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Trip Ideas:  Taste of Oregon ~ Hells Canyon ~ Journey Through Time ~ Lakes and Lava ~ Three Capes Loop

Taste of OregonOne of our most popular trips is what we call the "Taste of Oregon". It's kind of a sampler platter of what Oregon has to offer. You get to enjoy the diverse Oregon landscapes, from the rugged southern Oregon coast to the High Desert country with its volcanic lakes. Enjoy stops at the majestic redwoods in northern California and at the gem of the Cascade Range, Crater Lake, Oregon's only national park. This tour offers many options for longer or shorter trips but is ideal for the 7-10 day tour. Ask us about the many activities along the way.

Helpful Tour Info

Printable PDF of Taste of Oregon Tour map

Detailed website about the Taste of Oregon Tour and the attractions along the way

Sample 7-Day Trip Itinerary

Day 1 (Friday):

Depart Wilsonville and head south on I-5 to exit 162 the Curtin/Drain exit. You will be heading west on highway 38 towards the small town of Elkton. At Elkton you will pick up the Umpqua River and follow it to the Oregon Coast at Reedsport. Just prior to the junction with Hwy 101 on the south side of 38 is Dean’s Creek elk viewing station. Pull over in the parking lot and view the rather large herd of Elk grazing in the fields. 

At highway 101 head south just a few miles to the town of Winchester Bay. As the name implies you will be at the mouth of the river where it meets the ocean. This area has a lot of camping spots, Windy Cove, Winchester Bay marina, Tugman State Park, Umpqua Lighthouse SP as well as some private parks. This area offers crabbing opportunities from the long pier that extends into the bay or just watching other people angle for them. For the more adventurous there are boat, bait, and ring rentals. If dune buggy rides are on your to-do list there are many vendors that are for hire in this area. 

Day 2 (Saturday):

After accomplishing what you want in Winchester Bay head south towards Coos Bay but just prior at North Bend head west towards Charleston and make your way to Sunset Bay State Park. Although not your destination the signs will be easy to recognize. It can also be an alternate to Winchester Bay if you like.  The real focus is on Shores Acres SP. Once a private residence owned by a shipping tycoon, it is now a place with breathtaking ocean views some 50 ft above the crashing surf. Later wander through the formal gardens, water features, and part of the estate. On summer weekends do not be surprised  to find a wedding going on here. From there we are heading Bandon to walk the old town waterfront, have lunch and sample the local cheeses. Our ultimate destination for the night is Cape Blanco SP. Don’t miss the turn off just passed the Sixes river. At the turn off you drive  through five miles of cranberry bogs and sheep fields heading toward the most westerly point of the continental United States. As you approach the Cape you will notice some outbuildings to the left. These are open season as well as the lighthouse. Depending on the wind conditions you can drive or walk to see the lighthouse. As you enter the camping area you will be entering an area created by 100’s of years of wind shaping the trees into tangled bushes, like living under a mushroom. This park was initially formed as an equestrian park and a few stables are still in use today.  The beauty of this park is its solitude. Rarely can you walk on the beach without some development, so take a walk south from the campground to the mouth of the Elk River. It is not often that you will find two rivers entering the ocean in such close proximity. 

Day 3 (Sunday):

We are now heading to Gold Beach, a quiet logging town at the mouth of the Rogue River. Book a jet boat ride up the Rogue. From hwy 101 you can look upriver and see the first rapids. Compare that to the Umpqua from just a few days ago that didn’t have a rapid until 38 miles inland. As for the Jet boat rides they can vary in length and time. Some runs even provide dinner up the river. This river is know for its diverse fisheries. Sturgeon, trout and many species of salmon migrate their way upriver to the headwaters of the river. The headwaters that we will visit in a couple of days. For the night we are heading to Harris Beach SP just north of Brookings. Harris Beach is one of the best SP on our coastline. Access to the bays are second to none…enjoy. If ocean fishing is in the cards then Brookings or Chetco Harbor are great places to launch. This area tends to have easier access to the ocean and you are less likely to get seasick. 

Day 4 (Monday):

Next we head south into Crescent city and out hwy 199 up the Smith River. Make sure to stop at Jedidiah Smith SP and walk through the redwoods. This can be a destination if you want to skip Harris Beach/Brookings. On your way to Grants Pass for a lunch break there is a spot at Cave Junction where you can detour to the Oregon Caves for those that want to go spelunking. Be advised that this detour is 16 miles one way and can be very winding. Our goal for this afternoon is to get to Crater Lake. We are shooting for Shady Cove or Prospect staying at either Lost Creek Reservoir or Joseph Stewart SRA. Notice we are camping on or near the Rogue River that we took a jet boat ride on a couple days back. 

Day 5 (Tuesday):

Crater Lake is awesome at any time but if you can get there early in the morning or last at night, the sunsets and sunrises can be breathtaking. Here you are standing atop the Cascade Range. The deepest lake in the US, Crater Lake is actually the crater left when Mt. Mazama erupted. It is world renowned for its clear waters that come from the fact that there are no tributaries or inlets and the water is sourced purely from rain and snowmelt. After taking in this treasure head north to the high desert area of Central Oregon. Notice the more arid climate dominated by pine trees, sage brush and Madrone bushes. The landscapes are greatly formed by volcanic activities as most of the lakes in this region were formed by past volcanoes. My choice of camping is at East Lake or Paulina Lake inside the Newberry Crater itself. The amount of activities available in this region are numerous. You can visit the High Desert museum just south of Bend. You can do the Paulina plunge where you rent bikes and ride from the top of the mountain down stopping to do explore the numerous waterfalls, some of which you can actually slide off of into a pool. 

Day 6 (Wednesday):

There is plenty to do in the city of Bend as well. There are many delicious eateries and breweries. The Deschutes River runs right through town and you can get kayaks or inner tubes for the kids. Endless possibilities really. On the North side of Bend you can find Tumalo SP. It is a good landing spot to set up adventures such as white water rafting trips on the Deschutes as far north as Maupin for the daredevils. Or if you are into hiking, photography, rock climbing, or even just watching people rock climb then Smith Rock is the place for you. You can also hike along the crooked river that almost encircles Smith Rock. If you want to get your rock hound fix you could head East to the Painted Hills to see another of Oregon’s seven wonders. 

Day 7 (Thursday):

Heading from Bend on HWY 22 our ultimate goal is Silver Falls SP. You can stop on the way and fish or swim in Detroit Lake or if you are into hiking, continue straight to Silver Falls. This is a hikers paradise. You can hike on “The Trail of Ten Falls”, a nine mile loop that actually passes behind some of the falls. There are variations of the loop for shorter hikes that still lead you to waterfalls you can walk behind if you are ready to relax at the end of your trip. We love this location both for its stunning beauty and it is only about a one hour drive from our location.

Day 8 (Friday):

Hopefully you have the RV cleaned on the inside at this point. Make some breakfast, stop at the truck wash in Donald on I-5 exit 178 if you wish to wash the outside of the unit, fill it up with gas and propane and return it to us by 10AM.

This is  a guide for doing the taste of Oregon trip in a week. You probably won’t be able to get it all in, but if you pick which things matter most to you, you will be able to do a lot of fun things. Being an 800 mile trip you will only be doing about 2 hrs of driving per day which is a good number. 

As you can tell by the numerous activities and sights along the way we recommend having a 10 day rental, or if you can swing it, a two week to see all the sights and not feel rushed going from place to place to place.

Click for a detailed website about the Taste of Oregon Tour and the attractions along the way.


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