science environment

Oregon Field Guide Favorite Places 2017

By Oregon Field Guide Staff (OPB)
Dec. 14, 2017 2 p.m.

“Hey, what’s your favorite place in Oregon?” That’s probably the most frequently asked question we hear on our travels while working for "Oregon Field Guide." And while we are known to keep our secrets when secrets are in order, the truth is, many of Oregon’s great places lie in plain sight and we’re happy to remind you that these gems are out there and are worth exploring.

Here are a few stories that bring back fond memories from the great "Oregon Field Guide" road trip circa 2017:


Trek The Spectacular Wallowa Mountains With A Legendary Mule Packer

Location: Eagle Cap Wilderness, Northeast Oregon

From our cameraman, Michael Bendixen: “One of my favorite shoots in the past few years was with Steve Morris, a mule packer in the Wallowas. He brings all sorts of people deep into the largest wilderness in Oregon, the Eagle Cap. The country is expansive and the climbs are intense. I’m not sure how much Steve liked me as I begged him to stay for the great evening light in the high-country — because he knew we had to ride down in the dark. He said he wasn’t fond of that. As I rode down the steep granite paths, I put my trust in my mule as she could see better than I could. As I watched sparks flash from her shoes scraping the granite, I was struck by the power in doing things the way people have been doing for generations; and there is solitude in a string of animals, skillfully finding their way through the wilderness."

Step Back In Time At This Small Town Ski Hill

Location: Warner Canyon near Lakeview, Oregon

In the winter, the one-lift Warner Canyon ski hill is the heartbeat of rural Lakeview, Oregon. This is a place with a long history that stretches back to 1938, the same year that the iconic Timberline Lodge and ski area was constructed on Mount Hood. But while Warner Canyon is infused with a folksier, quieter atmosphere than you’ll find at larger Cascade ski areas, the slopes near Lakeview are stout enough that they were the training ground for homegrown Olympic medalist Jean Saubert in 1964.


The Trail That’s Not A Trail Through The Oregon Desert

Location: Southeast Oregon

Oregon’s newest long-distance trail charts a rugged course through the heart of the desert. Like it lonely? Dry? Like to feel a stiff wind with some grit in it? You’ll get all that when you step on the Oregon Desert Trail. While often promoted as Oregon’s newest long-distance trail, this “trail that’s not a trail” offers many different starting points for adventures from day hikes to long bike rides, cross-country ski tours to backpacking adventures. There is no one correct path to take, and no one right way to do it, which is what makes Oregon’s latest invitation to get out of the office so appealing.

The Hidden World Of Oregon’s Overlooked Falls

Location: Oregon City, Oregon

The largest waterfall in Oregon is surrounded by derelict shells of old mills and factories, and the thousands of people who drive past it every day often get but a glimpse of its raw power. To really get to know the Niagara of the West takes some effort and a sense of urban adventure. Producer Ian Mccluskey spent the summer exploring the relics, kayaking the waters and peeling back the layers of history, tribal tradition and the industrial past of this mighty falls at the end of the Oregon Trail.

The Forest Of Giants

Location: West of Roseburg, Oregon

From Producer Jule Gilfillan: "There is no place I love more than an old-growth forest and if you want to find the best, there’s no one better to hang out with than tall-tree enthusiasts Brian French and Will Koomjian. Photographer Todd Sonflieth and I followed Will and Brian out this past July to one of Oregon’s last remaining patches of high-quality old growth. I hesitate to be specific about its location, but let’s just say it’s west of Roseburg and east of Coquille.

"Below a thick canopy of towering Douglas fir and lacy hemlock, a pair of small streams meet up and babble their way through a thick carpet of oxalis, while the trills of unseen birds echo through this natural cathedral. For me, that’s a full-on description of heaven.

“'There are very few forests in the world that are capable of getting this tall. We have the coast redwoods, obviously Northern California, Southern Oregon, the Eucalyptus regnans in southeast Australia, and this forest, this Douglas fir forest,' Koomjian said. 'It’s one of the top three in the world.'"