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Oregon's Regions

Updated on August 28, 2013
Downtown Portland looking west
Downtown Portland looking west | Source

An overview of the region's of Oregon

Hiking in the high desert, wind surfing in the gorge, wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, cheese sampling on the coast, or a little Shakespeare in the south? Oregon’s diverse regions have just what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re just coming for a visit, or you’re here to stay, knowing about Oregon’s various regions can make planning your vacation or relocation a smoother experience. From big cities, to rural towns, rugged mountain ranges and wide open spaces, Oregon has some of the most diverse terrain and demographic regions you might ever encounter. Like Portlanders often say from the conveniently located Rose City just one hour to the coast and an hour (give or take) to the beach, where else can you hit the slopes and cruise to the coast on the same day?

Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach
Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach | Source

Northern & Central Oregon Coast:

On the coast you can explore rocky shorelines and sandy stretches dotted with quaint coastal towns like Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Tillamook, Newport, and Lincoln City.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area | Source

Southern Oregon Coast

You’ll find the same breathtaking beauty as along the northern coastline, but with a few perks just for sports enthusiasts like ATV riders, hunters, and golfers.

Vineyards in the Willamette Valley
Vineyards in the Willamette Valley | Source

Willamette Valley & Portland

Home to the cities of Portland, Eugene, and Salem, this lush green valley is where you’ll find the state’s most populous cities as well as its cultural and economic heart.

Scott Lake with North and Middle Sister in the background
Scott Lake with North and Middle Sister in the background | Source

Central Oregon

In this high desert region, outdoor recreation enthusiasts can have a blast skiing, hiking, rafting, and exploring the wild or visit the city of Bend, a fast-growing recreation and brewery hotspot.

Mt Hood and Mirror Lake
Mt Hood and Mirror Lake | Source

Mt. Hood

Enjoy year-round fun in Portland’s backyard at one of many ski resorts or campgrounds, or lace up your hiking boots and head out for a stroll in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The Columbia River Gorge looking east with Vista House
The Columbia River Gorge looking east with Vista House | Source

Columbia River Gorge

This stunning region would probably win 1st prize in an Oregon beauty pageant, but the “Gorge” boasts a lot more than good looks, including some of the state’s best art, wine, and recreational areas, especially in and around Hood River.

Sheep Rock at the John Day Fossil Beds
Sheep Rock at the John Day Fossil Beds | Source

Eastern Oregon

Where the east meets the Old West, you can expect a decidedly different Oregon with sparsely populated regions, dusty small towns, gorgeous desert landscapes, and the lingering hint of a “frontier” feel.

Mule Creek Canyon in the Wild and Scenic Rogue River
Mule Creek Canyon in the Wild and Scenic Rogue River | Source

Southern Oregon

Near the California border Oregon’s scenery is at is most varied and vivid with deep rushing-river gorges, old growth forests, high desert, and picturesque waterfalls, but it’s also home to some of the state’s best tourist destinations like bohemian Ashland and outdoor-lover’s Grants Pass.

Still not enough? See Oregon in action in this incredible timelapse video of some of the state's most beautiful places.

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    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I will be arriving in Portland on Thursday to visit my son, so I had to stop by and read what you had to say about Oregon. Very enjoyable and informative hub. Thanks for sharing.