Oregon not only has the last miles of the Historic Oregon trail, it also boasts beautiful beaches and National Parks. Crater Lake National Park and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument are two parks to add to your bucket list.
Crater Lake National Park is located in the South-Central part of the state. The lake has a depth of 1,943 feet, making it the deepest lake in the United States.
There are miles of hiking trails and 33 miles of the Pacific Crest trail is within the park boundaries. This park was founded in 1902 and remains a popular destination for people around the world. In addition to hiking, there are guided boat trips out to Wizard Island in the middle of the lake. During the summer, you can see wildflowers blooming in the alpine meadows and an abundance of water falls.
There are other geological formations such as those at Sand Creek to also view. Or simply drive around the rim to a strategic spot for the best view of sunset over the rim of the volcano.
Crater Lake Lodge has 71 rooms and is open Mid-May through Mid-October. Reservations are strongly recommended. If camping is more your style, there are two camp grounds, Mazama and Lost Creek, which are open during the summer. Mazama takes reservations in advance, but Lost Creek is a first come, first serve basis.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is northeast of Cater Lake, in Eastern Oregon. This park focuses on the plant and animal history of the area. The fossil beds are researched at Thomas Condon Paleontology Center where exhibits are also available to the public. There are three locations within this park to see different kinds of geology. The Painted Hills Unit, the towering cliffs at the Clarno Unit and the Sheep Rock Unit, which has different hues of blues, pinks and tans within the hills. There is no lodging within the Monument, if you would like help in planning a trip to this area, please contact me.
Also in Eastern Oregon, in Bakers City is the Flagstaff Hill – Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. The interpretive Center overlooks 7 miles of preserved wagon ruts that led the settlers across the mountains to the Willamette Valley and their new homes.
Oregon is a wonderful road trip destination for families and those who wish to see some special places in nature.