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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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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