Oregon may not have a Great Pyramid or its own hanging gardens, but they do have something better: Crater Lake. And the Painted Hills. Mt. Hood, too. Oregon figured that since the people who chose the Seven Wonders of the World had never been to the Beaver State, they would make their own list...and it's truly spectacular. Take a look at Oregon's own Seven Wonders-- there's not a single crumbling ruin to be found:
1. Mt. Hood
From a distance, the snow-capped peak of Mt. Hood looks impressive, but it's even better up close. It boasts year-round skiing at Timberline Lodge, crystal clear alpine lakes, gorgeous hiking and climbing, ice caves to explore, and stunning rugged wilderness all around. Whether you want to hit the slopes or get away from it all with a drive through the Mt. Hood National Forest, once you take a deep breath of that fresh mountain air, there won't be any doubt in your mind why Mt. Hood is one of Oregon's Seven Wonders.
2. The Oregon Coast
Oregon's coast is 363 miles of sandy wonerland-- and every inch of it is free and open to the public. Sandboard down the dunes, relax in the shade of an old-growth forest, wade through tidepools, feel the spray of the waves as they crash into Devil's Punchbowl, or watch the sunset from a historic lighthouse; however you choose to explore this wonder of Oregon, it's bound to be magical.
3. Columbia River Gorge
Make your way through the Columbia River Gorge and discover all it has to offer. Sample some of the country's best local wines, explore quaint and cozy towns nestled in the hills, and stand on the Benson Footbridge at the base of one tier of Multnomah Falls and above another-- there's nowhere else in the world quite like it. The gorge is America's largest National Scenic Area, so it's no wonder that Oregon designated it one of their seven wonders!
4. Painted Hills
It may look like Mother Nature took a watercolor paintbrush to these Painted Hills, but the explaination behind these unique formations is pure science-- years of erosion have exposed the multicolored minerals that formed the hills. The area also contains extraterrestial-looking volcanic formations and fossils from ancient and extinct creatures-- while it may not feel like you're in Oregon, you're actually just at one of its wonders.
5. Smith Rock
Central Oregon is the perfect location for outdoor adventure: the weather is beautiful, there's rivers for paddleboarders, caves for spelunkers, trails for bikers and hikers, and moutains for skiers, but the crown jewel of the area has to be Smith Rock. The volcanic cliff is the birthplace of sport climbing, and has traditional climbing and bouldering for everyone, from the most experienced pro to the newest amateur. You don't have to be into rock climbing to appreciate its beauty, though, and that's why it makes Oregon's list of wonders!
6. The Wallowas
Not much has changed in the Wallowa Mountains since the first pioneers rolled into Oregon: you can still stand at the top of Mt. Howard and see into the next state (and beyond). But, sadly, the pioneers probably didn't get to take a scenic gondola ride to the top. They also didn't get to explore the craft breweries and art galleries of nearby towns and stay in warm, homey cabins at night. For the most part, though, those early settlers were able to appreciate this wonder, and that's a pretty sweet reward for making it all the way across the country to beautiful Oregon.
7. Crater Lake
The story of how America's deepest lake came to be is just as incredible as the scenery it offers; a volcanic explosion blew the top off Mount Mazama and the resulting caldera filled with snow and rain, producing a clear blue lake dotted with islands of volcanic rock and ash. Stand on the rim, look deep into the pristine water, learn why one island is called Phantom Ship, and look for the Old Man of the Lake-- he's a 30-foot tree stump that's been bobbing vertically in the lake since the late 1800's. This beautiful National Park is one of Oregon's most stunning natural wonders-- but remember to pack a sweater!
For more ways to explore each of Oregon's Seven Wonders, check out our guide... then get out there and start experiencing them for yourself!