Join us for lights, hikes, whale watching and traditional holiday festivities. All events are free, although some parks may charge a $5 day-use parking fee. See the event calendar for all upcoming activities.
Green Friday Free Day-use Parking
When: Open to close Friday, Nov. 25.
Where: All 26 Oregon State Parks that charge a day-use parking fee. One exception: the day-use parking fee applies at Shore Acres State Park, AFTER 3 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve (see event below).
Information: See Visit a state park for free Nov. 25
Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park
When: 4-9:30 p.m. nightly, Nov. 24-Dec. 31
Where: Shore Acres State Park (park information and driving directions)
89039 Cape Arago Highway, Coos Bay
What: Walk through an outdoor holiday light display of 325,000-plus LED lights and “light sculptures” of pelicans, puffins, jellyfish, a life-size leaping orca whale, butterflies, sea lions, leaping frogs and much more. This is the 30th year since the Friends of Shore Acres first decided to “string a few lights” in 1987. Look for a new lighted sculpture in the Undersea Garden and another animal on the “Exile Gate” behind the pavilion. Shop in the volunteer-run gift shop and visit the historic Garden House for hot cider, punch, coffee and cookies.
Cost: $5 parking per vehicle; purchase parking permits at the park, or display a current OPRD campground receipt, an OPRD annual parking pass, or a coastal passport. No charge for lights viewing.
Information: Friends of Shore Acres
39th Annual Christmas Festival at Silver Falls State Park
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
Where: South Falls Day-use Area, Silver Falls State Park (park information and driving directions)
What: Visit Santa and enjoy live music, refreshments, a winter hike, make-and-take wreaths and other Christmas crafts. Stop by the Nature Store for park-inspired holiday gifts.
Cost: $5 parking per vehicle; purchase parking permits at the park, or display a current OPRD campground receipt or a current OPRD annual parking pass. No charge for most activities.
Christmas in the Cookhouse and Collier Memorial State Park
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
Where: Collier Memorial Logging Museum, Collier Memorial State Park (park information and driving directions)
46000 Highway 97 N., Chiloquin
What: An old-fashioned Christmas celebration with snacks, story corner, make-and-take ornaments and other activities for the young and young-at-heart.
Cost: Admission is free, but a canned or dry-packaged food donation for the local food pantry is appreciated.
Information: 541-783-2471, Ext 23.
Winter Solstice Celebration at Tryon Creek State Natural Area
When: 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Where: Tryon Creek State Natural Area (park information and driving directions)
11321 SW. Terwilliger Blvd., Portland
What: Celebrate the changing of the seasons on the shortest day and longest night of the year. Learn the science behind the solstice, explore the forest during an evening guided walk with a trained naturalist, make a winter craft and enjoy treats from a Dutch oven.
Cost: Free; no registration is required.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area (park information and driving directions)
Historic Hughes House Victorian Christmas and lighthouse tours at Cape Blanco State Park
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25 and Dec. 17, 18, 23, 24 and 26.
Where: Hughes House and Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Cape Blanco State Park (park information and driving directions)
Cape Blanco Road, Port Orford
What: The Cape Blanco Heritage Society opens the elegant 1898 Victorian farmhouse especially for the holidays. Local clubs, churches and organizations decorate the 12 rooms, and Heritage Society volunteers host the open house, which includes cider and cookies. The Victorian Shoppe at the Hughes House sells unique gifts.
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse will also be open for tours, weather permitting.
Cost: Hughes House: free; donations accepted. Lighthouse: $2 per person; 15 and younger free.
Information: 541-332-0521 or 541-332-0248
Winter Whale Watch Week
When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. daily, Dec. 27-31
What: Trained volunteers will help you spot gray whales during the winter migration and share information about their feeding habits and explain why the whales are on the move.
Cost: Whale watching is free, but some sites (state and federal) may charge a day-use parking fee.
Information: Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center, 541-765-3304. Open Wednesdays – Sundays (closed Mondays and Tuesdays), 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
First Day Hikes
When: New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2017.
Where: Visit our events page and search with “First Day Hikes” for a list of parks hosting hikes, meeting locations and hike times. Check back for new hikes.
What: Ring in the New Year with a guided hike.
Cost: The usual $5 day-use parking fee is waived for all visitors at participating parks Jan. 1 only.
Information: Look for our First Day Hike story mid-December.
Free parking at participating parks Jan. 1
Free guided First Day Hikes are set for 27 state parks on New Year’s Day. Park rangers or volunteers will lead most of the hikes. The usual $5 day-use parking fee is waived for all visitors at participating parks Jan. 1 only.
If you go
Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing.
This year, OPRD is asking participants to share photos of their First Day Hike via social media by using the hashtag #ORfirstdayhikes Twitter and Instagram or tagging “Oregon State Parks” on Facebook. Images can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the links below for more information about the hike at each park.
- L.L. “Stub” Stewart Memorial State Park, 9 a.m. at the Hilltop Day-use Area.
- Milo McIver State Park, 10 a.m. at the Riverbend lower boat launch parking lot.
- Tryon Creek State Natural Area, 9 a.m. at the Nature Center.
- Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, 10 a.m. at the Tooth Rock Trailhead
- Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, 1 p.m. at the Hatfield East Trailhead
- Champoeg State Heritage Area, hikes (2) at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Meet at the Visitor Center.
- Elijah Bristow State Park, noon horse ride at the equestrian parking area. Bring your own horse.
- Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area, 10 a.m. at the trailhead kiosk.
- Luckiamute State Natural Area, 10 a.m. at the North Luckiamute Trailhead if conditions allow. Alternate meeting site at the South Luckiamute Trailhead. North Santiam State Park, 11:30 a.m. at the picnic shelter.
- North Santiam State Park, 11:30 a.m. at the picnic shelter.
- Silver Falls State Park, 10 a.m. at the South Falls Lodge porch.
- Willamette Mission State Park, hikes (2) at 10 a.m. and noon. Meet at the Wheatland Ferry bicycle trailhead parking lot.
- CANCELLED OC&E Woods Line State Trail. Too much snow in the parking areas and on the trail for a pleasant hike.
- TouVelle State Recreation Site, 11 a.m. at the parking lot next to Area F.
- Valley of the Rogue State Park, 11 a.m. at the park program area.
- Beverly Beach State Park, 10 a.m. in the day-use area
- Bullards Beach State Park, 10 a.m. near the entrance to B Loop.
- Cape Lookout State Park, Noon in the Cape Lookout Trail parking lot.
- Fort Stevens State Park, 10 a.m. in the North Coffenbury Lake parking lot.
- Harris Beach State Park, 10 a.m. in the extra vehicle parking lot.
- Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, 10 a.m. at the group campground parking lot off Canary Road.
- Taft Beach in Lincoln City, 10 a.m. at the #49 Beach Access, 825, SW 51st Street
- Nehalem Bay State Park, 10 a.m. in the parking lot behind the registration booth.
- South Beach State Park, 10 a.m. at the South Jetty Trailhead.
- William M. Tugman State Park, 10 a.m. in the day-use parking lot by the boat ramp.
Ring in 2015 by joining one of 31 guided hikes in state parks on New Year’s Day. This is our fourth year offering First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative sponsored by America’s State Parks. Last year, more than 940 hikers joined the ranger-led hikes in Oregon.
Day-use parking fees are waived on Jan. 1 for all visitors to participating state parks that normally require a permit.
Click on the park name below for more details, hike length and terrain.
First Day Hikes
Portland Metro area
- L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, 9-11 a.m.—meet at Hilltop Day-use Area picnic shelter
- Milo McIver State Park, 10-11:30 a.m.—meet at lower boat ramp of Riverbend Day-use Area
- Tryon Creek State Natural Area, 9-11 a.m.—meet at Nature Center
Columbia River Gorge
- Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.—meet at Mark O. Hatfield East trailhead in Mosier
- Rooster Rock State Park, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. —meet at far east end of parking lot
- Champoeg State Heritage Area, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m.—meet at visitor center
- Elijah Bristow State Park, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.—bring your horse and meet at equestrian staging area
- Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area, 9:30-11:30 a.m.—meet at north trailhead
- North Santiam State Recreation Area, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.—meet at North Santiam picnic shelter
- Silver Falls State Park, 10-11 a.m.—meet on porch of South Falls Lodge
- Willamette Mission State Park, 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m.—meet at main entrance flagpole loop
- Tou Velle State Recreation Site, 11 a.m.-noon—meet at picnic area A
- Valley of the Rogue State Park, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.—meet at program area
- Beverly Beach State Park, 10 a.m.-noon—meet at day-use parking area
- Bullards Beach State Park, 10-11:30 a.m.—meet at the campground amphitheater
- Cape Lookout State Park, noon-3 p.m.—meet at Cape Trail trailhead parking lot 2.75 miles south of campground
- Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park, 1-2 p.m.—meet in front of campground host site and wood bin
- D River State Recreation Site, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.—meet in wayside parking area near beach entrance
- Ecola State Park, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.—meet at the Ecola Point parking lot near Indian Beach trailhead.
- Fort Stevens State Park, 9-11 a.m.—meet at Coffenbury Lake north parking lot
- Harris Beach State Park, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. —bring your bike and meet at booth parking lot.
- Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, noon -2 p.m.—meet at West Woahink Meeting Hall
- South Beach State Park, 9-10:30 a.m.—meet at day-use parking area
- Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, 10-11 a.m.—meet at Lake Marie day-use parking lot
- OC&E Woods Line State Trail, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., meet at the Switchbacks near summit of Bliss Road south of Sprague River
- Cottonwood Canyon State Park, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.—meet at day-use visitor center
- Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area, noon-1 p.m.—meet at community building
- Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site, 10-11 a.m.—meet at parking area next to Highway 82
- Smith Rock State Park, 10 a.m.-noon—meet at welcome center yurt
Share your First Day Hike photos via by using the hashtag #ORfirstdayhikes for Twitter and Instagram or tagging “Oregon State Parks” on Facebook. Images can also be emailed to email@example.com.
In case of inclement weather, contact each park to find out about cancellations—phone numbers are available online.