OREGON, USA: There are seven wonders of the world, but not one of them is in the American state of Oregon. Anybody who has visited Mount Hood, Crater Lake or Smith Rock would agree that this must be a mistake. To amend this, the state’s tourist organization Travel Oregon has just launched its largest campaign to date in order to raise awareness of the incredible natural wonders that can be found in Oregon. The campaign encourages people from around the world to visit Oregon and experience the state’s 7 most iconic natural wonders – most of which are quite unknown in Europe.
Oregon Coast. Oregon’s nearly 600 kilometres of Pacific coastline are protected by a nature conservation law and therefore completely undeveloped and free of ugly buildings that ruin the view. There are many ways to explore the OregonCoast. You can sandboard or dune buggy the sands, find your own hidden surf spot, watch the waves break at Devil’s Churn or the Devil’s Punch Bowl, find the surprise waterfall at Hug Point or look for whales and seals.
Mount Hood. There are many reasons why Mount Hood is one of Oregon’s greatest natural wonders. Its peak is covered with snow year round, crowned by 11 glaciers. There are no less than six ski areas on the beautiful mountainsides, and the historic Timberline Lodge offers year-round skiing. The flanks are dotted with beautiful alpine lakes, and in spring, lavender and wild flowers covers the surrounding forests and valleys. In summer and autumn the area turns into a pantry with apples, pears and berries – so much so that the trip between the mountain and the town of Hood River is known as the Fruit Loop.
Columbia River Gorge. Columbia River Gorge is a National Scenic Area and a famous gorge running along the legendary Columbia River, just a short drive from Portland. At Crown Point, you will find a spectacular view of the roaring ColombiaRiver. Driving along the historic Columbia River Highway, you will pass the unique natural phenomena such as the 186-meter waterfall Multnomah Falls. In the town of HoodRiver you have the opportunity to try windsurfing, kite surfing and parasailing. Finish the day with a cold pint of one of the area’s famous craft brews.
Crater Lake. Almost 600 meters at its deepest point, Crater Lake is America’s deepest lake – and one of the deepest in the world. The lake is surrounded by forest and cliffs that attest to fierce volcanic activity in the past. Hiking, backpacking, camping and picnicking are popular activities in the nature reserve surrounding the lake. In summer you can sail, hike or drive around Rim Drive, and in winter many people strap on snowshoes or cross-country skis and go on adventures in the snow-covered landscape.
Painted Hills. Millions of years of history are revealed in the elegant colourful layeres of the Painted Hills. The hills are named after the fascinating brown, reddish, golden and black nuances of the clay stones. The colours are most vivid in the late afternoon, and visitors find that the experience differs from visit to visit because of changing humidity and the light conditions.
The Wallowas. In the Wallowas mountains, stand on a mountaintop contemplating the high desert, which leads the thoughts to the Native Americans and the pioneers who crossed the American prairie in horse-drawn carriages. Look in the opposite direction and see the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see. You can hike or ride a horse to the top, but the quickest way to get there is to take the cable car that runs the approximately 1100 meters from WallowaLakeVillage to the peak of MountHoward. The area is ideal for camping and outdoor recreation.
Smith Rock. The desert-like landscape with huge volcanic rock formations is the perfect place if you like to climb. The park is known as the birthplace of American sport climbing. Beginners and experienced climbers will all find challenges at Smith Rock, but it is also possible to enjoy the surreal landscape hiking, mountain biking or simply enjoying the wildlife with eagles, falcons, otters and beavers. Smith Rock is located in central Oregon where the sun shines 300 days a year, and the area is an outdoor playground for those who love activities like golfing, caving, kayaking, canoeing and skiing. In addition to the scenic beauty, it is worth mentioning the area’s 24 microbreweries. Should be enough to keep even the biggest beer enthusiast entertained for a while!