Back in December, we visited Oregon and Washington. It was my first time in Washington. We were lucky with incredible weather considering the time of year. Some of the places we visited:
Columbia River Gorge
An amazing place with towering waterfalls in mossy glens and views of the gorge. Sadly, many of the roads and access to the falls were closed due to a fire in the Fall. Regardless, it was very much worth the visit.
A scenic town in Oregon along the Columbia River with shops and brewpubs.
White River Falls State Park
Much of Oregon is actually a desert with sage and juniper. We stopped by this small, out of the way park and it was impressive. Large waterfalls tumbled down a canyon. There were also ruins of an old hydroelectric project.
Smith Rock State Park
One of Oregon’s most popular state parks, Smith Rock features huge cliffs and beautiful canyons. It was like a piece of Utah in Oregon. Highly recommended.
Peter Skene Ogden State Park
A small park that provided views of a deep canyon with steel arch bridges and an old railroad bridge.
Silver Falls State Park
One of Oregon’s premier parks, Silver Falls features several beautiful waterfalls, several over 100 feet tall, in gorges with huge trees and mossy rainforests. You can ever walk behind several falls with their huge rock overhangs. A must visit.
Cape Lookout State Park
The Oregon coast was stunning with its beaches, sea stacks, and cliffs. Cape Lookout was a nice hike with some impressive forests and views. The point is a popular place to watch whales.
A quaint town along the shore with views of sea stacks. We ate at Roseanna’s Café, which had very good food.
Cape Meares State Park
This park features a lighthouse, short trails, and great views of the coast. The Octopus Tree is one of the most unique trees you’ll ever see.
Munson Creek Falls State Park
Another quick stop, this small park was worth the drive. A short trail ended at a view of an impressive 300 foot waterfall, the tallest in western Oregon.
Oswald West State Park
This is one of Oregon’s most popular parks on the coast. I wish we had more time to explore, but we did enjoy an incredible sunset.
We stopped by in twilight, and it was stunning. A broad sandy beach bordered by cliffs and sea stacks, with a waterfall. A truly beautiful place.
We explored Portland; it was a very nice city that kind of reminded me of Pittsburgh with all the bridges, bike trails, and hills. We saw Powell’s bookstore and the Japanese gardens. The city has a large homeless population, which was sad to see.
Mt. St. Helens
A highlight of the trip, it was great to finally see the mountain I’ve always heard about. The great weather allowed us to drive fairly close to the mountain. We could see its huge crater and vast wastelands of ash. The devastation of the eruption was incredible.
An incredible rainforest with moss and towering spruce and fir trees. We also saw the world’s largest Sitka Spruce.
Olympic National Park
One of the most beautiful national parks that I’ve seen. Rialto beach featured sea stacks and cliffs. Marymere Falls was a beautiful hike into a stunning forest and a 90 foot falls. We also made the drive up to Hurricane Ridge with jaw dropping views of the Olympic Mountains, which are some of the most beautiful in the U.S. with their snowcapped peaks and deep green forests.
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
A sand spit home to birds and wildlife, it also has great views of the ocean, and the Olympic Mountains. A fine place for a sunset.
A beautiful city, we saw the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and trails along the waterfront.
Mt. Rainier National Park
The most impressive mountain I have ever seen, Mt. Rainier is absolutely huge. It dominates the landscape with its massive peak and glaciers. We were able to drive to Paradise and the views were incredible with the vivid white snow and deep blue skies.
Mt. Hood on the flight home: