Craving a nature-packed adventure in the Pacific Northwest? Here’s how to spend seven days in the Beaver State.
Day 1: Arrive in Portland, OR
Book roundtrip flights to Portland International Airport (PDX) and reserve a fuel-efficient rental car for the week. In just seven days, it’s nearly impossible to take in the beauty of all parts of Oregon. Portland is a lively and eccentric city in a relatively convenient location to sightseeing much of what Oregon has to offer within a two-hour drive or less. Opt for a pricier Downtown Portland hotel room instead of a rental by the airport, as you’ll have access to public transportation and be within walking distance to restaurants, breweries, and local boutiques.
Day 2: Mount Hood
Less than an hour and a half east of Portland towers Mount Hood, an active volcano which last erupted 1,500 years ago. Its snowy peak makes for a great view along many of the area’s popular hiking trails, such as the Ramona Falls trail or Burnt Lake trail. Both trails are rated as moderately difficult for the average hiker, with just shy of eight miles worth of hiking and breathtaking views. Daring hikers with plenty of experience in higher elevations can take on a few of Mount Hood’s more challenging trails, while families with small children can find a plethora of picnic areas and family-friendly hikes.
Day 3: Multnomah Falls
Get your cameras ready for the picturesque Multnomah Falls on your third day in Oregon, with only a 40-minute drive along the Columbia River. Reaching over 600 feet in height, Multnomah Falls is a photographer’s dream. Another hiking destination, Multnomah Falls is just one of many waterfalls accessible along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Nearby is Benson Lake, offering a disc golf course, picnic areas, and opportunities for swimming and fishing as well.
Day 4: Cannon Beach and Astoria, OR
Approximately 90 minutes west of Downtown Portland is the stunning Oregon coast, home to the famous Cannon Beach. Known for its giant rock formations along the shoreline, Cannon Beach is the ideal spot for wildlife peeping. In fact, tufted puffins frequent the beach’s Haystack Rock during the warmer months, observable to onlookers and making it a haven for avid birdwatchers. Later in the day, indulge in fresh seafood along the Columbia River in charming Astoria, a waterfront town 25 miles north of Cannon Beach.
Day 5: Explore Downtown Portland
Take a break from driving and take advantage of your surroundings by staying put in Portland for the day. Treat yourself to a feast at the Hawthorne Asylum food truck park, take a stroll through the city’s Japanese Garden, or create your own self-guided brewery crawl. Make your way over to Kachka for dinner to try your luck at Eastern European cuisine, with borscht and vodka being menu staples for this Russian haunt.
Day 6: Mount St. Helens
Technically located in Washington, volcanic Mount St. Helens looms less than two hours north of Portland. Although you’re crossing state lines (be sure to read the fine print of your rental car contract), such a powerful natural wonder is not to be missed. After its eruption in 1980, resulting in approximately 57 deaths and a colossal landslide, Mount St. Helens is frighteningly still considered to be the most active volcano in the Cascades. On your final full day in Oregon, why not make the drive to explore such a monumental figure of American history?
Day 7: Pack Up and Head Home
After a week full of hiking around volcanoes, it’s time to head back to your home state. If you have a midday flight, Downtown Portland is packed with great local coffee shops and breakfast joints. Before buckling in for a lengthy flight, head to Ole Latte Coffee to enjoy a freshly made bagel sandwich and an artisan cappuccino on your way into PDX.