And breathe…youre about to enter one of Americas most alluring—and outdoorsy—states.

Sandwiched between Washington and California on the west coast of the U.S., Oregon offers a compelling mix of mountains, valleys, high desert, coastline and even volcanoes, and nearly half the state is carpeted in forest. With its clutch of strikingly beautiful national and state parks, it has plenty of ways to get back to nature—although with hip towns like Portland and the state capital of Salem, urbanites are plenty catered for as well.


Breathtaking hikes

Start by getting to grips with the ever-changing landscape on foot; over 1,000 hiking trails criss-cross the state. For breathtaking views of the mighty Columbia River, which forms most of the border with Washington, take to the Dog Mountain Trail. Less challenging but equally spectacular is the Mount Scott route, which offers an epic panorama of the crystal-clear Crater Lake, whose brilliant blue waters are over 600 metres deep.


Crater Lake, Oregon

Other natural wonders include Hells Canyon, a 16-kilometre-wide gorge that’s even deeper than the Grand Canyon; the volcanic Mount Hood, Oregons distinctively shaped snowcapped highest mountain; and the vast, dusty expanse of the Alvord Desert.

Rock-climbing enthusiasts should head to Smith Rock State Park for its jagged basalt-rock cliffs. There are lots of climbing guides and routes for novices and experts alike, and bouldering is an option as well. Over at Silver Falls State Park, you can walk behind waterfalls among soaring Douglas firs. Camping is permitted at most of these places too—imagine waking up to such incredible scenery.


Coastal playgrounds

Oregons coast offers many contrasts. Along its 583 kilometres, youll find sandy beaches, forest-shaded roadways, majestic headlands and charming coastal towns. If youre just looking for somewhere to fling down your beach towel, some of the prettiest stretches of sand include Cannon Beach, which is known for its distinctive monolith; Gold Beach, which is situated at the mouth of the Rogue River and named for the precious metal discovered here in the 19th century; and the dazzling white-sand beaches of Manzanita.


Cannon Beach, Oregon

Dont miss the towering Oregon Dunes, which stretch for 65 kilometres between Florence and Coos Bay; in some parts, they can reach heights of 150 metres. Florence itself is known as Oregons coastal playground thanks to the range of activities available, such as horseback riding, dune-buggying, sand-boarding and quad-biking. Head to Cape Lookout State Park for a chance to spot whales, and make for Astoria, the oldest town west of the Rockies, for some post-sunbathing recreation. A former fishing and logging village, its packed with buzzy bars and cool craft breweries.


The small fishing town of Astoria, Oregon

Award-winning wineries

On the topic of alcohol, Oregon has a fantastic reputation for wine. Over the past 40-plus years, it has received increasing international acclaim. Its wine epicentre is the Willamette Valley, tucked between the steep Cascade Mountains and the rolling Coast Range; here, youll find delicious award-winning Pinot Noir produced in many of its 700 or so wineries, as well as Pinot Gris, Merlot and Riesling.


Willamette Valley vineyard, Oregon

Other great wine-producing areas include the picturesque Rogue Valley, where Oregons first official winery was founded in 1873, and Umpqua Valley, with its undulating hills and mix of mountain ranges. Within them all, youll find farm-to-table dining, farm-stay experiences and plenty of tasting rooms in which to while away the afternoons.

Complement the great wine with some of Oregons finest produce; the state is known for cherries, hazelnuts, blueberries, apples and even truffles, and youll also find freshly caught salmon and crab. Pick a food trail and eat your way through the state.


Something for city slickers

Finally, dont miss a taste of city life. State capital Salem—no, not the one in Massachusetts that held witch trials in 1693—is a small, laid-back, artsy community that’s packed with museums and historic sites.


The Oregon State Capitol in the city of Salem

If youre looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, make a beeline for Portland. Its motto, “Keep Portland Weird,” is a hint as to just how fascinating this liberal city can be—expect drag brunches, naked bike rides, inventive doughnuts, indie bookshops, tiny houses, roller derbies and more. Its still deeply connected to nature, with over 300 parks and green areas, including Forest Park, which sprawls over an impressive 21 square kilometres.


To plan your trip to Oregon and discover all that the USA has to offer, visit Brand USA now.