We could list a dozen reasons to visit Oregon in each of the four seasons. The Pacific Northwest gets dismissed as being too rainy, but we know that the year-round recreation the state has to offer far outweighs the inches of annual rainfall. The rain is what makes everything so lush and verdant after all!
That being said, spring has arrived here in Oregon and we are reminded why this season always inspires us to lace up our hiking boots, hit the road, and explore. If you are planning to visit Oregon in the springtime, we recommend making time in your itinerary for waterfalls, coastal adventures, and flower viewing.
Springtime Flowers in Oregon
The famous pink and white cherry blossoms of Portland signal the arrival of springtime in the Pacific Northwest, but you don’t have to travel into the city to see some very impressive blooms in Oregon.
Fun fact: We’ve been based just an hour outside of Portland for over 2 years and have yet to see the cherry blossom blooms in the city!
From late March through May, Hood River’s fruit trees are on full display. Apple, cherry, peach, and pear blossoms are some examples of what you might see in the area.
We like to take a drive this time of year along the Fruit Loop, where there are many opportunities to see the blossoms without the crowds that gather in Portland. The Hood River Fruit Loop also has some of our favorite local farm stands, u-pick orchards, and views of majestic Mt. Hood. Visit in the spring for fresh produce, return in the fall for pumpkins!
Just like you don’t have to venture into Portland to see the cherry blossoms, you also don’t have to travel to the Netherlands to view vast fields of blooming tulips. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest in Woodburn, OR (40 minutes south of Portland) is world famous for its annual display of tulips in March and April each year. Thousands of people visit annually to stroll among the many acres of colorful blooms. Friendly on-leash dogs are encouraged to visit, and we had a fun time doing some family photography there with our two shihtzus, Teton and Sierra.
Coastal Oregon Adventures
You can find us somewhere along Oregon’s coastline every season of the year, but spring is an especially nice time to visit.
Our favorite coastal area of Oregon is Cape Perpetua, a largely wooded headland that sits 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean. It has all of the coastal features that Oregon is known for – craggy cliffs, dramatic water features, and tidepools full of living creatures.
Two of our favorite spots while visiting Cape Perpetua in the spring are Thor’s Well and the Spouting Horn.
Thor’s Well is an actual gaping hole in the rocky cliff where the land meets the sea. Known as the “drainpipe of the Pacific” it likely started as a sea cave whose roof collapsed. If you visit in the hour before high tide you can watch ocean waves crashing up and out through the hole. Make sure you keep at a safe distance, or risk being swept down into the hole and out to sea.
Just up the coast from Thor’s Well is the Spouting Horn. It’s a geyser, just like you’d see at a place like Yellowstone, except this geyser is powered by ocean waves and air being funneled through and up a narrow opening in the rocks. It looks and sounds like a whale spouting water when you are standing on the cliffs beside it.
Check out the visitor center and grab a recreation map, because Thor’s Well and the Spouting Horn are just two of the many things to see in the area. Here are some visitor tips we have after checking out Cape Perpetua area many times.
You can find several small parking areas in and around the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. Make sure to purchase a day pass ($5 per vehicle, for day use) or leave your recreation pass displayed in your vehicle.
Always pay attention to the tide charts when visiting coastal Oregon, for safety reasons, but also because some is the best natural water features only occur at different tide levels. Both Thor’s Well and The Spouting Horn are best viewed in the hour leading up to high tide. The tidepools, on the other hand, are best viewed at low tide when all of the sea creatures and plants are more visible and accessible.
Raging Waterfalls of Oregon
Spring is the best time to go waterfall chasing in Oregon because the mountain snowmelt is at its peak. The melting ice and snow flow into the streams and rivers, producing dramatic waterfalls in the spring.
Some of the most popular destinations in Oregon for waterfall hiking and viewing include the Columbia River Gorge and the Mount Hood National Forest.
If you are visiting Portland, the Columbia River Gorge is the most accessible of the waterfall areas. This recreation area is a canyon that was formed between Oregon and Washington during the Ice Age and it is only 30 minutes east of the city. You can see over 90 waterfalls in the canyon, the most famous of which is Multnomah Falls, whose waters fall over 600 past stunning basalt cliffs. We prefer to visit the lesser known Latourell and Horsetail Falls. You can view them easily from the parking lot, or a very short walk, and they are always less crowded than popular Multnomah.
We love taking day trips to the Gorge, but the waterfalls inside the boundaries of Mount Hood National Forest are even closer to our home campground. In the springtime we enjoy the easy hike that follows Little ZigZag River to the Little ZigZag Falls. For a more strenuous adventure, both Tamanawas Falls and Ramona Falls are famous waterfalls in the national forest accessed by longer hikes.
We spent several years in our RV, traveling back and forth across the country, before ultimately selecting Oregon in which to call a home base. Once you’ve spent some time here enjoying the diverse and dramatic land and water features, it becomes difficult to leave. We hope you have the opportunity to visit the Beaver State in the springtime!
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