Once, only the hardiest of America's pioneers made it to Oregon. Long before tattooed hipsters colonised the capital of Portland, fur-trappers and gold rush miners were rewarded for their epic journeys with scenery so beautiful it had the power to stop visitors in their tracks. Now, while you might not need to live off the land (unless you want to), Oregon remains wonderfully wild and one of our favourite alternative American states.
From the rugged coastline to a thick forested interior, the track-stopping scenery remains as unspoilt, diverse and beautiful as ever. Adventure seekers will find themselves with the excellent conundrum of whether to hike a glacier, admire fossils in the High Desert, or go canoeing on a lake in the shadows of the mighty Mount St. Hood volcano. A particular highlight of any Oregon trip is the stunning Crater Lake National Park, where cycling and walking trails are aplenty. And for lovers of the open road, the 101 Highway, which hugs the coast, is one of the most beautiful road trip destinations in the entire country. If adventure doesn't appeal, there's plenty of culture, wine and history to be enjoyed here too. In fact, Portland is about as culturally cool as American cities come. Here you'll find art galleries housed in old industrial estates, basement jazz bars and coffee shops on every street corner – it's the Shoreditch of Oregon, if you will. The city has also earned a wholly deserved reputation as one of the country's gastronomic hubs, and world class restaurants and popular food festivals such as the annual Feast Portland (held every September) help bring together the many craft brewers, artisanal chefs and organic suppliers. And that's all before even mentioning the state's fantastic offering of wineries, most likely found in the picturesque Willamette Valley.
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With so much on offer it's little wonder Oregonians are some of the most fiercely loyal state residents you'll meet anywhere in the USA. Visitors will soon find that a love for the place is infectious and there's no better way to feel connected to somewhere than through its history. As one of the country's Native American strongholds and with a rich gold rush past too, there is much to learn here. We can organise visits to the fascinating Tamástslikt Cultural Institute for an insight into Native American storytelling, or even arrange for visitors to join a traditional Powwow or meet a respected local Native American artist.