Oregon State Parks saturate the landscape in vast natural environments, from the expansive eastern section to Portland and the entire coastal domain. From popular Silver Falls Park to dozens of other state parks in Oregon, visitors need not look any farther than these fulfilling Oregon treasures to enjoy dozens of outdoor activities. River canyons carving through mountainous backdrops, craggy bluffs rewarding hikers with sublime vistas, and cold-water lakes presenting water sports of all kinds, visiting state parks in Oregon are a nature-lovers biggest endeavor.
Ecola State Park might be most famous as home to renowned Cannon Beach, but the park’s attributes run far deeper than the golden shores. One of the very first attractions ever recorded inside the park was a massive beached whale that washed onto the shore in the early 1800s and was released back into the ocean directly off the rough coast. Back then, accessing the beach was a major challenge. Today, getting to Cannon Beach is much easier via a paved route that eliminates the need for arduous hiking.
Mature Sitka spruce trees blanket Ecola State Park, and flank the trail that leads in through the forest to a welcome scene of the Pacific, offering one of the most picturesque spots in the park. Ecola State Park is filled with things to do that help visitors explore and discover. Outdoor recreation is possible all year. Swimming and surfing at Indian Beach, hiking the Clatsop Loop Trail, investigating what lies within the myriad tide pools, and wildlife viewing throughout the entire park are popular pursuits.
Silver Falls State Park is another top-rated park in Oregon that draws thousands of visitors each year. Almost 9,000 acres comprise Silver Falls, the largest of all Oregon state parks. A major benefit comes with Oregon state park camping available throughout the park in designated areas for both groups and individuals. There are 54 sites total, which include electric and basic sites, a small horse camp, and ten rustic cabins. The park reveals a temperate rain forest sitting at the base of the Cascade Mountains just a half-hour or so from Salem.
Within Silver Falls State Park, there are tons of outdoor activities available including hiking, cycling, bird-watching, fishing, eco-tours, and more, but it is Silver Creek Canyon Trail that is the park’s biggest star. The trail leads through prime natural landscape and passes ten incredible waterfalls. It’s the shores of the north and south river forks of Silver Creek that coax hikers along the seven-mile scenic route and show off the misty falls—four of which are carved out behind the drop, creating a spot from which to view the waterfalls from behind. Silver Falls State Park also features a long bike path and more than thirteen miles of well-maintained horseback riding trails. This is one of the few Oregon state parks that offers a conference center with an adjacent dining area, cabins, and lodges.
Touching on all the Oregon state parks is a difficult feat because there are so many, each with plentiful special features, activities, and accommodations, though there are definitely those that outshine others. Some of the other most notable state parks include Smith Rock in Terrebonne northeast of Bend and the Deschutes National Forest, easterly-situated Catherine Creek State Park in Union, and stunning, coastal Shore Acres State Park, which features some of the best whale watching and ocean panoramas in the state.