Most interesting landmarks of Oregon

Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Oregon.

Natural landmarks

Canyons and ravines

Columbia River Gorge
Columbia River Gorge. / Jon Dickson, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Columbia River Gorge – Gorgeous canyon of Columbia River, up to 1,200 m deep. Canyon is some 130 km long and has numerous very impressive waterfalls.
  • Crack in the Ground – Lake County. Unusual volcanic formation – some 3.2 km long and up to 9 m deep crack. It formed by the sinking of an enormous block of the ground after volcanic eruption. It is possible to walk on the base of this crack.
  • Hells Canyon – Wallowa County, also in Idaho and Washington. Giant canyon of Snake River, the deepest one in the United States. The canyon is up to 2,436 m deep and up to 16 km wide.
  • Oneonta Gorge – Multnomah County. Impressive gorge in basalt rocks, more than 30 m deep and some 470 m long. At the far end are the 30 m tall Oneonta Falls.
    • Cliffs, other rock formations

      • Fort Rock – Lake County. Unusual landmark – tufa ring which rises 105 m above the surrounding plain. The diameter of this formation is around 1,360 m.
      • Haystack Rock – Clatsop County. 72 m tall basaltic rock stack in the sea, near beach. At low tide it can be reached by foot.
      • Lava Cast Forest – Deschutes County. These formations formed some 6,000 years ago when lava poured in a forest, creating amazingly well preserved molds of tree trunks.
      • Painted Hills – Wheeler County. Spectacular outcroppings of colored rocks over a larger area. Rocks contain many fossils of early horses, camels and other animals.
      • Smith Rock – Deschutes County. Spectacular, vertical cliffs at Crooked River. A popular site for climbing, the clifs are up to 180 m high.


      Sea Lion Caves
      Sea Lion Caves. / Tjflex2, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
      • Lava River Cave – Deschutes County. Impressive, 1,588 m long lava cave, the largest in Oregon. Rediscovered in 1889 but obsidian flakes testify the earlier discovery of the caves by the Native Americans.
      • Oregon Caves – Josephine County. Beautiful show caves which have formed in marble and through the cave system flows a river – River Styx. The total length of passages is around 4,600 m.
      • Sea Lion Caves – Lane County. A system of enormous sea caves with up to 38 m tall ceiling. Here lives a group of Steller’s sea lions – during the winter here are hundreds of them.

      Volcanic formations, hot springs

      • Hole-in-the-Ground – Lake County. Large, circular maar – a volcanic explosion crater. Its diameter is some 1,600 m, the floor is around 150 m below the surroundings but the rim around the crater – 35 to 65 m high.
      • Mickey Hot Springs – Harney County. Geothermal field with thermal springs and mud pots. The hottest springs are boiling. Here have existed also intermittent springs.
      • Pumice Desert – Klamath County. Here a very thick layer of pumice and ash has created a dry area where the water permeates the ground too fast to sustain the vegetation.


      Little Crater Lake
      Little Crater Lake. / Bonnie Moreland, Flickr / public domain
      • Borax Lake – Harney County. A thermal lake which is fed by hot springs. Lake water contains much borax, arsenic, and lead. Nevertheless, here lives a unique fish – Borax Lake chub (Gila boraxobius).
      • Crater Lake – Klamath County. Round, beautiful lake in the caldera of Mount Mazuma volcano. The caldera is 655 m deep and formed geologically recently: 7,700 years ago when the volcano collapsed. The lake is 594 m deep – the deepest in the United States.
      • Little Crater Lake – Clackamas County. Impressive, deep blue spring lake. The lake is 14 m deep and could be formed as a maar: due to groundwater explosion caused by the volcanic heat.
      • Big Wally – Wallowa Lake Monster – Wallowa County. Many reports, including legends of native people about enormous, manatee-like animal, which is up to 15 m long.


      • Depoe Bay Spouting Horn – Lincoln County. Interesting, quite active blowhole next to the road. It creates up to 9 m high fountains which often pour on the cars which are passing by.
      • Devils Churn – Lincoln County. A narrow sea bay – collapsed sea cave. This narrow gorge has been shaped by the sea waves and today at high water and storms the spray of the waves can rise quite high.
      • Spouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm – Lincoln County. Impressive blowhole which creates a tall, hissing fountain, when a wave enters Cook’s Chasm. The fountain is up to 12 – 14 m high.
      • Thor’s Well – Lincoln County. Hole in the rocks at the sea which looks as if the ocean is drained in it. This is some 6-7 m wide hole, also 6-7 m deep.


      South Falls in Silver Falls State Park
      South Falls in Silver Falls State Park. / Jon Dickson, Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
      • Elowah Falls – Multnomah County. 65 m tall waterfall with a single plunge. It falls over a rock overhang.
      • Latourell Falls – Multnomah County. Beautiful, 76 m tall waterfall. It falls with a single plunge over an basalt overhang. In the basalt are well visible columnar formations.
      • Multnomah Falls – Multnomah County. The tallest waterfall in Oregon – a gorgeous, 194 m tall waterfall with several drops. Picturesque footbridge in the front of falls.
      • Salt Creek Falls – Lane County. Beautiful 87 m tall waterfall. It hits the rock in the upper part but then falls freely through air over the rock overhang.
      • South Falls – Marion County. Gorgeous, 54 m tall waterfall with a single plunge over a rock overhang. Nearby are 10 other waterfalls, many of them quite impressive.
      • Toketee Falls – Douglas County. Waterfall of unusual beauty. It has two closely located cascades with a total height of 37 meters. The lower plunge falls over a columnar basalt cliff.
      • Tumalo Falls – Deschutes County. Impressive, 27 m tall waterfall. The waterfall is comparatively wide and has a single plunge.
      • Willamette Falls – Marion County. An enormous waterfall which has been largely transformed by artificial dams. It is horseshoe-shaped, 457 m wide and 12 m high. Its flow rate is quite high – 874 m3/s.


      • Doerner Fir – Coos County. Tallest coast Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) in the world. Height 99.8 m, diameter 3.54 m, volume 237 m3. Some time ago it was 100.3 m tall.
      • Myrtlewood Trail tree – Curry County. Californian laurel (Umbellularia californica) with a circumference of 15.27 m. The trunk of the tree becomes much wider at its base – hence the enormous circumference. Nevertheless this is a very impressive tree.
      • Phalanx (pine) – Josephine County. The tallest known ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), 81.8 m tall, discovered in 2011. Diameter at breast height – 5.7 m.

      Man made landmarks


      St. Johns Bridge in Portland
      St. Johns Bridge in Portland. / Tony Webster, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
      • Astoria – Megler Bridge – Clatsop County. The longest continuous truss bridge in the United States. This 6.55 km long bridge was constructed in 1962-1966 across Columbia River.
      • Hawthorne Bridge – Multnomah County, Portland. Historical truss bridge, constructed in 1910. It has a vertical lift which operates up to this day, rising a section of bridge from 15 m to 48 m above the river.
      • Oregon City Bridge – Marion County. Impressive bridge in Art Deco style, constructed in 1922. It is 227 m long with 110 m long main span.
      • St. Johns Bridge – Multnomah County, Portland. Beautiful steel suspension bridge, constructed in 1931. The bridge towers have unusual Neo-Gothic forms. Bridge is 630 m long, the main span is 368 m long.
      • Steel Bridge – Multnomah County, Portland. Double decker truss bridge which was constructed in 1912. This bridge has a complex vertical lift which rises the double decker system from 7.6 m above the river to 22 m or 50 m.

      Other man-made landmarks

      Oregon State Capitol
      Oregon State Capitol. / David Grant, Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
      • Elsinore Theatre – Marion County. This theatre was constructed in a mix of Art Deco and Neo-Gothic styles in 1926. After lengthy attempts to save the theater, it was restored in 2004.
      • John Jacob Astor Hotel – Clatsop County. A historic former hotel building, constructed in Art Deco style in 1922 – 1923. It is named after the John Jacob Astor who later became the richest man in the United States.
      • Oregon State Capitol – Marion County. The central administrative building of the state of Oregon. This is an unusual Art Deco structure which was constructed in 1936-1937. The dome rises 51 m high.
      • Pittock Mansion – Multnomah County, Portland. A prominent private mansion, constructed in 1909 – 1914. This French Rennaisance style chateau has 46 rooms. Around the house are famous gardens with heritage roses. Site of legends about ghosts.
      • Portland Building – Multnomah County, Portland. The world’s first major building in Post-Modern style, constructed in 1982. This 15 floors high public office building has caused much controversy due to its bold design and also flaws.
      • Shanghai Tunnels – Multnomah County. Legendary tunnels in Chinatown. These tunnels were used as escape routes as well as for living, for diverse criminal activities. Legends about haunting.
      • Timberline Lodge – Clackamas County. Historical lodge with an ornate interior which has many features of the Prairie Style. It was constructed in 1936-1938.

Described landmarks of Oregon

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Oregon can be proud of its special natural beauty. Mighty rivers cross the mountainous landscape through magnificent ravines and canyons and the frequent rain has created countless waterfalls. In the lush forests grow trees of incredible size and at the sea can be observed unusual landmarks – blowholes including the somewhat mysterious looking Thor’s Well.

Man-made heritage in Oregon is less impressive. There are rather few archaeological monuments, including scattered petroglyphs. In the state are located several very impressive bridges, here are also some interesting architectural monuments including the first major structure in Post-Modern style.

Featured: Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Multnomah Falls / Chris Miller, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

There are numerous waterfalls in Oregon but one stands out – the gorgeous Multnomah Falls.

>This waterfall is very tall – the tallest cascade falls uninterrupted for 165 m but several more factors make this waterfall special: such as the scenic pedestrian bridge between two drops of the falls and the easy accessibility from the highway.

Recommended books

Oregon’s Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide

Dripping coastal forests of giant Douglas-firs, high desert groves of massive ponderosa pines, and lush mixed conifer forests surrounding jagged Cascade peaks–Oregon’s ancient forests are one of the region’s most precious treasures, providing not only vital habitat for fish and wildlife but also some of the most amazing hiking experiences in the state. Author Chandra LeGue of Oregon Wild wants you to know and love these incredible places and guides you to them with 91 awe-inspiring hikes that reveal the very soul of Oregon.

The Other Oregon

The Other Oregon: People, Environment, and History East of the Cascades is a multidisciplinary work that ranges widely through a diverse and often under-appreciated land, drawing on the fields of environmental history, cultural and physical geography, and natural resource management to tell a comprehensive and compelling story.

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