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Oregon Travel Guide
Ecola State Park, Oregon © Cacophony
Situated in the northwest just north of California and Nevada, the state of Oregon has one of the most diverse landscapes of any state in the USA. Apart from its famous forests, the state boasts towering mountain ranges, arid scrublands, wide prairies, deserts, and a stunning coastline.
The salmon-rich Columbia River meanders along the state's northern boundary, and the surrounding fertile Willamette Valley is home to around 70 percent of Oregon's population. The state has over 50 mountain ranges, and adventure seekers will find lift-serviced alpine skiing operators south of the valley in the Calapooya Mountains, west at the Oregon Coast Range, and east in the snow-capped volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range.
Most of Oregon's countryside is remarkably unspoilt, from pristine beaches and lush valleys to rugged mountain peaks. It boasts natural attractions such as Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in northern America, as well as hundreds of miles of rivers and around 1,400 named lakes. This includes Crater Lake, the deepest in the USA.
In addition, more than half of the state is covered in natural forest. This makes it a delight for nature lovers, although its merits as an outdoor adventure tourist destination are slightly marred by an exceptionally rainy climate.
It is far easier to head west on the Oregon Trail today than it was for the historic pioneers in their covered wagons, but visitors are no less delighted by the charms of this destination than those gutsy emigrants of the mid-1800s.
Straddling the Willamette River, the largest city in Oregon is Portland. Although Salem is the state capital, Portland is modern, compact, vibrant, and the commercial and tourist hub of the state. It is famous for its locally brewed beer and is known as the City of Roses owing to its abundance of flowers. The city's cultural scene is worth noting too, particularly in the Pearl District, which has an enviable selection of art galleries, upmarket shops and restaurants. Book lovers will owe themselves a visit to the iconic Powell's Bookstore.
Majestic natural beauty, Wild West roots and top-class cultural attractions make Oregon an appealing destination by measure. Visitors can look forward to experiencing the best of the northwest, whether their tastes lean towards the outdoors or exciting cities.
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