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Most Beautiful Places in the Pacific Northwest

Updated on August 28, 2013

From the glistening peaks of the Cascade Range to the dew-dropped roses in the hills of Portland you won't find many places of such diverse beauty as in the states of Oregon and Washington.

Oregonians and Washingtonians might want to keep it a secret, but there are few good reasons why we put up with all the rain; here, in no particular order, are my top 15 reasons:

1. Columbia River Gorge

360-degrees of beauty surround you wherever you go in this Northwest paradise nestled between Oregon and Washington. You’ll enjoy views of the rugged tree-topped cliffs, glistening waterfalls, and the great giant that is the Columbia River at the gorge.


2. San Juan Islands

Like a handful of diamond’s tossed in the sea, the San Juan Islands are Washington’s hidden treasure. These sparsely populated islands are known for gorgeous sea views and abundant marine life viewing opportunities.


3. Olympic National Park

In forests so remote that you might not pass another soul for days, the Olympic National Park features a little of everything, rocky coastline and beaches, snow-capped peaks, and endlessly towering treetops.


4. John Day River and Fossil Beds, Oregon

An eastern Oregon secret, this meandering waterway sweeps through verdant valleys and dusty canyons of Oregon's small towns and remote spaces, including the John Day Fossil Beds, an archaeological wonderland where millions of years of the region's history are documented in stone.


5. Lake Chelan, Washington

Head to northeastern Washington to check out the serene beauty of this lake framed by the rolling hills of one of Washington’s fastest growing wine regions.


6. Mount Rainier, Washington

Prepare to drop your jaw when you first see the mammoth 14,000 foot tall king of the Cascade Range who wears a cap of snow and a veil of lush green forest surrounded by open meadows throughout the year.

7. Crater Lake, Oregon

Nature’s artistry is best viewed from the caldera rim of this crater shaped sapphire blue lake, America’s deepest lake and one of Oregon’s most scenic views.


8. Rogue River, Oregon

The rushing Rogue River tears through southern Oregon leaving a rocky gash of a canyon where you can enjoy the view from above or below of the river’s wild beauty.


9. Highway 101 Oregon

You’ll be treated to gorgeous views of the rocky windswept coastline of Oregon as you drive down 101, just remember to keep your eyes on the road.


10. Portland International Rose Test Garden

Take your pick, and then take a "pic" of the two great views had at this garden overlooking the Portland skyline: stunning roses in every shape and shade imaginable or the backdrop of Portland in front of beautiful Mt. Hood.


11. Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

Not far from Seattle you’ll find this stunning 270 foot tall waterfall creating a picture-perfect view.


12. Skagit Valley, Washington

While the valley is known for its beauty all-year long, Skagit comes alive each April as the tulips bloom and visitors come from all around to see the myriad colors of the Tulip Festival.


13. Yakima Valley, Washington

On a visit to the Washington Wine Country of Yakima Valley, you’ll be treated to the simple beauty of the patchwork of farm land, vineyard, and country road that stretch across the rolling hills and into the valley.


14. Warm Springs, Oregon

The high desert of Warm Springs in central Oregon presents an impressive stark contrast to the lush vegetation found elsewhere. You’ll enjoy views of dusty mesas stretching into the horizon in Warm Springs and the Cove Palisades State Park at Lake Billy Chinook.


15. Mount Hood, Oregon

Whether you see it up close or appreciate Mount Hood from afar, you’ll be impressed by the imposing beauty of this snowy peak throughout the year whether in its all white winter coat or the dappling of snow, meadows, and forest the mountain wears in the summer.


Share your opinion

What's your favorite beautiful place in the Pacific Northwest?

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    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I loved Oregon and Washington when I visited it in 2010. I got to see Olympic National Park, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier and the Columbia River Gorge. I'd love to go back someday to visit some of the other places that you mentioned.

    • johnsonrallen profile image

      Robert Allen Johnson 4 years ago from Fort Wayne, IN

      Wow! Stunning! A trip to that part of the US has been on my radar a while now and this reminds me why.