters, trail and pony rides, and a shooting range. Sleep in one of the twenty Red Western Cedar cabins, and relax at the 12,000-square-foot lodge with cathedral windows and views of the coast range. Kathie Larsen, Big Al’s daughter and guest ranch manager, calls the lodge “rustic elegance” and the food “real honest.” (Vegan, gluten-free and other options available.) Go wine tasting in nearby Elkton, home to several award-winning Umpqua Valley vintners.
Big K Guest Ranch | big-k.com
Big K Outfitters | bigkoutfitters.com
TAKE IN THE DESERT SUN
KICK BACK AT A DESERT OASIS
On a desert oasis sixteen miles northeast of Bend is Brasada Ranch, a destination resort that wraps guests in high-thread-count luxury after a satisfying day mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding or golfing. The resort, outlined in split-rail fencing and an old water trestle, offers all the amenities without the attitude. Built in 2005, Brasada is perfect for a romantic getaway or a trip with the kids for pony rides, cowboy camp and chilling at the outdoor lazy-river pool. Sleep in one of the ranch’s eight suites and enjoy sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains, or rent a two- or three-bedroom modern cabin. Guests have access to the golf course, athletic facility, pools, full-service spa, fire pits, play areas for kids, equestrian center and restaurants featuring farm-to-table fare.
Brasada Ranch | brasadaranch.com
KAYAK & BIRD WATCHING
KAYAK OR CANOE ROSS ISLAND DURING GREAT BLUE HERON WEEK
Take a morning kayak or canoe trip on the Willamette River to explore Ross Island, the Holgate Channel and the 160-acre Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Join the Twenty-Sixth Annual Ross Island Regatta on Sunday, June 10. The event culminates with a twelve-day celebration of the Great Blue Heron, Por t land’s official bird. This year, it also coincides with the release of the Audubon Society of Portland’s Wild in the City, Exploring the Intertwine, a field guide to parks, trails and natural areas. If you don’t own a kayak or canoe, rent one from Alder Creek or Portland Kayak Co. Stay at the Heathman Hotel or in a hip rental in Northeast Portland.
Audobon Society of Portland | audobonportland.org
Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe | aldercreek.com
Portland Kayak Co. | portlandkayak.com
Heathman Hotel | heathmanhotel.com