Three of Oregon’s finest fall break getaways

Photo by Lexie Boren

With fall break coming up, some of us may be looking forward to visiting with family, catching up on homework or just getting some much needed rest. For those whose breaks are yet to be planned, why not take a roadtrip? Between backcountry treks and relaxing on the coast there are plenty of excursions to make your fall break a memorable one.

Approximately a 90-minute drive outside of Portland, Cannon Beach is one of the most popular Oregon destinations for both locals and tourists alike.

“The drive up is really nice,” Cora Layman ’19 said. “The road goes mostly through the woods. We went for the weekend. There were three of us and we got an Airbnb right on the beach. It was pretty cheap and I thought it was a really good deal.”

There are several other options for lodging at Cannon Beach including Beach-side Inns starting at $90 per night. If you’re looking to save money, Haystack Hill State Park is a great location for camping within a couple minutes walk from the water’s edge.

“We spend our mornings and evenings on the beach but in the afternoon we hung out in town,” Laymen said, “a lot of the shops are really touristy but there are also some really cute antique shops. There are also a lot of great places to eat. I would recommend the Crêpe Neptune crepery.”

The beach itself is expansive and sandy and is in view of the famous Haystack Rock wildlife preserve. Despite the many visitors, it is not hard to find a spot of your own to relax or start a bonfire.

If you’re more fond of the outdoors, Salmon River has a beautiful trail, perfect for spending a couple nights in the wilderness. The river is located in the Mount Hood National Forest and is the only river in the contiguous United States that runs completely through a National Wild and Scenic area. The trail is a total of 14 miles and follows the river for the first few miles before entering the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness, at which point the trail starts gently climbing up the foothills of Mt. Hood. The beginning stretch of the trail is ideal if you are camping in a group or intending to have a campfire. For those who are able to brave the cold, there are plenty of swimming holes, usually populated by gigantic salmon. Upon entering the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness, stricter regulations apply to all overnight backpackers in order to preserve the wilderness. For more precise information on these regulations, visit the forest service’s website.

Another choice Oregon destination is Bagby Hot Springs, approximately 30 minutes south of Portland. There are natural hot springs also in Mt. Hood National Forest. Bagby is a favorite spot of students Jay Horita-Chu ’18 and Jack Wang ’18.

“It’s all first come first serve,” Horita-Chu said. “I’d go either early in the morning or late at night because it’s less crowded. If you go later at night you also don’t have to pay the $5 soaking fee. The early morning soak is my favorite because you wake up with the forest. It’s a great place. Just realize that Bagby is a place that many Oregonians enjoy multiple times throughout their lives. It’s not just an ephemeral thing that’s just there when you want to use it. So take care of it like it’s your own backyard.”

“There’s a bit of a hike once you get there,” Wang said. “Maybe like 20 minutes or so. It can get kinda crowded but there was definitely enough room for us. It was really cool, you can sometimes get your own big pool for your group of friends. You can camp there and I think you can even be nude there if you want.”

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