This Scenic Road Trip Route Highlights Many Of Oregon's Hidden Gems And Top Attractions

If you're looking to explore a destination in the United States that has it all, it's time to plan a trip to Oregon. Located in the Pacific Northwest, it's a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and culture lovers alike. Oregon is expansive and diverse, with wild rivers, hip cities, lush rainforests, rugged mountains, high deserts, and breathtaking remote beaches sheltered by rocky cliffs. The Beaver State is the ninth largest state, with incredible attractions scattered all over. The best way to experience everything Oregon has to offer is to plan an epic road trip. 

Our route for the perfect Oregon road trip starts and ends in Portland, making it an easy option for travelers flying in and renting a car. Along the way, depending on your travel style, you can sleep in hotels, camp in a tent, or stay in your RV. Grab your favorite road snacks, pack your bags, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. You can explore thriving cities, relax in picturesque towns, check out iconic natural wonders, plan a coastal hiking adventure, and discover hidden gems. Depending on how much time you have to travel, you can complete this road trip in about a week or stretch it to two weeks if you want to make plenty of stops or spend several nights to fully immerse yourself in a particular destination along the way.

Portland to Silver Falls State Park

Portland is well known for being hip and vibrant. There are plenty of breweries, eclectic coffee shops serving the best coffee in America, and tasty eateries. The arts and culture scene is thriving and many locals are talented artisans and craftspeople. The city is sustainability-focused, with ample parks and green spaces. Portland is nicknamed the Rose City, so stop by the Portland Rose Garden to see some beautiful blooms, especially if you're embarking on your road trip between late May and mid-June.

After you've enjoyed Portland, head to the beautiful Pacific Northwest coastline. Stop for lunch in the quaint coastal town of Astoria before heading to Cannon Beach. With an expansive sandy beach and majestic rock formations just offshore, it's the perfect place to relax by the sea. Plan on spending the night and exploring the downtown area of Cannon Beach. The total drive time from Portland to Cannon Beach is about an hour and a half.

Continue down Oregon's coast to Tillamook Creamery for delicious local ice cream. After a snack stop, it's time to head inland and chase some waterfalls. Silver Falls State Park has one of the most stunning cascades in the Pacific Northwest, with an impressive height of 177 feet, and you can even walk behind it. It's about three hours from Cannon Beach. There are plenty of great hiking trails throughout the park where you can soak up the beautiful natural scenery. The state park has camping, RV sites, and cabin rentals available for overnight stays.

Willamette Valley to Columbia River Gorge

After you've explored Silver Falls State Park, it's a quick half-hour drive to Willamette National Forest, where you can kick back and relax in some of Oregon's amazing hot springs. The Terwilliger Hot Springs are located within the national forest, and the entrance fee is $10 per day. After a short hike, you can soak in the warm waters surrounded by lush forests. The hot springs are clothing optional.

When you're through at the hot springs, hop back in the car and drive for 40 minutes to the Tamolitch Blue Pool and Tamolitch Falls. Park at the Tamolitch Trailhead and enjoy a gorgeous 3.9-mile out-and-back hike through the forest to the shockingly blue pool. The water is ice-cold but makes for a refreshing swimming spot during the summer months. Two waterfalls can also be found nearby. The trail to Koosah and Sahalie Falls is about 2.5 miles and moderately challenging. If you love hiking and the outdoors, staying a night or two in this region is worth it.

Next, head to Mount Hood National Forest, where you can experience one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon and one of the most famous mountain climbs in the world. Due to its elevation, skiing is possible there year-round. From Mount Hood, it's a quick hour's drive to the Columbia River Gorge, where you can hike and enjoy epic views of the 4,000-foot-deep slot canyon.

More to explore

From the Columbia River Gorge, it's only about 20 miles back to Portland. This road trip route can be completed in as little as a week, but if you have more time, make sure to stop at the super cool cities of Eugene and Bend along the way. Other highlights include Umpqua National Forest and Crater Lake, which is the deepest lake in America. You could easily spend a month enjoying all of the beautiful destinations within the state, or break your road trip into several segments each time you return to Oregon.

The best time to visit Oregon is the summer when temperatures are warm and dry. Oregon is known for its gorgeous summers. Winters are rainy and somewhat gloomy with occasional snowfall. From June through September, the weather is absolutely lovely. Portland International Airport is the most accessible place to fly into, and flights arrive from around the world daily. Economy car rentals are available for under $15 per day, but if you plan to road trip through rugged parts of Oregon, make sure you do some research ahead of time because your route may require an all-wheel drive.