25 Best National Parks In Oregon
25 Best National Parks In Oregon
A national park in Oregon

Each of Oregon’s national parks offers a unique place where both Oregon residents and visitors can relax, hike, camp, picnic, play and more in the great outdoors. From the waterfalls to the coast and from the fertile valley to the arid desert, every corner of the state of Oregon features sprawling areas of daily use camps, well maintained and extensive networks of trails.

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Cottonwood Canyon State Park, spanning more than 8,000 acres, is a vast and rugged park, from rocky and arid grasslands to deep canyons stretching in all directions for miles to vertical cliffs carved by the area’s John Day River. Activities in the park include hiking, fishing, rowing, camping and horseback riding. The Lost Corral and Pinnacles Trail are both 4.3 miles and travel downstream along both sides of the picturesque John Day River. The Pinnacles Trail starts at the campsite, while the Lost Corral Trail starts at JS Burres. The Hard Stone Trail is 1.5 miles.

Champoeg State Park

Champoeg State Park boasts a unique collection of recreational activities, nature and history and is the site where Oregon’s first interim government was created in 1843 with a historic vote. Visitors can visit the Pioneer Mothers Log Cabin museum as a way to see what pioneer life was like in Champoeg, as well as explore Newell House and the visitor center. Behind the park’s visitor center is an 1860s style garden. Located on the Willamette River, Champoeg State Park offers an impressive setting with acres of wetlands, fields and forests that recreate the landscape of a bygone era.

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park is located approximately one hour and thirty minutes west of the city of Portland, Oregon. Visitors to the park will find great fishing opportunities, scenic views and waterfalls along the Wilson River Pass. Cape Lookout, a popular daytime and camping area, is located between the Pacific Ocean and Netarts Bay on a spit of sand, offering spectacular ocean views and beach access. One of the most popular activities in Cape Lookout State Park is beachcombing. Over eight miles of walking and hiking trails wind through the park’s old forest.

Harris Beach State Park

Harris Beach State Park is named after George Harris, a Scottish pioneer who settled in the area during the late 1880s to raise cattle and sheep. This park is home to the largest island on the coast of Oregon: Bird Island, also known as Goat Island. The island is a breeding site for rare species of birds, including the quilted puffin, and is an established national wildlife sanctuary. Harris Beach State Park also includes sandy beaches with occasional rocky outcrops that are home to tidal pools with a wide range of life, while you can see piles of seawater dotting the ocean offshore.

Beverly Beach State Park

Beverly Beach State Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the state of Oregon. A footbridge travels under a highway and emerges on a wide stretch of sandy beach that stretches from the head of Yaquina to the headlands of Otter Rock. Kites can be seen flying in the wind when the weather is fine. Surfing is popular on the north beach. The Beverly Beach State Park includes a picnic area, a children’s playground, a forest sheltered campsite and a sandy beach. The Visitor Information Center provides information about the area and sells souvenirs and firewood.

Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens State Park was once the main military defense site of the Harbour Defense System, located at the mouth of the Columbia River in the region. Fort Stevens is now a national park covering approximately 4,300 acres, offering recreation, nature exploration and history. The historic military fortress, historic shipwreck, wildlife watching, hiking and biking trails, a freshwater lake for swimming, beach and camping make Fort Stevens State Park a diverse park in Oregon. Lake Coffenbury offers a boat ramp, a picnic area, two swimming areas and restrooms, while two smaller lakes offer opportunities for canoeing and fishing.

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Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Fort Vancouver is located along the northern bank of the Columbia River, overlooking a dynamic urban landscape and nearby snow-capped peaks, and boasts a rich cultural history, home to community stories, conflicts, settlements and transitions. The National Historic Site of Fort Vancouver consists of four different sites for visitors to explore: McLoughlin House, the Pearson Air Museum, the U.S. Army’s Vancouver Barracks and Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Vancouver Reconstruction. The Visitor Center hosts practical and creative exhibitions that bring together stories and sites.

John Day Fossil Beds

John Day’s fossilized beds are home to a variety of colorful rock formations, preserving a record number of world-class animal and plant evolution, past ecosystems and climate change spanning more than forty million years. A workshop and exhibits at the park’s Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center, along with scenic excursions and units in each of the park’s three units, allow guests to see science in action and explore the state of Oregon’s prehistoric past. John Day’s fossil beds consist of the Rock Sheep unit, the Painted Hills unit and the Clarno unit.

LaPine National Park in Oregon

The LaPine State Park allows visitors to immerse themselves in a subalpine forest with high waterfall fresh air. The park has a quiet and clean campsite located along the winding Upper Deschutes River, which is full of trout and has a legendary fly fishing spot nearby. During the summer, popular recreational activities in the LaPine State Park include floating, fishing, mountain biking and hiking. Thousands of wild lands can be explored throughout the park, as well as dozens of lakes on top of the mountains.

Nez Perce National Historical Park

The Nez Perce National Historical Park preserves plateaus, mountains, prairies and valleys that have been the home of the Nez Perce people for thousands of years. Extremely resilient people, they have adapted to the settlement of the country and this park offers visitors the opportunity to learn their stories and explore the places they called home. The park consists of thirty-eight different sites, spread over a large portion of the traditional home of the Nez Perce in what is now Oregon, Montana, Washington and Idaho. The main visitor center is located in Spalding, Idaho.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park offers the opportunity to explore great coastal scenery and timeless rainforests, as well as discover the rich heritage of the region’s indigenous peoples. The historic park shares the dramatic and interesting stories of two of America’s most famous explorers, including sites along the Pacific coast and the Columbia River. The park includes about fourteen and a half miles of trails. These trails follow paths similar to those undertaken by the Discovery Corps in the past. A replica of Fort Clatsop can be seen at the visitor center.

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Milo McIver State Park

Milo McIver State Park is located on the banks of the Clackamas River, just forty-five minutes from the city of Portland. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, with the opportunity to spend a day or many days exploring one of the state’s lesser known gems. Those who love the weather on the Clackamas River on kayaks, canoes or rubber dinghies. Fishermen can use the fishing dock or boat ramp on Lake Estacada for fishing or the Chinook and Steelhead rides on the river. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour of the Clackamas fish farm.

Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park is sometimes referred to as the “crown jewel” of Oregon’s state park system. It is somewhat extraordinary among scenic treasures with historical presence, unlimited recreational opportunities and natural beauty. Nestled at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, less than an hour away from the state capital, the 9,200-acre park is the largest in Oregon State Park and one of its most popular travel destinations. The Trail of Ten Falls, a nationally recognized and spectacular hiking trail, winds through dense forests, passing through a series of beautiful waterfalls. There are also several picnic areas.

Nehalem Bay State Park

Nehalem Bay State Park is located between the bay and the Pacific Ocean on a four-mile long spit of sand, with a two-day area ideal for entire families and a campsite. A 1.8-mile wooded bike path offers spectacular views of the water. The campsite borders the gentle dunes on the beach and is located among the pine trees on the shore. Visitors can relax with the sounds of the ocean, fly kites and build sand castles on the beach, while beachcombing for glass floats, shells and agates is also a popular activity in Nehalem Bay State Park.

Oregon State Capitol State Park

The Oregon State Capitol State Park features cherry trees and other types of plants preferred by Oregon residents, but also shares some of the state’s history. Stone plaques have been placed on the sidewalks of the mall, listing the date of establishment and the county capital for each of the counties in the state of Oregon. The park motifs include three different fountains: the Capitol Fountain at the north end of the Capitol Mall, the Wall of Water in front of the capital’s main entrance, and the Waite Fountain in Willson Park west of the Capitol Building.

Tryon Creek State Natural Area

The Tryon Creek state natural area is an oasis in the bustling city of Portland, Oregon, and is the only state park in Oregon located within a large metropolitan area. The park includes eight miles of hiking trails, three and a half miles of equestrian trails, a three-mile paved bike path, a wetland walkway, eight bridges, the Glenn Jackson Shelter and a nature center with a store and interpretation exhibits. Special events, school trips, a Junior Ranger program, summer camps and guided excursions are offered at various times throughout the year.

Shore Acres State Park

The Shore Acres State Park is an unexpected and exciting combination of beautiful natural and built features perched on sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Formerly owned by Louis Simpson, a pioneer timber baron, Shore Acres State Park boasts lush gardens that include flowers and other plants from around the world. The gardens present something in bloom almost every day throughout the year. Visitors can find a formal garden, two rose gardens and a Japanese-style garden with a water lily pond in the landscaped area of the park. Colored lights conquer the gardens during the Christmas holidays.

The Cove Palisades State Park

The Cove Palisades State Park is considered an ideal recreational destination for the whole family. The park is nestled among high cliffs surrounding the picturesque Billy Chinook Lake and includes a variety of recreational water activities, fishing, The Cove Palisades Resort and Marina, rental services, a restaurant, a store and a full service campsite. Deluxe cabins are also available on the lake shore. The Cove Palisades State Park also boasts nearly ten miles of hiking trails that offer access to areas with beautiful scenery and wildlife observation. Kayak tours are also offered at The Cove Palisades State Park.

Wallowa Lake State Park

Wallowa Lake State Park offers visitors a variety of activities for the whole family. The campsite in the park is surrounded by snow-covered mountains on three sides, as well as a large picturesque lake. Just outside the park area are the Wallowa Lake trailhead, miniature golf, canoeing, go-karting, horseback riding and a streetcar that takes passengers to the top of Mount Howard. Wallowa Lake also serves as a gateway to the deepest gorge on the continent, Hells Canyon. A community of artists and gift stores are also located near Wallowa Lake State Park.

Bullards Beach State Park

Bullards Beach State Park is a large family-friendly state park located about two miles from Bandon, Oregon. Its campground is located within coastal pines protected by strong ocean breezes. The park has campsites on three different rings, each of which contains at least electrical and water connections. There are also thirteen yurts available in Bullards Beach State Park, six of which are pets. The equestrian camp in the park includes access to the dunes and beach for equestrian campers. In addition to camping, the park offers fishing, fishing, mountain biking and hiking opportunities.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is a park that inspires reverential fear in many people who visit. Native Americans saw the formation of the lake more than 7,700 years ago with a high peak collapsed following a violent eruption. Scientists often marvel at the purity of Lake Crater, fed by snow and rain. This lake is considered probably the most pristine lake in the world, as well as one of the most beautiful, and is also the deepest lake in the country at about 1,943 feet deep. The cliffs surround Crater Lake, located atop the scenic Cascade mountain range.

Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park

The Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park is a beautiful and versatile state park on the Oregon coast, about three miles from Florence, Oregon. The park is home to the second largest campground in the national parks in Oregon, providing over 350 campsites. Honeyman Memorial State Park also includes sand dunes, hiking trails and two natural freshwater lakes. Lake Woahink offers a boat ramp for the public, while Cleawox is a good lake for swimming. Visitors can rent canoes to explore the lakes more. Many family reunions are held in the summer, while blackberries and huckleberries are ripe to be picked in the fall.

LL Stub Stewart State Park

LL Stub Stewart State Park is located just thirty-four miles from the city of Portland, Oregon, and offers a wonderful backyard of adventure. Riders, cyclists, hikers and campers can spend days exploring the state park’s 1,800 acres of wildflowers, glistening streams, forest clearings and rolling hills, all crisscrossed by a network of trails over 25 miles long. The park’s multi-purpose trails, along with six miles of mountain bike and cross-country trails, range from easy to challenging and allow visitors to immerse themselves in the fantastic scenery, along with opportunities to see various wildlife.

South Beach State Park

South Beach State Park begins in Newport, near the Yaquina Bay Bridge, then stretches for many miles along the Oregon coast. The historic park offers many opportunities for recreation, including a great place to bike or jog along the pier path. Visitors can rent bicycles at the welcome center during the summer. The equestrian path leading to the beach starts at the South Pier Path. The South Beach State Park also contains a nine-hole golf course, horseshoe holes and a children’s play area. Summer activities for kids, guided hikes and interpretive programs are also offered in summer.

Oregon Caves

The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is home to winding, dark passages waiting to be discovered in the Siskiyou mountains of the area. There are a variety of tours offered in the park for visitors of all ages, offering the opportunity to explore the mountains, get an idea of what caving is all about and discover fascinating sites. The Discover Cave Tour takes guests on an exploration guided by rangers of shimmering fluid stones, a labyrinth of marble passageways and a huge room located 220 below the earth’s surface. There is also a cave tour specially designed for children and families. Both last about ninety minutes.