Boasting beautiful volcanoes, deserts, forests, incredible water bodies, and shrublands, there is never a shortage of spectacular sceneries in Oregon. With its ton of surprising landscapes, Oregon is perceived to be the crown jewel of the West Coast. Some of the most iconic sceneries on the West Coast are found in this beautiful state. While many travelers have favorites out of the most popular gems, such as Mount Hood, there are other hidden gems that will definitely leave vacationers in awe! Here are the ten hidden Oregon gems you didn't know existed.
10 The Witch’s Castle
Located in Forest Park, the Witch's Castle is one of Oregon's best-hidden gems. Getting to the park involves a short, exciting adventure. The distance is just about half a mile from the parking lot. Initially called the Stone House, The Witch's Castle was constructed to make it serve as a restroom and a park ranger station. It was later hit by a storm in 1962, a disaster that rendered it useless. The house was later abandoned and covered by thick moss and fallen trees. Some high school students rediscovered the structure in the 1980s and referred to it as the Witch's Castle. The students used the place to hold their weekly gatherings. The Stone House, or whatever one chooses to call it, is a cool experience no one should miss.
9 Anthony Lakes
Situated in Eastern Oregon, Anthony Lake is a spectacular wonderland not to be missed. This place is incredible whether visiting in summer or winter. In summer, travelers can enjoy fishing, hiking in the stunning Elkhorn Mountains, and riding laps on the Broadway Flow Trail. In winter, the Anthony Lakes into a skiing paradise, thanks to a base elevation of 7,100 feet. While Anthony Lakes is not as toured as Mount Hood or Mount Bachelor, it is a charming hidden gem worth exploring.
8 Valley Of Giants
Into nature? Oregon’s Valley of Giants is an incredible spot to explore some of the Oregon Coast Range’s largest Western Hemlocks and Douglas Firs. Getting there can be challenging, as the spot is remote, but travelers are going to appreciate its spectacular nature once they reach the destination. Note that people with faint hearts may not like it there, as the rods are bumpy and full of loggings. After getting to the Valley of Giants, the hassle will be worth it. The area covers 51 acres, and there is 1.5-miles loop trail tourists can use to explore some of the largest trees on earth.
7 Thor's Well
While many travelers flock to the most popular spots in Oregon, Yachats is keeping an unspoiled wonder. Seated on the edge of the Oregon coast, Thor's Well is one of Oregon's best-kept secrets, and visitors should get a chance to explore its beauty. It's a gaping sinkhole, which seems bottomless, taking in the stream of ocean water surrounding it. Situated right off Highway 101, next to Spouting Horn at Cook's Chasm, Thor's Well is best visited on a road trip to the Oregon coast. The site is most breathtaking at high tide, and one can watch the sea waters wash the rocks into the bottomless hole.
6 Prehistoric Gardens
Mounted off Highway 101, Prehistoric Gardens was established in 1955. It is a family-friendly attraction, giving vacationers an incredible opportunity of witnessing 23 life-size dinosaurs along with other beautiful prehistoric creatures. One can choose to go on a self-guided tour, which passes through the ancient Oregon Rainforest. The dinos are seated along a coastal trail lined by foliage, and exploring them gives a different thrill. It is a destination that will keep the whole group excited at the gigantic sculptures.
5 Bagby Hot Springs
Bagby Hot Springs is historical and can be found about an hour's drive from Estacada, Oregon. A hot spring in an area like Mount Hood is unusual, but they provide vacationers with three soaking pools, the Private Deck, Public Deck, and the Upper Deck, each coming with unique features. Bagby Hot Springs was discovered by Robert Bagby, a hunter and prospector in the 1800s, but left them there because of their remote location. The place was then made more pleasant by contracting a bathhouse and large tubs in the 1930s. Today, one can hike through a 1.4-mile route to get to this beautiful hot watery paradise.
4 Lost Lake
Lost Lake comes with fantastic outdoor opportunities, boating, swimming, camping, and hiking. It is also a haven for birdwatchers who come to see riparian and high-elevation birds. The old forests and the numerous windflowers are perfect for history lovers. The diverse habitats offer travelers with incredible wildlife spotting opportunities. Other than boasting spectacular sceneries and natural history, the Lost Lake is a perfect getaway for families. Mount Hood's view from the lake is breathtaking.
3 Sip 47
Sip 47 is Highway 47’s scenic section, winding through beautiful wineries, farms, vineyards, and more. It is one of the most impressive off-the-beaten-path ways of exploring Oregon’s wine. Travelers can drive through the gorgeous route, making stops from one point to the next, tasting wine, strolling through farms and vineyards, and taking advantage of the magnificent photo opportunities. Visitors will come across Montinore Estate, A Blooming Hill Vineyard, Stag Hollow Vineyard, and more! Most wineries visitors have tasting rooms to sample a few and take some home.
2 Sloth Center
Sloth Lovers should definitely have Sloth Center on their bucket lists. It is a research facility and sanctuary providing a haven for captive adult sloths. A sloth sanctuary in Oregon seems unusual because these creatures only exist in Central and South America's rainforests, and they are not as many in need of rescue from Portland. But it exists and offers a beautiful home to the displaced animals, and the organization offers tours that allow visitors to view the sloths up close.
1 John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
This place features fascinating rock formations, preserving a world-class record of plant and animal evolution, alternating climates, and ecosystems spanning more than 40 million years. There are numerous exhibits to take travelers back to millions of years ago. This place would be perfect for both history buffs and scientists. Visitors can go through scenic drives and hikes, enabling them to explore Oregon's prehistory and enjoy science in action.