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.
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 is newly built. Go here for hiking along the Snake or into the Wallowas. Stay here for the eiderdown duvets, the stagecoach-era charm and the continental breakfast served every morning.
Learn more: www.pvlodge.com
» Minam River Lodge
This outing involves effort and reward. Most guests get to the lodge by hiking in 8.5 miles along a trail. Minam River Lodge was born in 2017 as a passion project restoration. The owners put an emphasis on the rewards to those who make the journey. In the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the lodge is surrounded by more than 500 miles of trails, four wild and scenic-designated rivers and wildlife that includes bighorn sheep, bald eagles, bears, deer and elk. The stunning scenery is an inspiration for photographers and picnickers, too. The Minam and Wallowa rivers are two of the most pristine places to catch (and release) brook trout, rainbow and winter and spring steelhead. The accommodations include cabins, lodge rooms and walled tents. Massage and yoga are also available.
Learn more: www.minam-lodge.com
On the edge of the Deschutes National Forest, yet very much in touch with the civilization of outdoor-crazed Bend, Tetherow pairs luxury and the outdoors. The resort includes world-class golf, a new resort pool, restaurants and nearby are some of the best mountain biking trails in the country. Starting at the Phil’s Trail network and extending as far up into the forest as you can go, these trails can keep you busy and happy for months without riding the same one twice. In town and along the Deschutes River, paddleboards and floatation devices are de rigueur. On terra firma is a burgeoning restaurant scene and breweries galore. Don’t forget to ask for the complimentary Breedlove guitar to set (or ruin) the mood.
Learn more: www.tetherow.com
Set along the comely Breitenbush River, Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat is a different mindspace. On the banks and above the river are clothing-optional natural hot spring pools at perhaps the state’s most placid getaway. The resort has small cozy cabins, lodge rooms and tents on platforms, as well as regular camping sites. It regularly hosts yoga and meditation retreats and has a cafeteria that serves fresh vegetarian cuisine. The one anomaly is that you have to bring your own coffee. In addition to hot springs, yoga and massage, Breitenbush is on the scenic Santiam Pass in the Cascade Range and has trails for hiking, running and good road biking
Learn more: www.breitenbush.com
» Ashland Hills Hotel
The Ashland Hills Hotel is a surprise of retro proportions. The 100-room recently renovated hotel is a destination in itself and the jumping-off point for amazing small wineries you have never heard of. This tasteful renovation of a 1970s property smacks of Palm Springs and its classic Mid-century modern architecture and furniture. On the southern end of Ashland, Ashland Hills Hotel is at the doorstep of wineries such as Irvine & Roberts, Belle Fiore and Weisinger and just a few miles north of Siskiyou Mountain Park, with its trails, scenery and remote picnic tables. If done right, you can explore nearby wineries, settle on the perfect bottle of wine and then abscond to your own private picnic table in the woods. Back at the hotel is a hip cocktail lounge for your nightcap.
Learn more: www.ashlandhillshotel.com
» Rogue River & Paradise Lodge
This trip is right at the top of the bucket list. Rafting the wild and scenic Rogue River should be on everyone’s radar. We suggest getting on with a reputable and experienced Rogue outfitter, such as Rogue Wilderness Adventures, Rogue River Outfitters or Helfrich River Outfitters. Thrills abound in Class II-IV rapids, but you’ll want to nail the evenings, too. A combination of riverside camping and classic American river lodges puts everyone at ease in one of the most stunning riverine settings around. Paradise Lodge is mandatory for romantic getaways along the storied Rogue. This wilderness lodge is accessible only by water. Fresh local coffee and wines, beers, meat and produce are brought in weekly by boat.
Learn more: www.paradise-lodge.com
Summer is the time for the Oregon Coast. No one frames the coast in a classier light than Headlands Coastal Lodge. On the water at Pacific City, Headlands is a new luxury-meets-adventure property with fantastic ocean views, and restaurant and bar. Check in with an in-house adventure coach to help set your agenda. Surf out the door or hike the UNESCO biosphere Cascade Head and poke out above the fog level in morning, or go crabbing just south in Nehalem Bay. Don’t miss the tidepools and trails at Cape Kiwanda just to the north or just settle in on the beach with a good book and a pint of the finest from the adjacent Pelican Brewery.
Learn more: www.headlandslodge.com
» Newport & South Beach
Try something out of the ordinary and take up a yurt at South Beach State Park on the coast at Newport. The park has sixty tent sites, twenty-seven yurts and 227 electrical sites for car or RV camping. Turn this into a surfari or a kayak and standup paddle vacation. Agate Beach and South Beach are two surf spots with beach breaks to the left. Yaquina Bay is ideal for kayaking and standup paddling forays. If
you are just getting started or are unfamiliar with the area, hop on a scheduled $20
Beaver Creek kayak tour up a freshwater marsh with a guide. Your gear is included in that price.
Learn more: www.oregonstateparks.org
At the nexus of growing regions, McMinnville is the beneficiary of wine grapes, hops, mushrooms, fruit and nuts. Think of restaurants and tasting rooms in McMinnville as the receptacles through which all of this bounty flows before being transformed into haute cuisine, or, in some cases, plated in its original form. McMinnville has its own AVA and tasting rooms such as R. Stuart Wine & Co., Elizabeth Chambers Cellars and Willamette Valley Vineyards. With all of the potential to wine and dine in McMinnville and never leave its comfy confines, where does the outdoors enter? The eastern side of the nearby Coast Range is a mecca for chanterelle hunting. To err on the safe side, hire a guide and enjoy. Back in town, take your chanterelles back to Third Street Flats, grab gourmet pasta, salted butter, parmesan, fresh pepper at Harvest Fresh Grocery and Deli and make a simple dish with a good local red wine. Save some chanterelles for tomorrow’s omelet.
Learn more: www.visitmcminnville.com
» Warner Mountain Lookout
We had to throw in one of the most simple and exotic romantic outdoor retreats, even if it’s out of season. Fire lookouts are the epitome of getting clear of civilization and into, if above, nature. Warner Mountain Lookout, 75 miles southwest of Eugene in the Willamette National Forest, is a 14-foot-square room sitting atop a 40-foot tower and, often, lots of snow. Available in the winter months, Warner Mountain Lookout is perfect for a 10-mile ski-in or snowshoe-in romantic outing. A double bed sleeps two and its small kitchen has a propane stove for heating and cooking. Bring tea candles and a good bottle of Oregon rye whiskey and celebrate the winter from a beautiful lair.
Learn more: www.recreation.gov
» Westcliff Lodge & Glamping
Experiencing the Columbia Gorge does not get better than glamping high along its banks. Set on the serene grounds of Westcliff Lodge on the west side of Hood River, the glamp sites thread the needle of indoor-outdoor play with hard-walled, wood-floored tents and outdoor showers. The Gorge is a mecca for wind and water sports—from windsurfing, kiteboarding, fishing and sailing along the reliable winds of the Columbia. Road and mountain biking are also at a premium on the shoulder of Mount Hood. Not to be forgotten are the many venues along the fruit loop for local wine and fruit. In town, Hood River is home to some of the best uses of hops, too. Double Mountain Brewery, pFriem, Solera or Walking Man across the river in Stevenson are all options. Any way you do it, this glamping-led escape will be one for the books.
Learn more: www.westclifflodge.com
» Double Mountain Horse Ranch
Try the Gorge on horseback. Double Mountain Horse Ranch is your pass to reaching waterfalls and riding through them on horseback for a thrilling natural experience in Hood River. Have your own “wild” adventure by streaming through the scene of the Pacific Crest Trail movie sensation, Wild, at Dry Creek Falls. Other horseback tours include sunset, mountain views and wine outings. Unsaddle and drop into the nicely situated Best Western in Hood River. The hot tub overlooking the Columbia River is a must. Head over to the Hood River Waterfront for Solstice Wood Fire Pizza and beer, or amble into town for dozens more culinary options.
Learn more: www.ridinginhoodriver.com
No legitimate contemplation of outdoor escapes can be meaningful without involving the stately grandfather mountain residence—Timberline Lodge. This masterpiece of W.P.A. Depression-era grand lodge encompasses class, nostalgia, history and the outdoors. On the side of Mount Hood and at the center of ski and hiking trails, Timberline Lodge is a four-season proposition for those who like to bring history into their exploration. Built in 1937 under the Works Progress Administration, Timberline was visited by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that September. “The people of the United States are singularly fortunate in having such great areas of the outdoors in the permanent possession of the people themselves—permanently available for many different forms of use,” FDR said that day. From the lodge, guests can light out on local trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail, and take in the Labor Day outdoor music festival that is a tribute to the Grateful Dead. If snow abounds, hit some of the best slopes in the Pacific Northwest and cozy up to the huge firepits with a cocktail from the Ram’s Head Bar.
Learn more: www.timberlinelodge.com
» Trillium Lake
Swimming, hiking, fishing and stargazing abound at Trillium Lake. Close to Government Camp in the Mt. Hood National Forest, Trillium Lake is known for its stunning beauty. Shoot for weekdays when the campground is less crowded. Bring a vessel to paddle off into solitude. Venture out on a clear night and lose yourself beneath a maze of constellations. The Trillium Lake Loop is an easy 3.6-mile trail that any member of the family can handle.