Among its nearly endless array of intriguing destinations and attractions, Oregon is home to a diverse group of National Park Service-managed sites. Here is a look at five of those places, which combine to offer a look at the state’s natural beauty and its role in the history and development of the U.S. West:
Crater Lake National Park
The gem of Oregon’s national parks, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. The views from the many lookouts along the 33-mile rim trail that surrounds the dazzling blue waters are worth the trip, and more adventurous visitors can hike down the steep, one-mile trail to the lake’s edge.
Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve
Miles of winding passageways can be discovered below the earth in southwestern Oregon’s Siskiyou Mountains. On excursions such as the Discover Cave Tour and the Candlelight Cave Tour, guests can see sculpted marble rock formations as they head underground for exploration.
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
As they follow in the footsteps of the legendary explorers, groups can take in the beauty at sites along the Columbia River and the Pacific Coast. They can see re-enactments at Fort Clatsop, learn more about the coastal ecosystem along the Kwis Kwis Trail or take a paddling tour from Netul Landing.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
The attraction’s colorful rock formations preserve more than 400 million years of plant and animal life. There are three units of the park, with the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center serving as the starting point for group visits. Popular activities range from educational sessions with working scientists to hiking and biking.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Oregon City, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington
This attraction has four main sites—Fort Vancouver, Pearson Air Museum, the Vancouver Barracks and the McLoughlin House—on the shores of the Columbia River. A number of student groups annually visit the fort, which offers educational and entertaining programs led by interpreters in period costume.
Top photo: Crater Lake National Park
Photo by: Discover Klamath and larryturnerphotography.com
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