State parks in Oregon feature some of the state’s most diverse landscapes. From churning Pacific surf to high desert spires, Oregon’s public lands frequently provide the best thrills. While it’s difficult to tell which state park is the greatest, all of the top Oregon state parks provide an escape into a breathtaking environment.
The finest Oregon state park is determined by the sort of activity sought. Visit one of the many state parks along the coast for activities such as whale viewing, sandcastle construction, and watching winter storms come in. Away from the shore, inland state parks provide activities such as rock climbing, disc golf, and waterfall gazing.
The majority of Oregon’s top state parks feature campgrounds as well. Nearly all campsites can be reserved up to six months in advance, ranging from walk-in tent spots to full-hookup RV sites. For the most recent information on policies, guidelines, and conditions, see Oregon State Parks.
Utilize this list of the 10 best state parks in Oregon to explore the untamed and wondrous side of the Beaver State.
1. Smith Rock State Park
Central Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park is a high-desert leisure haven little over 30 minutes from Bend. In this uphill setting, the Crooked River meanders with rugged peaks protruding from its sides.
Throughout the year, this landscape draws all kinds of adventure. The park offers a variety of activities, including fishing, hiking, and watching the sunset and rock climbing.
Numerous climbing routes with bolts are dotted over the high terrain. Numerous rock climbing routes at Smith Rock draw tens of thousands of climbers each year.
2. Silver Falls State Park
One of Oregon’s most well-known state parks is Silver Falls. Its numerous waterfalls inside its borders are the reason for its fame. The 177-foot South Falls is one of these breathtaking depictions of gravity, and there is a trail that runs directly behind the torrential water.
The Trail of Ten Falls winds its way through the park, passing several waterfalls, including South Falls. Each year, hundreds of people travel the 7.2-mile National Recreation Trail, which immerses them in a lush setting. With less than 800 feet of elevation gain, it’s a moderate climb.
3. Ecola State Park
On Oregon’s northern coast, between the well-known beach resort towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside, is Ecola State Park, which spans about nine miles of coastline. Some of the top beaches on the Oregon Coast may be found in this area.
The long state park is well-known for many things, but hiking is its main draw. The Corps of Discovery once traveled the Tillamook Head Trail and the Clatsop Loop Trail in search of winter supplies.
On top of Tillamook Head, a free hikers’ campsite is available to anyone willing to hike there with their supplies. Offshore, the nearby Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, which is no longer operational, is photographed.
4. Shore Acres State Park
Shore Acres is a lovely state park set on a cliffside with a view of the water. Lumber baron Louis J. Simpson originally owned the complex on-site botanical gardens as well as the entire property. Today, the natural splendor of a neighboring cliff’s edge and rugged coastline merge with this burgeoning tourist and historical landmark.
On the southern Oregon coast, Shore Acres State Park is located along the Cape Arago Highway. Coos Bay, which is the largest adjacent city, is about 20 minutes’ drive northeast.
When visiting this 101 detour, allot some time to explore Sunset Bay State Park and Cape Arago State Park. Within one mile in either direction of Shore Acres, there are these two breathtaking state parks.
5. Cape Lookout State Park
The Three Cape Scenic Loop on the northern Oregon coast is centered at Cape Lookout State Park. The view-enabling point and the substantial portion of Netarts Spit that separates Netart’s Bay from the ocean are both included in the park. A well-liked campsite with more than 200 sites is also located there.
There are more than eight miles of trails in Cape Lookout State Park, some of which are a part of the state-spanning Oregon Coast Trail. The Cape Trail is a well-traveled path that takes hikers to Cape Lookout’s tip for a panoramic view of the ocean and shoreline. The distance to and from the cape’s end is almost five miles.
6. The Cove Palisades State Park
Central Oregon’s Deschutes and Crooked River Canyons are enclosed by the Cove Palisades. This breathtaking setting offers views that stretch for miles and a strong sense of seclusion.
Boating, hiking, and camping at one of the park’s two seasonal campgrounds are a few of the most well-liked activities.
The park’s two Deschutes River and one Crooked River day-use sections get the most visitors. There are picnic areas, swimming beaches, and boat launches at each day-use area. For hiking, the Upper Deschutes Day-Use Area is ideal since it provides quick access to the famed Tam-a-láu Trail.
7. Harris Beach State Park
This state park on the southern coast offers stunning beach views. One of the nicest communities on the Oregon coast, Brookings, contains Harris Beach within its city borders. And it stands out because of the enormous sea stacks that protrude from the shore.
Additionally, it has a popular campground that serves as a popular basecamp for exploring this section of the coast.
Visitors who are there for the day or for the night can drive or stroll to the beach. Here, it’s common to spend the day just watching the waves pound on the large boulders left in their wake.
8. Wallowa Lake State Park
In far northeast Oregon, close to the border with Idaho and Washington, is this breathtakingly lovely state park. The park is located near to the little village of the same name on the southern end of its eponymous lake. The small town of Joseph, which frequently acts as a basecamp for adventures in this region of Oregon, is located on the north side of the lake.
Both day use and overnight amenities are provided at the state park. Boating, fishing, and relaxing on the beach are common pastimes. With two group sites that can be reserved and many first-come, first-served tables, picnicking is another well-liked activity.
9. Milo McIver State Park
On the Clackamas River, this well-liked state park is located about 45 minutes south of Portland. Along with the park’s numerous recreational opportunities, its close proximity to a large metropolis increases the number of visitors. The Clackamas River, over 13 miles of trails, and the park’s 27-hole disc golf course are all accessible daily excursions.
A modest number of campsites are also present in the park. There are roughly 44 electric sites, nine tent sites, and amenities for group camping. Aside from that, you may rent kayaks, life jackets, and discs for disc golf.
10. L.L. Stub Stewart State Park
Year-round camping is available at Stub Stewart State Park, which is also a well-liked weekend retreat from Portland. The park may be reached from the city in less than an hour by driving about 30 miles northwest of Portland, close to the town of Buxton. However, the 1,800 acres of woodland parkland feel a world away from the commotion.
At Stub Stewart, trail exploring of various kinds is a favorite pastime. Riders on horses, mountain bikers, and hikers all find places to leave their marks. The park is also home to a difficult disc golf course that is well-liked by both amateur and expert players. 78 full-hookup sites are also available for individuals who want to stay the night.