Our top picks for hiking, picnicking & bird watching (2014)
Plus those small, but special places
More great places to visit this summer. See the earlier story on parks to visit for history, nature, disc golf and bicycling.
Saddle Mountain State Natural Area — the upper reaches are a challenge on this 2.5-mile trek to the 3,283-foot summit, but the wildflowers are stunning in the spring.
Smith Rock State Park — several miles of trails parallel the Crooked River and lead to the top of Misery Ridge. The Summit Trail near the northern park boundary opened in 2013 and includes a short side trip off the main trail to a viewpoint that overlooks the Crooked River National Grassland.
Humbug Mountain State Park — hike the 4.4-mile mountain loop or a portion of the Oregon Coast Trail.
Willamette Mission State Park — perfect for a large, family reunion or a spot to spread your blanket along the Willamette River.
Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site — a beautiful view of the beach and ocean.
Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint — enjoy your lunch next to one of the most scenic waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge.
Elijah Bristow State Park — walk the trails in the early morning or late afternoon to catch glimpses of the birds that frequent the park. See the Common Birds of Elijah Bristow for full-color photographs and descriptions.
Frenchglen Hotel State Heritage Site — stay in the hotel, but spend your days birding in the nearby Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Hidden, magnificent places
Willamette Stone State Heritage Site — the point of beginning for the Willamette Meridian, a principal meridian for our land survey system.
Tub Springs State Wayside — once a stopping point for wagon trains, the springs still flow today.
Minam State Recreation Area — a small, primitive campground along the Wallowa River, and a great fishing and rafting spot.