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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Oregon Overlanding: 5 Places You Don’t Want to Miss

Photo by Jeremy Janus via iStock

One of the greatest attributes of Oregon is that it offers wildly different terrain for Oregon overlanding.

In the eastern part of the state you’ll find high desert plateaus for overlanding. In the west, Oregon’s famous forests and volcanoes abound.

From short weekend jaunts to more serious long-term overlanding (as well as some great off-roading opportunities), Oregon is where it’s at for 4WD enthusiasts.

In this list, we’ve identified five Oregon overlanding options that you should add to your bucket list (along with eight options in California we identified last week!).

Oregon Overlanding: Pacific Crest Overland Route

Oregon Overlanding 5 Places You Don't Want to Miss

Photo by simonkr via iStock

The Pacific Crest Overland Route isn’t exclusive to Oregon. It stretches from Mexico to Canada and includes some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see.

The Oregon Section of the route starts in Hood River, Oregon, right on the border of Washington. Things get started off right with plentiful opportunities to bike, fish, rock climb, paddle, and camp.

From Hood River, you make your way south through farmland and rolling hills, and then begin to head up into the clouds on unpaved roads as you make your way towards Mount Hood.

You continue south along the spine of the Cascade Range, exploring mountains and valleys, waterfalls and cliffs, streams and lakes. The trail culminates with a jaunt near Crater Lake National Park – a more than fitting end to your overland journey along the Cascades!

Overlanding in Oregon: Tillamook Forest

oregon overlanding tillamook forest

Photo by megasquib via iStock

The Tillamook Forest has all sorts of trails for overlanding and off-roading. Better still, there are options for any manner of vehicles and skill levels.

In all, there are more than 250 miles of trails that you can explore, so you can take a long weekend to get as many miles under your belt as possible or you can take a week or more and never drive the same section of trail twice.

There are camping options galore throughout the area, so you shouldn’t have to hunt around too long to find a great spot to enjoy the scenery and get some shut-eye.

Just be aware that logging is active in this forest, so some roads might be closed. You’ll also need a permit sticker which you can find at many different locations near the trailhead.

Succor Creek

succor creek

Photo by zrfphoto via iStock

Succor Creek is a breathtaking location with a drive to match if you take Leslie Gulch Road.

The track begins near Jordan Valley, Oregon and is nearly 30 miles long in and back. There are options for camping and hiking, fishing and boating, as well as off-roading.

You do all this amidst soaring rock structures that includes conical towers, volcanic tuff towers, and honeycombed pinnacles.

This area is generally open from April through November, depending on the weather, so plan accordingly.

Bennett Pass

overlanding in oregon bennett pass

Photo by timnewman via iStock. The Mount Hood National Forest (shown above) offers loads of overlanding opportunities.

The Bennett Pass area is not just a great overlanding spot, but it’s also a historical area since the famed Oregon Trail traveled through here.

It’s a short trail – just 11 miles – and offers an easy trip for anyone with a 4WD vehicle. Aside from its historical significance, Bennett Pass offers incredible views of alpine forests, and, depending on the time of year, wildflowers will be abundant. Of course, the panoramic views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood aren’t bad, either.

Information about Bennett Pass is available on the Forest Service website. Note that a recreation pass is required.

Where to Overland in Oregon Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Photo by wbgorex via iStock

If it’s sand you’re after, Oregon Dunes is the place to be.

While this area is extremely busy, it’s worth it to deal with the crowds to experience some truly incredible scenery with dunes and trees meeting the Oregon Coast. There are also opportunities for viewing wildlife.

If you head out to the beach, just be aware of the tides. Likewise, be sure to remember where you enter the dunes as once you’re in them, it’s easy to get lost!

The best time of year to visit the dunes is March through November. Bring along your pooch too – just keep him on a leash.

There you have it – five great spots for overlanding in Oregon. What spots would you add to the list?

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