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(Last Updated On: June 20, 2023)

Summary: Best Oregon road trip, complete road trip itinerary, sunrise and sunset locations. *I use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Thanks for your support!

Oregon was my first taste of the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve been smitten ever since. Most of these places I’ve learned about over the years or from passing through. I wish I would have done all of these in one epic Oregon road trip, so here ya go!

I recommend this road trip in the Summer time or the Fall, but it is possible to do during the Winter and Spring. Just be sure to check road closures and park closures when snow is a possibility!

The Route to the Best Oregon Road Trip!

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I recommend Portland, Oregon as your starting and stopping point. This also makes it very convenient to fly into the Portland airport and start your adventure! I will link more information about where to stay in detailed blog posts about each spot.

Need to condense your trip? A lot of these spots are close enough where you can cover multiple locations in one day. As a photographer, I typically go to a new spot for sunrise and sunset!

Let’s Hit the Road!

1. Multnomah Falls

Oregon has 238 waterfalls, and this is the tallest at 620 feet. Pretty mind blowing. View the Forest Service website HERE for latest updates. This spot does require reservations during the busy season! Check out more information on that and 15 other waterfalls on my Oregon Waterfall Guide!

2. Rowena Crest

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This drive-up spot is pretty breathtaking. To the left of this horse-shoe road view is a view of the Columbia River Gorge. We went just before sunset as we were running from the rain!

3. Painted Hills

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The drive in to the Painted Hills is, in my opinion, more beautiful than this little walkway. The striations of colors in the hills is stunning around golden hour and I imagine the same at sunrise!

This photo was taken at the Painted Cove Trail, maybe 30 seconds away from the parking lot. The entire trail is only .3 miles. See more details on AllTrails.

4. Smith Rock

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Smith Rock State Park makes me believe dinosaurs once existed. This place feels very random, jutting out of the land with nothing else like it around. This is a climber and hikers haven! Check out my full blog post on what hikes to do and nearby camping: SMITH ROCK: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO VIEWING THIS OREGON WONDER

5. Tamolitch Falls Blue Pool

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Tamolitch Falls, or more famously known as Blue Pool, is a short hike through a douglas fir forest and old lava flows. The end reveals an incredibly blue basin of frigid water. Read all about how it was formed, nearby camping and cabins, and photo tips for this spot in my blog: FAMOUS TAMOLITCH BLUE POOL IN OREGON: AN ANCIENT TURQUOISE GEM

6. Sparks Lake

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This is a favorite of mine! There is something incredibly special about sunrise here, and I recommend sunrise because of the crowds. This is a drive up spot and is just outside of Bend, Oregon. Read all of my photo tips, camping advice and more on blog: SPARKS LAKE PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE: FREE CAMPING & SUNRISE

7. Umpqua Hot Springs

Umpqua Hot Springs Best Oregon Road Trip
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I mean, who doesn’t love a hot springs trip! This is a very crowded and fragile spot, so I STRONGLY recommend you read my entire blog post about it have the best visit possible. Blog: UMPQUA HOT SPRINGS IN OREGON: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

8. Toketee Falls

On the same road as Umpqua hot springs, this is a stunning waterfall featuring Basalt cliffs and blue water. The trail is .9 miles round trip. Get more details at AllTrails.

9. Crater Lake National Park

Best Oregon Road Trip
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My visit to Crater Lake was brief, but this view was worth the stop. Did you know Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the USA at 1,943 ft?! Drive up to the Crater Lake Lodge and hang out near the fire. Just down the parking lot is this view!

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10. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

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There are so many incredible places to see along this scenic stretch. Natural Bridges, Secret Beach and Whaleshead beach are among my favorites. Check out my full blog for all the details: 6 BEST PHOTO SPOTS ON THE SOUTHERN OREGON COAST

11. Sharkfin Rock at Gold Beach

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This place was a happy accident for me. It was sunset, so I pulled off to the nearest beach access to watch the sun go down, and this spot was stunning. I love the rock formations on the Oregon Coast. This location is linked in the blog post 6 BEST PHOTO SPOTS ON THE SOUTHERN OREGON COAST

12. Face Rock State Scenic Beach

Speaking of weird rock formations, this place wins in my opinion. Get a view from up top, or take the stairs down to the beach to see all of the wild rock formations. Detailed information in my blog 6 BEST PHOTO SPOTS ON THE SOUTHERN OREGON COAST

13. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Running down dunes takes me back to my childhood. The Oregon dunes are one of the largest areas of coastal sand dunes in the world! Get more details on my Blog post: 5 THINGS TO DO IN BANDON, OREGON FOR A WEEKEND

14. Oswald West State Park

I LOVE the dramatic cliffs on this coastal spot. Use AllTrails to find some incredible places to explore for the day.

15. Cannon Beach

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Cannon Beach is classic, and an awesome way to end your epic Oregon Road trip. I definitely recommend viewing Haystack rock as seen in the picture and relaxing with a picnic on the beach.

More Nearby Destinations!

If you’re looking for more Pacific Northwest Adventures check out these other guides:

Conclusion:

I hope this gives you some road trip inspiration! There are endless places to explore in Oregon. This road trip itinerary requires a decent amount of time, but really allows you to see the most of Oregon. If you’re looking for shorter trips, check out some of my guides linked above or in the Oregon section of the Destinations Tab!

What’s on your Oregon Bucketlist?

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25 Comments

  1. Portia Jones on November 18, 2020 at 9:46 am

    I love a good road trip article, especially a USA one. After reading your post, I really want to go to Oregon and see some of that beautiful scenery. i’ve pinned this for some future travel planning.

    • Melissa on November 25, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks so much! Oregon is one of my favorite states to explore in the USA!

  2. Shelley on November 18, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    I use to live in PDX…. and let me just say that I hope anyone who’s looking for the ultimate Oregon road trip find your blog! I was so happy to see Umpqua on the list, the place is just magical.

    • Melissa on November 25, 2020 at 3:37 pm

      Ahh that means so much!! There are endless things to explore in Oregon!

    • Miranda hauer on June 21, 2024 at 2:03 pm

      I’m planning a trip to Oregon for my 50th birthday. Approximately how long is this road trip? I’m starting in Washington and driving down the Oregon coast.

      • Miss Rover on June 21, 2024 at 8:50 pm

        It can definitely be flexible. If you were to hit ALL of these spots I’d recommend a bit over a week. But it can absolutely be squished down.

  3. Sophia Bawany on November 19, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Wowza! My husband has been trying to sell a trip to Oregon to me for the longest time and I never took it seriously BUT I will now! The waterfalls and seaside cliffs look like something I have to see in real life! Thank you! My husband will be very happy, you converted me with your stunning photos

    • Melissa on November 25, 2020 at 3:38 pm

      I love that!!! Well I hope if you go, you have the best time!

  4. Patti on November 20, 2020 at 9:11 am

    OMG! This is the perfect itinerary for Oregon! I only managed to visit Eugene and Portland during a quick 2 day trip there. I’ve always been meaning to go back.

    • Melissa on November 25, 2020 at 3:38 pm

      I hope you get the chance to!! There’s an absurd amount of places to explore in Oregon!

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    • Debi R on June 23, 2024 at 3:27 pm

      Can you please post what towns to stay in on the Oregon Road trip.

      • Miss Rover on June 23, 2024 at 3:36 pm

        For umpqua area I recommend either staying at crater lake national park or in Roseburg. I’ll look into updating this. Thank you!

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  7. Kristi on December 29, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Hi, how many days would you recommend to complete this loop?

    • Miss Rover on December 29, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      Hello! If you did sunrise and sunset per spot it would be about a week minimum. That’s what I did with this loop. But it could easily be expanded to 2 weeks!

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  14. Jordyn on January 9, 2024 at 8:07 am

    How many days did this take you? Sorry if it was mentioned, I did not see it. Thanks in advance!

    • Miss Rover on January 9, 2024 at 11:05 am

      Hello! Great question. I did this at a VERY fast pace of sunrise at one location and sunset at the next. I’d say a week is a great place to start at a faster pace. But you could absolutely trim down some of the spots that are a bit more out of the way. I think 2 weeks would be the most ideal to really get to enjoy everything for longer periods of time

  15. Leila on May 11, 2024 at 6:20 pm

    Would you recommend this trip to do as female solo trip?

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