The best national parks in Oregon- a guide. So, what national wonders lay within ‘The Beaver state‘? Here I will break down everything you need to know for your trip, from the best accommodations in Oregon to a packing list to set you on your way to the trip of a lifetime! Keep reading to discover the best national parks in Oregon and so much more!
What is a national park?
What exactly is a national park? A national park is an area protected due to its cultural heritage, boasting varied wildlife and beautiful countryside. They are typically known for their stunning landscapes and unique features. The aim of a national park is to preserve the site of natural beauty and benefit from this, without destroying it. The ‘National Park service ‘manages 423 national parks across America, in aims of conserving the ‘natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations’.
Why visit the national parks in Oregon?
Why visit the national parks in Oregon? Oregon tells a unique tale of the past through its national parks. The iconic Oregon trail is one of the most famous national parks in Oregon, with a rich history telling of the American gold rush and the beaver trapping industry of the 1800s. Uncover the natural beauty of the Crater lakes, the history of the John Day fossil beds, and find yourself appreciating and learning more about nature with each step, so with that being said, the natural parks in Oregon are truly worth a visit.
How many national parks are in Oregon?
There are 5 national parks in Oregon according to the National Park service. These national parks gain nearly one million visitors a year, bringing in $105,300,000 in Economic Benefit to Oregon’s local economy!
The best accommodation when visiting the national parks in Oregon
So, what is the best accommodation when visiting the national park in Oregon? Here I have selected the best priced, most convenient and most beautiful accommodations to make your visit to the national parks in Oregon that much better!
Aspen inn is just a 30-minute drive from Crater Lake national park. This accommodation has plenty of great facilities including a fully equipped kitchen and outdoor BBQ facilities, perfect for a summers evening! With cosy rooms and a beautiful view of the landscape surrounding, it’s the perfect retreat for visiting the national parks in Oregon. Click here to find out more.
Peaceful Applegate River Valley Sanctuary is amazing accommodation closest Oregon Caves national monument. This woodland retreat is amazingly scenic, with an outdoor seating area and BBQ to enjoy the natural elements of the sanctuary. There is a living area, bedroom and kitchen, all with access to WIFI. Click here to find out more.
Hilltop home is situated closely to John Day Fossil Beds. This accommodation has beautiful balcony views across the fields and mountains. This home is open plan with loads of space, including a living room, bedroom, kitchen and spare room. Hilltop home is perfect for visiting the national parks in Oregon, with its quiet and scenic location perfect for spending time in nature and rewinding. Click here to learn more.
Crater Lake resort is just a 30-minute drive from Crater Lake national park. This charming resort is located in a beautiful area of Oregon, surrounded by greenery and forest. There are plenty of outdoor facilities including a BBQ, picnic area, sun terrace and outdoor dining area. This makes it the perfect retreat for spending time in nature. There are family games offered including board games, puzzles, books and music which is great for family entertainment and small children. Click here to find out more.
Essential packing list when visiting the national parks in Oregon
So, what is the essential packing list when visiting the national parks in Oregon? Here are all the essentials you need for your trip:
Fold up hiking sticks
Oregon’s national parks have some amazingly scenic hikes, so bringing some hiking sticks can be a helping hand to pass through the trails with ease. TheFitLife hiking sticks are amazing for packing because they fold up to just 65cm, so there is extra space convenience.
Oregon’s state park bucket list
The Oregon’s state park bucket list and adventure guide is an essential for your visit! Not only will it help you navigate the different national parks in Oregon, but it’s also a memory you can keep for a lifetime.
Oregon’s coastline is susceptible to rain all year round. That’s why it can be handy to bring a raincoat to protect from any downpours that your visit may bring! I recommend the Anyoo raincoat for its super lightweight material and ability to fold into a pouch, perfect for packing!
Litre water bottle
A litre water bottle is an essential when visiting the national parks in Oregon, especially in the summer months! Stay hydrated at all times with the Hydracy water bottle that comes in multiple colours with a leak proof lid.
The best national parks in Oregon
So, what are the best national parks in Oregon? Here I have selected the best national parks in Oregon for their natural beauty, history and cultural significance. Keep reading to find out more…
The Oregon Caves are located within the Siskiyou Mountains, where beyond the acidic water and marble rock lies the “Marble halls of Oregon“, which are incredibly unique. It is said that these caves are over one million years old, making it a great site of historical significance as well as natural beauty! There are a variety of cave tours to explore, including the Candlelight cave tour, The Discovery cave tour, The Family tour and an Off Trail caving tour. The site is also great for camping, with 17 camping grounds on site, offering an opportunity to spend more time in nature.
California- national historic trail
The California national historic trail is over 5,000 miles of trail passing through 10 states, making this one of the biggest and best national parks in Oregon for hiking trails! This trail tells of a rich past that was once travelled by emigrants who walked the gold fields to the rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 50s.
Although it’s impossible to explore all in one day, you can hike a segment on the trail where there may be opportunity to enjoy several activities, from museum visits to horseback riding! Along the length of the trail there are plenty of interpretive exhibits, programs and museums to discover and visit to discover more about the history and significance of the trail and how it helped lead the way for the emigrants who travelled across it.
Crater Lake was formed 7,700 years ago when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of the tall peak. Today, Crater Lake is a true natural wonder and marvel, known for being one of the most pure and perfect lakes in the world. It is only filled by rain and snow and is one of the deepest lakes in the USA.
Today you can find a variety of activities, such as hiking a scenic trail, viewing the lake from 33-mile dim drive, taking a walkalong the Rim village and visiting historic buildings on site, featuring the Sinnot memorial. The richest plant and wildlife inhabit Ponderosa Picnic area, which is one of the most beautiful spots on site, with sugar pines, white firs, cottonwoods and Ponderosa pines all visible in the distance.
Ice age floods
The Ice age floods mark an important part of American history- one that changed the landscape forever. Over 15,000 years ago, Glacial Lake Missoula stretched 3,000 square miles around Missoula, Montana. The dam burst and released flood waters across Washington, down the Columbia River into Oregon before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Today you can explore the site of the Ice age floods with geological trails stretching 16,000 square miles.
John Day Fossil Beds
John Day Fossil Beds uncovers 40 million years of evolution in the plant and animal life through its colourful rock formations. On site, you can learn all about the John Day Fossil Beds at the visitor centre. Here you can see and learn about the fossils up close in the fossil gallery and the palaeontology lab. After that there is an informative park film to view in the theatre, entitled ‘Layers of Life: Stories of Ancient Oregon’.
John Day Fossil Beds is an amazing site to explore, with many areas of geological formations and naturally beautiful fossil beds and rock formations to explore. The park
The 5 best national parks in Oregon- further reading
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