5 Amazing Parks You Should Make the Detour to Visit in Oregon

Isn’t it odd that for many of us, we can live in the same state for most of our life, yet never visit the parks that are right outside our back door.

I mean seriously, we’ll travel hundreds of miles to other states to visit their national parks, but never our own.

Or if you’re like me, I travel across the state almost monthly delivering pork, but am always in a rush to get from one point to the next and back home again.

I steal glances of these natural wonders as I drive by, probably making the cars behind me nervous as I swerve all over the road, wishing I would have put the time in my schedule to stop.

We lived in Alaska for 17 years and never took the time to really travel the state until the last two years when we knew we’d be moving soon. 

There is SO much I still wish I could go back and see.

Yet, here I am living in Oregon again, and of the top 5 parks in Oregon to see, I haven’t even been to half of them.

No surprise, Crater Lake is number one!

I’ve drove right by the entrance of this park twice in the last two years and have never took the time to stop.

Crater Lake is on my bucket list.

Photo courtesy of TripAdviosr

Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama blew its top. 

The caldera left by the volcano erupting is filled with a deep blue, clear water making it the deepest lake in the United States. 

There are several hiking trails at Crater Lake National Park and they suggest giving yourself at least 3 hours to really enjoy the park.

Did you know it’s Oregon’s only National Park?

Me, niether!

Next, it’s the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

The Oregon dunes make up about a forty-mile recreational area that runs along the Oregon coast.

It’s one of the largest areas of temperate coastal and dunes in the world, with the forests and ocean all together in such close proximity.

There are thirty lakes in this forty-mile area.

I imagine you could spend a week on the coast and still not see it all!

How about number three, Deschutes National Forest.

Photo courtesy of TripAdviosr

Thinking back, I have seen a lot more of Deschutes National Forest than I originally thought.

There are dozens of lakes, lava fields and hiking/biking trails with some amazing views of the Cascade mountains.

Suttle Lake was one of my favorite places to go swimming in the summer.  

There was a HUGE floating log that made for the best dock to jump from in the middle of the lake.  

You’d get several kids pushing the thing around the lake.

Ever been spelunking?

Yes!  It’s really a word. LOL!

Yah, I’d never heard of it before either until my Mom said it when we were exploring some caves out here in Princeton.

Spelunking: the exploration of caves, especially as a hobby (Oxford Dictionaries)

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is number 4.

Photo courtesy of TripAdviosr

You get to wander through narrow, twisting underground passages enjoying all the strangely beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

Make sure you pack a sweatshirt.

The cave is a chilly 44 degrees year round!  Perfect place to visit on a hot day to cool off!

And number 5, the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

When I was in the 5th grade, our school took us up to Camp Hancock. 

I don’t know if it even exists anymore. 

We spent three or four days out there exploring the trails and finding our own fossils.

Now, I drive through the area once a year when I make a run to Thomas Orchards in Kimberley to get buy peaches, pears and cherries.

The hills at John Day Fossil Park are "alive" with color.

Make sure you have a full tank of gas and plenty of water as refill spots are scarce.

There are plenty of trails of varying lengths that you can hike.

You’re gonna want to plan a whole day out here exploring, plus travel time to get to the area.

Plan some time and go!

Have you visited any of these places?

Comment or send me a message and let me know.

I’d love to hear what you thought of them!

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