The natural beauty of Oregon changes with the seasons, and each season brings its own wonders to make Oregon an outdoor-lover’s paradise.
Snowy adventures in the mountains, springtime bike outings, water sports in warm weather and winery stops in the fall are just a few ways to explore. We’ve picked an activity for each month of the year, but don’t worry if you can’t make it that month. Many are available during a range of months or even year-round. Get a new perspective about Oregon’s diverse regions and all the things to do and see in this adventurous state.
Winter doesn’t have to keep you indoors. When the snow falls, it’s time to get a breath of fresh alpine air and some exercise with a snowshoe hike. For breathtaking views of Lake of the Woods and Mount McLoughlin, snowshoe Great Meadow Sno-Park in the Cascade Range. You’ll see winter beauty at its grandest.
The magnificent Cathedral Rock at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Take a road trip on the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway any time of the year, but we love driving this route in February because it feels like you have it all to yourself. The byway is truly a journey through time, passing by prehistoric fossil beds and mining boomtowns. One of the best surprises of this otherworldly trail is the Painted Hills portion though the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Marvel at the distinct layers of bright colors created over millions of years.
Hiking urban nature trails in Forest Park in Portland
You don’t have to leave the city limits of Portland to find natural beauty. Forest Park is an incredible urban forest with more than 128 kilometers of trails. Stretch your legs on the 48-kilometer Wildwood Trail, surrounded by the lush forest’s flora and fauna.
Where normal mountain bikes would sink, fat-tire bikes seemingly float. Rent a fat-tire bike any time of year to explore in the snow or sand along the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway. April is the perfect time to bike the Southern Oregon coast, where you’ll encounter dunes, tidepools and dramatic rock formations in a 98-kilometer stretch.
Hot-air balloon views of the scenic Willamette Valley
Nestled in Oregon’s wine-making region is an experience you’re not likely to forget. Vista Balloon Adventures takes passengers high in the air over the Willamette Valley with views of hills, farms, the Willamette River and, on clear days, 10 volcanic peaks. Don’t worry if you can’t make it in May; the balloon company usually operates from April to October.
Soaring through the Fremont-Winema National Forest on a zip line
Break free and soar through the trees on a zip line adventure in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Crater Lake Zipline showcases splendid views of the Cascade Range, and the experience is led by knowledgeable guides. Zip lining is an active way to experience Oregon’s outdoors. Crater Lake Zipline is open from April to November.
A thrilling white-water rafting adventure on the Rouge River
When the temperatures rise, it’s time for water sports. Go white-water rafting on the Rogue River, which is one of 209 designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers in the USA. First-timers and skilled white-water rafters alike enjoy the river for its wildlife and scenery. With it running 65 kilometers, you’re bound to find the right river trip for you.
Traveling to Mount Howard’s peak via the Wallowa Lake Tramway
Go for sky-high views with a ride on the Wallowa Lake Tramway. Scaling Mount Howard, the gondola climbs more than 1,120 meters to the summit, opening up to views of Wallowa Lake Village and Wallowa Lake. Hiking trails and the Summit Grill await at the top after the stunning 15-minute ascent.
Dig for the ultimate Oregon souvenir: the thunder egg. Thunder eggs are tangerine-size rocks with sparkling quartz interiors. They’re a testament to the geographical wonders of Oregon. Find your very own thunder egg at Richardson’s Rock Ranch in Madras, Oregon. Search for rocks during digging season from roughly March to October, and visit the ranch’s rock shop year-round.
Explore the Oregon Coast region on horseback. C&M Stables offers tours for all skill levels. Ride on the beach, along sand dune trails and through a forest. Try the sunset beach ride for a special experience.