Get Out There

Follow the “Trail” in Oregon

This week, our car is entering Oregon, known for beautiful vistas, the westward expansion and quirky towns. We’re excited to be heading outdoors as we enter the three-day weekend! It’s a time to relax, breathe out and get back into nature.

We’ll stop to see the friendly face of the concrete Paul Bunyan, that commemorates the 100-year anniversary of Oregon's statehood. We can never pass up a roadside photo op! Then we’ll head off to the Prehistoric Gardens. This tourist spot has 23 life-sized dinosaur and prehistoric creature statues, scattered on trails in the 300-year-old Oregon Rainforest. It’s a great mix of manmade fun and gorgeous nature that will please everyone in your group!

We will steer clear of the Bigfoot Trap in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest because we have a lot we want to see and wouldn’t want to get caught by mistake! Wanting to enjoy the ocean views, we’ll head over to the Oregon Coast Trail. It’s 382 miles. We won’t be walking it all, but we would like to enjoy the view from the headlands. We’re going to go to learn more about one of America’s most famous trails at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. It’s a 500-acre site that teaches visitors about the 2,170 miles of trail that lead settlers west. Today, the Interstates 80 and 84 both follow the route. A museum on the land features life-sized dioramas and artifacts. The exhibits are intended to make people feel like those pioneers.

From there, the Painted Hills are calling to us. Different climates that the stone has been exposed to over thousands of years have left the rocks stained with beautiful colors. The different climates and long history have made the place a fantastic spot for fossils of camels, rhinos, horses and more! It can be hot as all get out, so, after enjoying our visit to the Hills, we’re hitting Crater Lake. The deepest lake in the U.S. is located in Crater National Park, and we can’t wait to cool off by taking a dip! There are places to learn more about the spot and knowledgeable Park Rangers to answer questions. If we’re really hot, we’ll head to Clear Lake, where the water is very nearly freezing. With a diving suit, a person can dip below the surface to see an ancient petrified forest. Boats are available to people who want to stay out of the water but peer down at the trees through the very clear water.

Come evening, we’ll want to watch the skies for beautiful views of the stars. The Oregon Observatory at Sunriver and the Allen Elizabethan Theatre are prime spots. One has stargazing technology, the other is an open-air amphitheater where you can watch both Shakespeare and the heavens. After that, we’ll be tired from our long day out. When it comes to bed, we’re torn. We can’t decide if we want to stay at the Timberline Lodge, the hotel from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining or a “Treesort.” As film fans, we would enjoy staying at the Timberline Lodge, especially as it isn’t haunted in real life. But, the Out and About Treehouse Treesort is a hotel where you spend the night in a treehouse! Both places are huge draws, so we will see where the road takes us!  

Banner: Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Image:

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