View Map

Overview

Oregon is commonly perceived to be misty and fern-laden, and though this is the case for much of the land west of the Cascade Range, that is only a small part of this large state. From the west, the rocky coast is rimmed by the Coast Range, where wet forests do thrive. To the east of the Coast Range, roughly along the I-5 corridor, is the Willamette Valley, destination for Oregon Trail pioneers and now the site of Portland, Salem (the state capital), the university cities of Eugene and Corvallis, and the heart of Oregon's wine country.

East of the Willamette Valley, the Cascade Range rises, with forested lower hills leading up ...

Oregon is commonly perceived to be misty and fern-laden, and though this is the case for much of the land west of the Cascade Range, that is only a small part of this large state. From the west, the rocky coast is rimmed by the Coast Range, where wet forests do thrive. To the east of the Coast Range, roughly along the I-5 corridor, is the Willamette Valley, destination for Oregon Trail pioneers and now the site of Portland, Salem (the state capital), the university cities of Eugene and Corvallis, and the heart of Oregon's wine country.

East of the Willamette Valley, the Cascade Range rises, with forested lower hills leading up to high volcanic peaks, of which Mount Hood is the most prominent. At the state's northern edge, the mile-wide Columbia River carves a path through the Cascades, and this gorge is lined with waterfalls, hiking trails, and a splendid historic highway. East of the Cascades, the land is much drier, but no less gorgeous. The Deschutes and Crooked rivers have cut paths through the lava that covers much of central Oregon, and peaks such as the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor are nearly always in view.

In the far eastern part of the state, large ranches and farms, along with areas of national forest land, dominate. In the very northeastern corner, the Wallowa Mountains are often compared to the Alps and, at the Idaho border, Hells Canyon is both physically and psychically as far from the wet west side of the Cascades as you can get.

Oregon isn't all outdoorsy activity, of course. The cities offer all the urban amenities you could want, and Portland is recognized nationally as one of the country's most appealing, livable cities.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

view full overview

Judy Jewell for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance