Explore Oregon

Ski guide PNW

Pacific Northwest Ski Guide

Find your favorite spot to shred the gnar pow this winter written by Kevin Max When it comes to skiing in the Pacific Northwest, we are pleasantly spoiled with options. Many of us are here to be in the mountains year-round, whether it be mountain biking or alpine skiing. When snow tops the Cascades, Blue Mountains and the Kootenay Rockies, skis of all widths come out of storage wax and their owners go into planning mode. Do we ski the same place we have forever because it’s familiar? Or do we break out and find a new place that has a cool ski culture and try something new? Here, we’ve brought together some of our favorites based on the alpine and nordic ski culture behind these winter destinations. OREGON Mt. Bachelor Because the nordic ski trails at Mt. Bachelor sit at about 6,000 feet elevation in the Cascades, this resort…

Union County Oregon

Trip Planner — Union County

Union County is a mix of rugged beauty, farmland hospitality and a few surprises written by Catie Joyce-Bulay Of Oregon’s thirty-six counties, Union may not be the sexiest—you won’t find any sweeping beaches, hipsters or third-wave coffee, and the only haystacks are made of actual hay. What you will find is a nature lover’s playground spanning a diverse landscape, from high desert shrub steppe to rugged mountains, where three national forests converge over three mountain ranges, lush farmlands sprawl across valley floors and genuine local hospitality echoes the pioneering spirit of the Oregon Trail. DAY 1 MOUNTAINS • BREWS • BOUTIQUE HOTEL Oregonians are probably most familiar with I-84 along the Columbia River Gorge, but it’s no less scenic once it parts ways with the river. The stretch crossing into Union County is one of my favorite drives and a perfect example of how incredibly beautiful overlooked Eastern Oregon can…

Palouse Falls

Northwest Destination — Palouse Falls and Pullman

Visiting one of Washington’s zen wonders and its collegiate neighbor written by Kevin Max After years of hearing about the natural wonder of Palouse Falls, I finally put it on my schedule. Neither my regular driving nor typical flight routes would ever get me close enough to this remote southeastern Washington site to make it feasible. Starbuck, Washington, where Palouse Falls flows, is at least an hour-and-a-half drive north from Walla Walla, southwest from Spokane and northeast of the Tri-Cities. But, damnit, this was named Washington’s state waterfall in March 2014, and I was determined to see why. Kids from Washtucna Elementary School, 17 miles away, helped write the bill that would designate this as a state gem. I wanted to see what they saw. As a rule, I never overplan. Nothing unexpected ever comes to those who overwrite possibility with assurance. I packed a one-man, one-dog tent, a good…

Union County, Oregon

Trip Planner: Union County

Union County is a mix of rugged beauty, farmland hospitality and a few surprises written by Catie Joyce-Bulay OF OREGON’S THIRTY-SIX COUNTIES, Union may not be the sexiest—you won’t find any sweeping beaches, hipsters or third-wave coffee, and the only haystacks are made of actual hay. What you will find is a nature lover’s playground spanning a diverse landscape, from high desert shrub steppe to rugged mountains, where three national forests converge over three mountain ranges, lush farmlands sprawl across valley floors and genuine local hospitality echoes the pioneering spirit of the Oregon Trail. DAY 1 MOUNTAINS • BREWS • BOUTIQUE HOTEL Oregonians are probably most familiar with I-84 along the Columbia River Gorge, but it’s no less scenic once it parts ways with the river. The stretch crossing into Union County is one of my favorite drives and a perfect example of how incredibly beautiful overlooked Eastern Oregon can…

Wallowa Lake Tramway

Travel Spotlight — Wallowa Lake Tramway

written by Sheila G. Miller Head for the hills this summer in Eastern Oregon. There is no shortage of mountains to climb around Oregon, but you can head for the hills this summer with ease, thanks to the Wallowa Lake Tramway. The Swiss-made tram, built in 1970, climbs 3,700 feet to the summit of Mount Howard. From the summit, you’ll be able to see Washington, Idaho and (maybe) Montana on a clear day. There are miles of trails nearby that lead to scenic overlooks, or bring your mountain bike to the top and head back down on two wheels. A more leisurely option includes the Summit Grill, which has an alpine patio just right for taking in the views and maybe a local beer or snack. The tram runs every day from June 1 to September 30, with hours in July and August running 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Breakfast…

Northwest Destination — Retreat to Camano Island, a pint-sized nirvana for all manner of play

written by Heather Larson In 1949, a group of 500 locals brought their tools and sweat equity to a beach site at Point Lowell on Camano Island and built a park in one day. Camano Island State Park became the first on the island, a place where residents and visitors could recreate. In 2007, Freedom Park, a 12,000-square-foot wooden playground, was constructed in five days by 1,000 volunteers. Camano Islanders love the outdoors and have developed some remarkable spots for all to enjoy. The island feel remains rural, peaceful and mostly undiscovered, yet there’s enough to do to keep you on-island for however long you stay.   A ninety-minute drive from Seattle—no ferry ride required—the “easy island” stretches to almost 16 miles in length and extends 6 miles at its widest point. Edged by Port Susan on the east and Saratoga Passage on the west, water sports flourish. The ideal…

Trip Planner — Wine Country of Newberg and Chehalem

written by Sheila Miller Seems like these days, the world has discovered Oregon’s Willamette Valley and its wine, but the epicenter always seems to be McMinnville. There are so many other little outposts around the region. We decided to focus our tour in Newberg and Chehalem and see what the rest of the world might be missing. DAY 1 COFFEE • DOWNTOWN • WINE TASTING Most tasting rooms open at 11 a.m., so that’s when it’s apparently OK to start drinking wine. Get acquainted with the town of Newberg by enjoying wine right in the downtown core—you can get to the views tomorrow. Start in an industrial district a few minutes from downtown Newberg, and since it’s early, you can grab a coffee from Caravan Coffee’s roastery. The shop is a longtime favorite in Newberg, ethically sourcing its beans and making a great cup of coffee. You can tour the…

Aerial Courses — adventurers zip, sway and swoop on carefully designed courses

written by Jennifer Burns Bright Monkeys aren’t the only ones who can swing from trees. Increasingly popular at resorts and outdoor destinations, “American Ninja”-style aerial courses challenge visitors to sway on zigzaggy wooden bridges set between high platforms, climb rope webs and zip through the sky. Some even dare the fearless to leap to the ground or into water. We’ve selected three of Oregon’s coolest courses—all surrounded by nature in breathtaking areas—to explore on your summer vacation. Klamath Falls Crater Lake Zipline If hiking through the forests or fishing near Crater Lake seems too leisurely, how about zipping through the canopy of pine and fir trees? Just thirty-five minutes from Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake Zipline affords magnificent 360-degree views of Upper Klamath Lake and Mount McLoughlin as riders sail over the treetops. Kids can now climb over their own spider webs and bridge challenges on the new Sasquatch…

romantic getaways

Wild and Romantic Outdoor Getaways

Getting outside can be an aphrodisiac— turn up the heat this summer with an outdoor adventure written by Kevin Max We know you like to make travel plans around new and exciting experiences in the outdoors, so we happily brought together some of our top picks for outdoor getaways in every region of Oregon. These range from remote hike-in cabins in Eastern Oregon to hot springs resorts in Central Oregon, a fabulous Mid-century makeover in Southern Oregon, a fire lookout in the Willamette Valley and more. Here is the fruit of this exploration. Eastern Oregon » Halfway In a southwest breach of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and 10 miles west of the Snake River lies tiny Halfway. It’s the remoteness of Halfway and the cuteness of Pine Valley Lodge that makes this a romantic outdoorsy getaway. The bed & breakfast has twelve rooms with two stand-alone cottages, one that…