I have officially made my way travelling through Oregon in an RV. I have put together a highlight of some of my favorite places, along with some of the hiccups I had on the way.
I technically drove through Oregon twice - once was just a quick stop from Idaho to get into the state of Washington. During this trip, we stopped at Hells Canyon which technically crosses both Oregon and Idaho. It was a bit of a mess to get there because you drive through A LOT of forest and my cell service went out (we got lost). It is an absolutely beautiful place when you make it there, though.
My only gripe was that there isn't anywhere to hike near the canyon. We really just drove there, took some pictures, then left. I typically try to get Kona a nice hike after a long drive and we were not able to do that.
I came back to the far west side of Oregon after visiting Washington. I skipped Portland. I know, I know, how can I skip Portland while in Oregon? I have already been to Portland. I travelled there and explored a few years ago, so I didn't see a need to go back.
Anyway, passing through Portland to get to the Oregon Coast was the plan. We stayed a night in the beautiful Tillamook State Forest, and then headed to explore the coast for the next few days. There are so many beautiful parks in the area - so much hiking!
We started at Cape Lookout State Park which is about 15-20 minutes southwest of Tillamook. We got here towards the end of October, so it was a bit chilly but still gorgeous. We tried hiking the Lookout Trail, but after about a mile in, it was SO muddy that it was impossible to continue on. We decided to go down and explore the beach area instead and Kona had an absolute blast doing so.
Later that day, we headed up to Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint for a hike. It felt like we were in a rainforest. The hike led to a beautiful beach where we spent some time near the water before heading back.
The last hike we did in the area was the next day at Sand Lake Recreation Area in Pacific City, about a 40 minute drive from Tillamook. Sand dunes! I have never seen an actual sand dune so this was a really awesome experience. We hiked to the top of one and I can tell you that hiking up a sand dune is no joke. We were covered in sweat (and sand) by the time we got up there. Worth it, though.
After leaving the coast area, we headed to Salem, Oregon for a few days. We were mainly here for their internet connection (I had to work) but did manage to find some fun things along the way. Bush's Pasture Park in Salem is awesome. A lot of the time when I am staying in a city, it's hard to find somewhere decent to walk Kona. This park has 90+ acres of land and dozens of trails to check out. It is perfect for anyone in the area with a pup who needs some exercise.
After Salem, we headed more East to check out the famous Tamolitch Blue Pool in the Willamette National Forest. We stayed in the forest the night prior, which was great because the trail ended up being only a 7 minute drive. It was pouring outside but I wanted to see it, we were there, so it was happening. It was absolutely worth it. The hike itself was very rocky and steep in some spots - a good workout overall. The pool was epic. So blue and so pretty. I decided not to climb down to the bottom because of how wet and slippery the rocks were, but the views from above were just as good.
Near the Blue Pool is Smith Rock State Park; a gorgeous area with several rock formations and trails throughout. Because we had already hiked 4 miles, I opted for a shorter trail. Absolutely gorgeous views along the riverside but even with the rain, Smith Rock State Park is extremely popular.
In addition to all of the hiking we did, we stopped at some pretty fun places! Obviously while in Tillamook we had to visit the Tillamook Creamery (I actually went twice). I took a guided tour and indulged in some ice cream and deep fried cheese curds. The whole place is such an experience, I highly recommend.
Also in Tillamook is Blue Heron French Cheese Company. We stayed overnight here for two nights through Harvest Hosts and it was delightful. Their retail store has many options of cheese, snacks, gifts, and other goodies. There is also a deli and a candy shoppe to get your sweet tooth fix. The best part, in my opinion, is their petting zoo outside. I explored Blue Heron multiple times while we were here and it was exciting each time!
The last place I will mention was another Harvest Host - Willamette Valley Smokehouse. They are located on the south side of Salem, Oregon and offer the most delicious BBQ and craft beers. The location has been open only a few months, but contains an event tent, several fire pits and heat lamps, outdoor games, live music, and more. If I lived in the area, this is somewhere I would spend a lot of my free time.