Oregon, there’s nothing to do here. Count that among sentiments you’ll hear from pretty much nobody, ever.
Even after 28 years of producing stories for “Oregon Field Guide,” Oregonians have never let us down. We have never run out of stories to tell or spectacular places to visit.
Every year we get invited somewhere we’ve never seen before, called to join some crew on a wild new adventure, implored to showcase some hidden geologic wonder, or find inspiration to explore a town we’ve never paused to enjoy. And to that we say, “Grab the cameras and load em’ up!”
For Oregon Field Guide, 2016 was a heck of a year. We dug through our season of material and came up with five of our favorite destinations from one of our most far-flung seasons.
1) Paddleboarding Down A Geological Wonderland
Location: John Day River
We were invited to four days of paddleboarding — sometimes blissful, sometimes hair-raising — down one of Oregon’s longest free-flowing rivers. Who could say no to that?
This trip can be done by kayak, raft or canoe or maybe even a Tom Sawyer style log raft. But as our trip mates demonstrated, paddleboarding might be the most fun way to go.
2) A Stop In A Town Without Stop Lights
Location: Dufur, Oregon
Oregon is a state full of small towns. Why just drive through when you can stop and linger for a while? We paid an extended visit to Dufur, Oregon, and found “Antler Man.” Come on … antler man!
Watch host Steve Amen’s love letter to the town without traffic stops and incredible serenity.
3) A River Trip In The Wild
Location: Troy, Oregon
True wilderness doesn’t come easy.
To run the wild, remote Wenaha River you will need to carry everything in on your back. Travelers might need to dodge rattlesnakes (perhaps a lot them), portage around fallen trees and navigate through dense brush.
But, as we saw, you get the wilderness all to yourself! Well, you and the state’s largest population of bull trout.
4) Gliding Over Miles Of Oregon Desert
Location: Alvord Desert
If you want to learn how to fly a plane without an engine you kind of need a lot of space for takeoff via car catapult, and for the sometimes unexpected landing.
The Alvord Desert is a glider paradise. In the open desert just hook up the plane to the car, and go — fast — until you feel the wind beneath your wings.
5) Finding A Hidden Slot Canyon
Location: Mount Hood Wilderness
The trek up the Oneonta Gorge is a popular one. And for good reason, it’s beautiful slot canyon around an hour away from Portland.
But consider it an appetizer for when you really want to strike out into the unknown. Oregon is not Utah. But the state is home to slot canyons hidden in mossy creases throughout the mountains. You just have to hunt, prepare intensively and maybe brave an all day hike through 40-degree water.