Oregon in a weekend
I’m still reeling after the weekend. How could I have forgotten that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the USA? I spent 80% of my summer in different states so this weekend was truly a reminder of what a playground Oregon is. That you can take off without a plan and land in literally a magical place is incredible. No signal. No crazies. No stress. The last couple of weeks (or months really) have been pretty hectic so when himself asked ‘What do you want to do this weekend?’, my immediate thought was, switch off.
Toketee Falls, Umpqua National Park
Off we went Saturday morning, with half an idea of camping in Umpqua National Forest but not really knowing at the same time. Umqua is an area that I’ve been dying to get to since I arrived and the 4 hr car journey from Portland seemed well worth it. Our first stop was Toketee Falls which is about 126 miles SE of Eugene. This is the last major town before you get to Umpqua so I would HIGHLY recommend picking up the essentials here. The road to Toketee was great to drive with no traffic, road works or dodgy potholes. This may have been because I fell asleep for an hour but let’s just go with that. 🙂
Once you get to the parking lot of Toketee, there’s an entrance to the short .8 mile (round trip) trail to the falls. It’s absolutely breathtaking with the water cascading in to two different tiers, one at 28ft and the other, an 85 foot plunge in to a deep pool. It’s honestly like something out of the Jungle Book! We were fortunate that there weren’t any tourists around, (I suppose the 34 f weather was slightly off putting!) so we had time to chill out in what is kind of like a tree house view point. The little hike is adorable, earthy and untouched. I loved it! The Umpqua hot springs are right near as well but we didn’t stop by this time around.
Clearwater Falls, Umpqua National Park
From here, we drove 13 miles east to Clearwater Falls. Within those 15 mins, we had entered Narnia. I was all sorts of giddy since this was my first encounter with snow this year and what a beautiful place to see it! Clearwater falls is basically right next to the parking lot so there’s no big exploration here. In the area, there are a bunch of campsites that you can stay at. Our thoughts at the time were that we’d park up, push back the seats in the SUV and sleep in the truck. But it was baltic and our gas wasn’t looking like it would last. So I made an executive decision to aim for Bend where there was surely a cozy Mariott bed calling my name.
If you haven’t been to Bend, you need to go now. This was my second time visiting this incredible (check out the other one here!) place which I can only compare to Queenstown, NZ. Throughout every season there are activities to explore. It’s 106 miles north east-ish from Clearwaterfalls taking the US-97 N once you get off of OR-138 E. We checked in last minute to the Fairfield Inn, dropped off our bags and made our way straight to Crux brewery. 2 minutes down the road. Such lazies haha! Since I’m on the sober train for November, I didn’t have any of the beer (it’s meant to be absolutely top though) but I can safely say that I am still thinking about their Brutus salad (it’s very vegan friendly!). The brewery itself is pretty fantastic with an outdoor fire pit, fairy lights and garden area. Korey said that if you catch the sunset, it falls right behind the ‘Three Sisters’. Check out the gallery on their website to see some snaps of the place! There’s the tasting room inside and you can see where all the magic happens, Crux is a place to put on the hit list if venturing to this part of the state.
The Painted Hills, Oregon
Another spot on my ‘Wish List’ conquered over the weekend. And truly not expected! Once we had set our sights for Bend, The Painted Hills seemed like an obvious destination on the way home. The scenic drive made the two hours fly by and if I wasn’t the one behind the wheel I would have snapped a gazillion pictures. Go through the Ochocco National Forest is a treat and a road to be taken. Driving through the steep overlooks whilst trying to catch a glimpse of a cougar probably wasn’t the greatest idea, it was definitely a lot of fun!
The Painted Hills were amazing. You may have seen them pop up on peoples Instagrams and I can promise you, they’re exactly like that. Mesmerizing striped patters with shades representing different periods of time had me in awe. There is a view point right in the center where you can park up and take in the views. A little further down, you can drive towards the Painted Cover Nature Trail which is darling trail with a sweet view of the lake. I’m delighted to have gotten the chance to see the hills finally and my recommendation would be to pack up a picnic and hang tight for a while and watch as the sun catches them at different times. They’re so far away from everything you may as well make a day of it!
Oregons a playground
Oregon has it all. The desert, the sea, the mountains, forests and lakes. Breweries, wine country, allllll the foods and more. This weekend was a reminder of what a playground I chose to live in and so many other transplants as well. Loosing signal in my phone for the best part of 2 days was like recharging my batteries. I’m the worst for checking the news, Instagram, and Stumble Upon a dozen and a half times a day so having these medias taken away from me, was exactly what was needed. Next year I’d like to actually be able to sleep in a tent in the winter (I’ve just gotta upgrade my bag) but it’s good to know some of the quiet spots in Central Oregon.