Spring has sprung, and now is the perfect time for kayaking, canoeing, hiking and mountain climbing. Here are a few fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors in our great state.
Fishing at Diamond Lake
Catch your dinner at Diamond Lake, which is located in the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon and a gorgeous place to fish for rainbow trout. Last spring, the Oregon Department of Fishing and Wildlife (ODFW) stocked the lake with more than 200,000 fingerlings that should be 11-12 inches long and more than a pound by opening day of the season on April 28th. There are great bank fishing spots to be found near Diamond Lake Resort and the U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, both of which are accessible by trails. If you need a little help getting out there or don’t own a boat, contact one of many charter fishing companies that can show you the ropes — or should we say, the line?
While at Diamond lake, notice the variety of trees surrounding you: hemlock, true fir, Douglas-fir and cedar, to name a few. You may even come across old-growth ponderosa pine and oak groves, that is, if Mount Thielsen doesn’t get in the way. Umpqua National Forest is also home to more than 250 wildlife species, including the usual suspects: elk, black bear, bats, eagles and cougar.
Wildflower hike on Dog Mountain
A hike on Dog Mountain during May and June gives you the experience of a live Monet painting when beautiful balsamroot, larkspur, paintbrush and lupine flowers bloom. Overall, the hike is moderate-to-difficult and runs about seven miles, but the stunning vistas of the Columbia River, Mt. Hood and flowered meadows make it
worth the effort. Although the trail splits midway through, both trails lead to the same location. The Dog Mountain Trailhead is easily accessible on the Washington side of the Gorge.
Camping on the coast at Nehalem Bay State Park
Located near the quaint coastal town of Manzanita, Nehalem Bay State Park offers year-round camping adjacent to sandy beaches, with Neahkahnie Mountain acting as a striking backdrop. In addition to a complete and easily accessible campground, the park also offers yurts, a Mongolian-style tent with a circular, rigid wooden frame.
Stroll along the waves or take a quick trip to Oswald West State Park and be awed by the giant Sitka spruce in the old-growth forest.
Summer is now in full force. Say “goodbye” to gray skies and “hello” to warm rays. Windsurf, swim, boat, raft, paraglide. Now is a great time to get into the forests. Here are a few fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors in our great state.
Whitewater kayak on the Deschutes
Master the whitecaps of the Deschutes River over 250 miles in central and eastern Oregon. The lower river is the best place for whitewater kayaking and rafting. Some routes cover 14 miles and take five-to-six hours to complete. For novices, there are plenty of great tours that include camping excursions of up to eight days. Or add in some hiking, mountain biking and steelhead and trout fishing at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area.
Along the banks of the Deschutes, you may notice newly planted hardwoods. The Freshwater Trust has founded a program called 100,000 Trees in the Deschutes River Basin to restore riparian habitat along the river and its tributaries in order to protect native fish and water quality.
Contact the Freshwater Trust to see how you can get involved.
On top of the world
A hike to the top of Black Butte is a challenging climb that offers exceptional views en route to a panoramic summit. The last portion may be too difficult for children; however, those able to complete the hike will be very proud of their accomplishment. Because of its placement in the center of the Central Oregon plateau, Black Butte is ideal as a fire lookout site. In fact, when you visit you will notice the effects of the 2002 B&B Complex Fire
Check out the Heritage Forest Demonstration Project just outside of Camp Sherman where Forest Service and community conservation groups worked together to provide a firsthand look at silvicultural treatment scenarios that promote the perpetuation of open park-like stands of ponderosa pine within the Metolius Heritage Area.
Leaves change, shadows grow longer and animals start flying south or begin to hunker down. Get in some end-of-season fishing or hunt for a wild turkey to grace your Thanksgiving table. Here are a few fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors in our great state.
Wild turkey hunting in Umpqua National Forest
Southwest Oregon boasts the best wild turkey hunting in the fall months, and Umpqua National Forest is an area open
to public hunting. The Tiller and Drew areas in south Umpqua are particularly good. Wild turkeys love open woodlands and riparian areas like those near Roseburg in Douglas County. They particularly roam in areas with oak trees because acorns are one of their favorite snacks. Check out the website, make sure you know the rules and then get ready to bag your main course for Thanksgiving!
Hike the Pacific Crest Trail for colorful fall foliage
One of the best areas in the state to view changing fall foliage is along the scenic Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in southwestern Oregon. The PCT runs from southern California all the way up to the Washington border and passes through six national forests, one national park and Oregonʼs largest Indian reservations. Oregonʼs section of the PCT is the easiest hiking on the trail, and it is wooded with coniferous and deciduous trees and dotted with lakes. To get to the PCT, take the Summit trailhead off Highway 140 and follow the access trail to the PCT. Plan your hike ahead of time
at the Pacific Crest Trail Associationʼs website.
Kayak the Youngs River near Astoria
A pretty river surrounded by the splendor of wilderness, Youngs River is a great water trail for kayaking. Did you know that most of the water in this river and other Oregon rivers is first filtered through watersheds in forests? Take Oregon Route 202 to Youngs River Loop Road, where youʼll find a boat ramp for launch. Your journey begins on the Klaskanine River, which soon joins with the Youngs River. Turn north and paddle seven miles to reach the open waters of Youngs Bay in Astoria. Itʼs best to park a second vehicle at the Astoria Yacht Club so you can grab a bite to eat and drive back to your other car in Olney.
Winters in Oregon are perfect for snowy retreats and landing trophy fish. Here are a few fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors in our great state. Snowshoe the Deschutes National Forest The Deschutes National Forest offers a number of snowshoeing trails for various levels of expertise. Snowshoeing in Oregon is easy, doesnʼt require special lessons
and can be a great solo or group activity. Find out more about specific trails at the Deschutes National Forest website
Fishing for winter-run steelhead
November to March is a great time for steelhead fishing — just after migration but before spawning. Grab your rod, land a big one and fire up the barbecue! The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website has great tips and lists the many rivers teeming with steelhead.
Winter camping at Honeyman State Park
Just three miles south of Florence on Highway 101, Jessie M. Honeyman State Park offers year-round camping with 237 spots for tents and 10 yurts on site for overnight stays. Western hemlock and spruce grace an area thatʼs perfect for hiking or just singing around the campfire. And donʼt forget your dune buggy. The campground has direct access to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area from October 1 through April 30. Visit the Oregon State Parks website for detailed information or the Oregon State Parks Go Guide for other camping opportunities.