Happy Friday and long weekend friends! I should be out of the country right now but since traveling isn’t safe at the moment my adventures are on hold. So instead I reminisced on past trips and it only seemed fitting to talk about our trip that we were on this time last year! I spent the 4th of July in the beautiful outdoors of Oregon! After spending 3 days exploring this state, I wish I had visited this gem sooner! If you live in the US and love the outdoors, I highly recommend it makes its way up your US travel list (if it’s not already on there)! Keep reading for our 3 day Oregon itinerary and some things we learned along the way. Make sure to bookmark for your future travels!
We landed directly into Portland International Airport (PDX) and made sure to rent a car ahead of time since we needed it to get around to the sites we wanted to see. When you land at the airport, keep an eye out for the famous PDX carpet (you can read more about it here)! Since we landed late evening on a Wednesday, we grabbed some food from a local Persian food truck, and went to bed early since we knew we had a jam packed weekend ahead of us!
The one big thing you always have to pray for on vacation is good weather, especially when you’ll mostly be outdoors. We knew that our itinerary was subject to change based on the weekend forecast so we had to be flexible and map out our route the night before. This also meant that none of our hotels were booked until the day of (I’m the type of gal that likes to have an itinerary so you can see how this could give me, or anyone else like me, serious anxiety LOL).
Roughly 4.5 hours away from downtown Portland, we enjoyed the peaceful drive to Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US and its’ blue color is UNREAL. Mount Mazama collapsed years and years ago leaving this huge crater… hence Crater Lake. Since there are no streams flowing in, this lake is solely filled with water from rain or snow which is why it is so blue! It is absolutely beautiful and very family friendly!
We visited Crater Lake on July 4th so we expected there to be a crowd. There are a few different entrances into the park and once you enter you will have to pay a park fee. One thing I would note is make sure you have enough gas!! If you are coming from Highway 138, you can fill up your gas tank at the intersection of I-5 and Highway #138. We entered the park through the south entrance and luckily we were able to fill up gas at the Mazama Village General Store (they even had electric charging stations for you Tesla peeps). You can imagine our excitement after driving on “E” for way too long! There were no gas stations around until you come out of the mountains and hit the main roads, so make sure to fill up ahead of time.
We decided to hike the Discovery Point Trail which was one of the easier trails that still had epic views. Make sure to take tons of pictures!
After spending the day at Crater Laker, we decided to catch the sunset by Mount Hood, which is about a 5 hour drive back north from Crater Lake. We spent the evening watching the sunset – a calm and perfect ending to our day. Below is one of my favorite shots we captured of the sun setting and the reflection of Mount Hood.
If you love sunrises make sure to set your alarms early to catch this one. Seeing the reflection of Mount Hood onto Trillium Lake is even more beautiful in the morning. Something about the fresh morning air and birds chirping gives me goosebumps! Below is a shot my boyfriend took from his drone!
We had made a reservation to rent Kayaks earlier that month (it was my first time kayaking so I was very excited) and it did not disappoint! One thing to note is that this specific rental shop is not located directly on the lake. The rental company drives down to bring you the kayaks and then they come back to the pick up point once your time is up. The minimum rental time is 3 hours, something we didn’t realize until after the kayak was delivered. Personally we felt like 1 to 1.5 hours was enough for us, especially since we had a busy day planned and this was only a 3 day Oregon itinerary. Luckily for us we had befriended a family with 2 college kids earlier that morning, so we asked them if they would like to enjoy the rest of our kayak time as long as they were able to drop the kayaks back off for pick up. Risky? I know. But we exchanged numbers and texted them multiple times before pick up time to make sure they didn’t forget. Times like these truly make me appreciate the good humans out there!
Our next stop was Ramona Falls, which was a 2-hour drive from Mount Hood. Make sure to purchase a parking pass from any of the gas stations leading up to the trail. This moderate hike is a 7-mile loop that leads you to the gorgeous Ramona Falls. There was one tricky part that required you to cross a river by walking over some logs so this trail may not be suitable for all. But besides that, this trail is absolutely worth it and I highly recommend it!
Next we visited Multnomah Falls which was about an hour away from the Ramona Falls trailhead. Multnomah Falls is a popular family friendly trail but it is heavily trafficked and filled with tourists. You can walk around and see the glorious falls but it was incredibly hard to take pictures since there were so many people. I was able to capture this shot below as I squeezed my way into the crowd.
We opted to not do this trail and went on to Ponytail Falls Trail – another short and easy trail that is kid friendly! Here’s the “ponytail” shot that I captured behind the waterfall!
We headed back to downtown Portland after 2 days of hikes and grabbed some dinner at Cartopia !
Our 3 day Oregon itinerary ended with spending time exploring downtown Portland! We had brunch at Kingsland Kitchen, rented Razor scooters and zoomed all around downtown. We ate ice cream at Salt & Straw and made our way to check out the local Portland Gear Store! We ended up meeting Zack, one of the team members, who was a super chill guy who had a passion for Portland which is what the brand stands for. Zack also showed us his epic drone shots of a man who lived on a plane and told us to go check it out (blog post coming soon)!
All in all, a fun filled adventurous weekend exploring the big ol’ outdoors of Oregon. This was our 3 day Oregon itinerary which we felt kept us busy but not too busy ya know? Obviously this gorgeous state has way more to see than what we were able to see. We only had 3 days but we still got to absorb the outdoors and spend time exploring a new city!
Thanks for reading! Hopefully this post will help you plan your next trip to Portland this year *fingers crossed for a COVID vaccine*. If not, make sure to bookmark it for next year or the years to come! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or feel free to contact me directly. Have a wonderful, safe weekend friends & Happy 4th!