Explore Oregon

Wooden drift boats were the only and early form of transportation along the challenging McKenzie River.

McKenzie River Valley

Finding Blue Pool and other epiphanies in this wooded wonderland written by James Sinks In the McKenzie River Valley, it’s almost like Mother Nature saves the best for last. From the start of the snowmelt, the picturesque pocket in the central Cascades—home to dramatic waterfalls, crystalline lakes, and moonscape lava fields—attracts flocks of visitors to bike, hike, fish, paddle, soak and exhale. President Herbert Hoover, a frequent vacationer and angler here, was likely referring to the McKenzie when he wrote of Oregon in his memoirs. “Within these woods,” he said, “are never-ending journeys of discovery.” With so much to do and so much to see, you’d think it couldn’t possibly get more breathtaking. Then autumn arrives. As crowds thin, nature’s picture show begins. Like deciduous peacocks, hardwoods jockey to show off their best colors. Reds. Yellows. Oranges. In fall, you can still experience the expected and unexpected joys of the…

A sacred place for tribes, Mount Shasta has become a spiritual draw for people of the Pacific Northwest.

Mount Shasta – Metaphysical Beacon

The spiritual retreat in search of Telos written by James Sinks photography by Discover Siskiyou To some, like meteorologists, the disc-shaped lenticular clouds that frequently form on Northern California’s Mount Shasta are a perfectly natural phenomenon, caused when rising warm air is sandwiched by cooler air above. Yet to others, those actually aren’t clouds at all, but rather flying saucers touching down on the mountain—or maybe they are clouds that are hiding UFOs inside. And that’s just the beginning of otherworldly and magical happenings that are said to happen on or near the 14,179-foot Cascade Range volcano, the second-highest peak in the state. The dual-cone Mount Shasta has long been a centerpiece of spiritual legend, since it was a sacred place for the many indigenous tribes including the Shasta and Modoc who once shared the Siskiyou region, straddling the Oregon and California border. Today, the mountain and unassuming slopeside community…

Flavors of the Far East abound on the Dumpling Trail in Richmond, BC.

Richmond, BC

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture written by James Sinks photography by Tourism Richmond The Canadian city of Richmond, located just south of Vancouver BC, sits a mere three feet above sea level. So, like other major low-lying locales, the place guards against flooding with dikes and pump stations—which here can expel 1.4 million gallons every minute. Yet Richmond has long welcomed a flood of a different sort: The city of 210,000 has attracted waves of migrants from across the Pacific, and today the former farming and fishing community boasts North America’s highest concentration of people who identify as Chinese, at 53 percent. Three quarters of the population is of Asian descent. As a result, just a twenty-five-minute drive from the U.S. border, you can immerse in the vibrant culture and rich flavors of the Far East, from dim sum to spicy hotpots to karaoke. The New York Times in 2018…

A subtle charmer of the Oregon Coast, Yachats is the summer getaway for a serene experience.

Dive into Yachats

The charming gem of the Oregon Coast written by James Sinks These days, the easygoing coastal hamlet of Yachats is so idyllic that it’s called the gem of the Oregon Coast, with its rugged and tidepool-strewn shoreline, networks of trails, and inviting cluster of eateries and shops. Located between Waldport and Florence, you won’t find a gas station here, but you’ll discover art galleries, a boutique brewery and uncrowded driftwood-decorated beaches. There’s fresh seafood on-shore and, often, whales off-shore. There’s even a tiny “whale park” with a whale tail sculpture and a gentle water spout every ninety seconds, as if there is a friendly whale hiding beneath the grass to surprise the kids. The town was once listed as one of the top ten worldwide vacation destinations—alongside Paris, Bali and Kenya—by the author of Frommer’s travel guide. “The ideal spot for a stop in the course of a motoring trip…

Henry Hagg Lake is a great option for year-round paddling.

Secluded SUPing

To SUP is human. To SUP in seclusion is divine. written by Jen Sotolongo Home to calm rivers and crystal clear alpine lakes surrounded by mountain tops, paddleboarding enthusiasts can SUP just about anywhere in Oregon. The mild winter throughout much of the state means that with the right gear, paddling year-round is a possibility. Whether you prefer to while away the day in a lake, get a solid workout along one of the many designated water trails, or make a multi-day excursion stand-up paddlers won’t have to search far to find a serene spot to enjoy the sport. Permits are required for non-motorized watercraft, including paddleboards 10 feet or longer, as well as life jackets and whistles. One and two-year permits are available from ODFW and Oregon.gov. Henry Hagg Lake GASTON Just 30 miles southwest of Portland, Hagg Lake is a great option for year-round paddling. The lake is…

The Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa

Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa

written by Kerry Newberryphotography by Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa In a town steeped in maritime history, few places capture the soul of Astoria like the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa. When the luxury hotel first opened in 2005, it became an instant icon. Built on century-old pier pilings extending 600 feet into the Columbia River, the space was designed to recreate the feeling of the canneries of bygone days with smokestacks, exposed steel beams and wooden trusses. The electric red building is luminous even on oyster gray days. Set on the former site of the Union Fisherman’s Cooperative Packing Company, the hotel pays homage to the town’s past and present in creative ways. When you check in, your welcome envelope includes the daily schedule of inbound and outbound container ships provided by Columbia River Bar Pilots. You can study the massive carriers that take on a mythic glow at…

The hull of the Peter Iredale, a British ship that ran aground in 1906 in what is now Fort Stevens State Park.

Bombastic Heritage

Expect wild tales and wildlife at Fort Stevens State Park written by Joni Kabana There’s a haunting line in the lyrics of the song “I Was Brought To My Senses” by singer-songwriter Sting that reads: “And out of the confusion, where the river meets the sea, came things I’d never seen, things I’d never seen.” If you’ve ever ventured to the upper northwest corner of Oregon and witnessed the swells that occur when the mighty Columbia River rushes to meet incoming Pacific Ocean tides, these words would barely scratch the surface of the impression of what you’d see in those treacherous waters. Dubbed the “Graveyard of the Pacific,” many a sailor has gone down with the ship while trying to cross this navigational nightmare. Since 1792, some 2,000 ships have sunk in these unforgiving swells formed over a long stretch of sandbar, and notoriously dangerous conditions can arise swiftly without…

One bucket list item on the Oregon Coast is kayaking among the arches and seastacks on the southern coast.

Oregon Coast Adventures

From Brookings to Astoria, the Oregon Coast has more than 350 miles of bucket list items for you written by Jen Sotolongo The Oregon Coast may not be the kind of place where you soak up the sun while sipping an umbrella drink and that’s quite all right with Oregon residents. Instead, the Oregon Coast offers an array of adventurous activities that encourage visitors to truly explore the landscape. From surfing and paddling to clamming and tidepool hunting, the Oregon Coast won’t leave you yearning for a beach chair and colorful drink. Surfing Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest in general, may not come to mind when it comes to surfing, but the Oregon Coast is actually a terrific spot for both beginners and advanced surfers. Otter Rock, located right in between Portland and Eugene, offers a protected break with consistent 2-to 4-foot waves. The large stretch of sand allows surfers…

Mother’s Day begins in Central Oregon at the Old Mill District and shopping at upscale shops.

Mother’s Day in the High Desert

The luxury resorts of Central Oregon are a mom’s best friend written by James Sinks Remember when mom used to take you to the playground? This Mother’s Day—or any day, really—you can return the favor. And when it comes to choosing the right playground, few places on the planet tout more satisfying options than Central Oregon, where a seemingly endless menu of recreation, restaurant, and relaxation options await moms of every age, interest and mobility. Here, happy trails are everywhere, from ski trails to bike trails to river trails to hiking trails, and you can even hop onto the Bend Ale Trail and sample a smorgasbord of breweries. If mom likes clubs as much as diamonds, the area boasts two golf courses ranked highly as girls’ trip destinations by Golf Digest. And if she needs to relax, unroll a yoga mat or unwind at any of dozens of upscale spas…