Ecola State Park, Oregon © Cacophony
Oregon has one of the most diverse landscapes of any state in the USA, with its towering mountains, thick forests, arid scrublands, wide prairies, deserts, and the scenic Pacific coastline. It sits in the northwest, bordered by the ocean and states of California, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada.
Along its northern boundary lies the Columbia River, its area encompassing the fertile Willamette Valley and the two mountain ranges of the Pacific Coast and the Cascade. Here there are lift-serviced alpine skiing operators.
Most of Oregon's countryside is remarkably unspoiled, from beaches to valleys to mountain peaks. It boasts natural attractions like Hell's Canyon, the deepest gorge in northern America, as well as hundreds of miles of rivers and more than 6,000 lakes. This includes Crater Lake, the deepest in the USA.
In addition, more than half of the state is covered in natural forest. This makes it a delight for nature lovers, although its merits as an outdoor adventure tourist destination are slightly marred by an over-abundance of rain.
It is far easier to head west on the Oregon Trail today than it was for the historic pioneers in their covered wagons, but visitors are no less delighted by the charms of this destination than were the gutsy emigrants of the mid-1800s.
Straddling the Willamette River, the largest city in Oregon is Portland. Although Salem is the state capital, Portland is modern, compact, vibrant, and the commercial and tourist hub of the state. It is famous for its locally brewed beer and multitude of roses.