• Michael O'Keeffe

The Unique and Wonderous Land of Oregon: A Gallery

Oregon is awesome! Oregon may not have the tallest mountains or the biggest cities on the West Coast, but it certainly has some of the most unique, wonderous, and straight weird wild landscapes in the country. Located on the Pacific Coast, this large state is packed with a diversity of biomes ranging from lush temperate rainforest to dry stark desert. In between is an array of geological and geographical oddities. Oregon is a state shaped by volcanism with evidence of both ancient and ongoing activity. This has allowed the state to become home to some of the coolest geology found anywhere!

The states long running coastline is built for a road trip with the iconic Highway 101 traveling all the way down the 400+ mile coast passing by quaint seaside towns, stunning view points, and quiet beaches. Heading east through the coastal mountains you enter the Willamette Valley where most of Oregon's population resides including the city of Portland. Further east still you enter the Cascades where thick lush old growth forests hide stunning canyons and gorges with cascading waterfalls and crystal clear rivers. At the crest of the Cascades lies a chain of volcanoes with Mount Hood in the north spanning southward towards California with famous peaks such as the Three Sisters and Crater Lake among them.

The east side of the crest paints a different picture, the rain shadow effect keeps the entire eastern half of Oregon much drier with high desert occupying this region. There is much to be seen here as well with scattered mountain ranges rising high above the desert floor. These ranges offer a stark contrast to the desert below with towering forests peppered with sparkling alpine lakes beneath rugged peaks. That isn't to say the desert is without some impressive features itself with unique spots such as the Painted Hills and the Alvord Desert playa to name a few.

Yeah Oregon is pretty great! Enough of me talking about it though, here is a gallery of some of my favorite spots in Oregon I've taken over the years. Enjoy!

Crater Lake Oregon
Crater Lake, in southern Oregon, is actually a volcanic crater filled with water.

Mount Hood Oregon
Mount Hood, a volcano, is Oregon's tallest peak at over 11,000 feet tall.

Three Sisters Wilderness Oregon
The otherworldly volcanic landscape of the Three Sisters Wilderness in central Oregon.

Three Sisters Wilderness Oregon
Lupine bloom in summer high in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon.

McKenzie River Oregon
The jet blue water of the McKenzie River tumbles over Koosah Falls in central Oregon.

Painted Hills Oregon
The Painted Hills are a unique area in central Oregon. The layers represent different rock types preserved by volcanic ash.

Columbia River Gorge Oregon
Balsamroot blooms in spring along the Columbia River Gorge.

Cannon Beach Oregon
Sun filters through a misty coastal forest near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Columbia River Gorge Oregon
A rainbow forms next to Multnomah Falls, Oregon's tallest waterfall.

Cannon Beach Oregon
Waves crash into dramatic cliffsides on the Oregon Coast.

Central Oregon volcanoes
A smoky sunset looking across a chain of volcanoes in central Oregon.

Oregon forest Cascades
A classic Cascadian montane forest in the wilderness of the Oregon Cascades.

Three Sisters Wilderness Oregon
The strange tortured landscapes of the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon.

Oregon Coast
Massive old growth Sitka Spruce trees on a misty winter day on the Oregon Coast.

Highway 101 Oregon Coast
Highway 101 winds along the rugged Oregon Coast.

Oregon Bend
The high desert of central Oregon. A stark contrast to the lush green western portions of the state.

Mount Hood Oregon
Mount Hood emerges from the clouds above the orchards and vineyards of the Hood River Valley.

Mount Jefferson Oregon
Lenticular clouds spin above Mount Jefferson and the distant Three Sisters.

Oregon Coast
Impressive sea stacks on the Oregon Coast.

Cannon Beach Oregon
A peaceful morning in the misty forests along the Oregon Coast.

Cannon Beach Oregon
Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Oregon Columbia River Gorge
Sun filters through the clouds over the Columbia River Gorge.

Three Sisters Wilderness Oregon
The wild geology of Broken Top, an extinct volcano in the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Oregon Cascades PCT
Impressive wildflower displays along the PCT in the Oregon Cascades.

Sea stacks Oregon
Sea stacks on the Oregon Coast.

Mount Saint Helens Washington Oregon
Mount Saint Helens (in Washington) as seen from high above the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.

Three Sisters Wilderness Oregon
Three Sisters, a chain of stratovolcanoes in central Oregon near the town of Bend.

Central Oregon Smith Rock
Smith Rock is an iconic geological feature in central Oregon.

Oregon Cascades forest
Deep in the lush old growth forests of the Oregon Cascades.

Columbia River Gorge
The massive Columbia River snakes through its namesake Gorge marking the border of Oregon and Washington.

Broken Top Oregon
More of the wild geology of Broken Top.

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