The Umpqua National Forest is full of beauty, it’s much like a smaller Columbia River Gorge in my opinion.
While taking Highway 138, to or from Crater Lake, it runs along the spectacularly turquoise North Umpqua River.
There are plenty of natural wonders along this highway, but the Umpqua Hot Springs is one to be recognized above all else.
It is fairly simple to find, if your heading east on highway 138 from Roseburg, it’s just past mile marker 59, follow signs to Toketee Falls.
The hike to Toketee falls is about a two mile, fairly easy hike. There are plenty of viewpoints, but you do have to use a rope to get down to the bottom to get the best views.
There will be warning signs telling you not to go down the rope, so whether you do so or not is up to you.
To get to the hot springs, you will continue straight on this road for another two miles, it will break off at one point, stay to the right. You will continue down that road for another two miles and the parking lot for the trail head will be on the left. The trail can get fairly steep, there are rails to help you up the steepest points.
It is possible the road will be blocked off, it was when we went! If there is significant snow, you will have to park at the closed gate and hike the two miles to the trail head.
I personally think that the snow made the hot springs even more beautiful.
Even in the snow, these hot springs were still plenty hot, there is about a total of seven or eight pools, they get colder as you go down.
I love the location of this waterfall, I saw it in the middle of winter. It was snowing and everything was covered in white as this waterfall trickles down a rock wall high up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This waterfall is located near the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge and the whole area is gorgeous!
You can also hike to the bottom of this, it’s not difficult, it was just too slippery for us at that time but I recommend it!
This is my second favorite waterfall in Washington. Located on the Hood Canal near the Olympic National Forest, an area full of beautiful waterfalls, but this one is well hidden and contains only a small sign you couldn’t see from the road. It’s about a quarter mile, easy hike to the waterfall and you can get right up to it and even climb up it a bit!
There is also a small pool at the bottom that we were pleased to jump off rocks into 🙂
The area of which this waterfall is, is spectacular. Near the Olympic National Forest and the ever-so-blue Lake Crecent, you’ll find a short half-mile hike to find this waterfall. I think it’s the location that makes this waterfall stand out to me
This is my favorite waterfall I’ve seen in Washington! This spectacular waterfall is one of the many waterfalls in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, it is not a waterfall that is right off the side of the road by any means, it is deep into this forest, a long drive up towards Ape Caves in the Mt. St. Helens region. The hike once you hit the parking lot is only a quarter mile and there are many viewpoints and even access to get to the bottom of the waterfall, where you can swim or walk on the shallow grounds! You can also access the top of the waterfall and find some swimming holes or cliff jump into the deeper parts of bottom of the waterfall.
This waterfall is massive! The biggest in Washington I’m pretty damn sure! You can see the waterfall from the parking lot, it pours into a giant crater so perfectly. You are able to hike along the rock sides and where the river flows before it leaves down the waterfall. You can even climb dangerously along the rocks where the waterfall falls off the giant ledge. There is also a small path to get down to the bottom, it looks a little sketchy, we didn’t do it but it would be an amazing view!
The Wailua River is a wide river very popular for kayaking and paddle boarding. It takes about three hours round trip to paddle board and it is full of luscious rainforest and stunning views every where you turn. From it, you can paddle to Secret Falls, located in a small village about half way through your trip and one other waterfall. We rented our boards from an amazing shop very close to the main entrance for the river, Stand Up Paddle.
O’opaka Falls is easily accessible to view, it is a massive waterfall that you can see from a distance right off the road, in the middle of Kauai’s luscious rain forests.
Wimea Falls is a very tall waterfall, also easily accessible. The view point allows you to see from the top down, though you can also climb to the bottom which I highly recommend.
Wimea Canyon State Park
Wimea Canyon State Park is an absolute MUST SEE on the island of Kauai. You can spot gorgeous views throughout the entire park, waterfalls, canyons, forests, red sand areas and several incredible viewpoints.
There are several hiking paths in this park as well that supply spectacular views!
There are many ways to access the Na Pali Coast, most of which costs you money, such as a boat tour or a helicopter tour. Both of these, we wished to have done, but it was simply too expensive but I do recommend it if you have the money for it.
There are many other incredible places to see on the island of Kauai, but these were my absolute favorites.
This island is magical, you can even spot the forbidden island of Niihau, from the western part of the island.
It is much more luscious greenery than the other islands.
I’ve drove through this amazing gorge in the past and gazed upon it’s beauty but never really stopped and explored the area, so that’s exactly what we did last weekend and it’s one of my favorite locations in both Washington and Oregon, as it is located on both sides.
We made our way to the Columbia River Gorge from the Oregon side, which has more of the popular views and waterfalls. I recommend taking the Historic Highway, just the drive is gorgeous and you will find many waterfalls along the way that I cannot find the names to, as they are a little smaller, but it is a must do. If you have an R. V, it may not be quiet safe for you to drive it though.
The first official stop we made was Latourell Falls, one of my favorite Oregon waterfalls, you can get right up to where the water meets. It’s so powerful you can feel the spray without being too close, this thing is massive!
We saw a trail that led further down that I definitely recommend taking, the entire area is gorgeous.
There are many other stops along the Historic Highway, Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon, was unfortunately blocked off during the season, so we couldn’t get any good shots, but it is still quiet the view. When on the Washington side of the Gorge, you can still see this massive waterfall on the other side of the Columbia River.
We didn’t get photos of Bridal Veil Falls or Horsetail Falls because that part of the Historic Highway was closed when we were there, but we will be sure to be back to these natural wonders.
When driving along the Gorge, make sure to look onto the Washington side of the river to see an enormous waterfall going down into the river, I’m not sure of the name of this but it is absolutely breathtaking.
As I said before, you will run into waterfalls along this highway every few minutes and each one is worth stopping to see, some even without names. For a full list of the popular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, click here.
We crossed over the Bridge Of The Gods, which links the Oregon portion of the Gorge to Washington and is a two dollar toll bridge that is pretty awesome.
Once we got onto the Washington side, we found a local secret waterfall that took us on a National Forest Development road all the way up a mountain where it began to snow! By the time we left this area, we had about two feet of snow!
The waterfall we saw was Panther Creek Falls and it was amazing, it was a short hike downhill with an overlook, it also has a little rock climb down to the lower level. It has a rope to help you down and I definitely recommend it.
Afterwards, we started heading towards our Airbnb towards Washougal and stopped at Cape Horn, right off the highway and it is STUNNING! You can see the entire Gorge and even spot the waterfalls on the Oregon side.
In Washougal, we stayed at a Treehouse we found on Airbnb, and it was perfect for our lifestyle! I definitely recommend Airbnb for travelers, it allows you to meet new people and discover new creative homes and places.
We are going to be heading back to this area soon, the summer would be more ideal for this area so we wont run into snow again. But after doing some research, we realized that there is an incredible amount of hidden waterfalls on the Washington side of the Gorge that we must see! We already have a wish list.
We used the book, Curious Gorge, to help us find all these waterfalls and it was extremely helpful and will be our guide for our next adventure here.
Though I’ve lived at the bottom of the Washington coast all my life, last weekend was the first time I drove all the way up 101 North. We’ve just about traveled all of the 101 highway now, and Washington’s coast is not much short of Oregon’s.
We took advantage of good winter weather and traveled from South Bend, WA, up 101 all the way to the most northwestern tip of the United States, Cape Flattery. Of course we stopped at some destinations along the way, and all of them were amazing, where the temperate rainforests of Washington meet with the coastal waves.
Our first stop was Quinault, a beautiful area full of nature trails from a quarter mile long, to full backpacking trips. The largest Sitka Spruce tree in the world lives in this lush forest, as well as many other large trees and some coastal redwoods. There are plenty of waterfalls, some you can hike to and some right off of the road.
We stayed in the Quinault lodge, though in the summer there are so many beautiful camping spots next to the Lake Quinault. This lodge is gorgeous and relaxing though, with access to trails and the lake right outside. It has a nice restaurant, pool, game room and an overall nice environment.
The next morning we woke up and started heading further north, our next stop being Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, some of the coastal gems of Washington.
Kalaloch Beach has a famous tree called the Tree of Life or Big Tree Cave. You can see the entire root system from the beach, it grows in the air and the ends connect to the ground, above the beach.
Ruby Beach has lots of giant coastal rocks, easily accessible from the sand. One has a natural arch, others have holes through them, it is quite the site. You can spot some star fish, sea urchins and other marine life as well.
This beach is called Ruby Beach because you can find ruby clusters within the rocks if you look hard enough!
After this pit stop, we headed up North towards Port Angeles, I recommend stopping at Lake Crescent along the way, as it is beautiful and has a hike to a waterfall that is lovely. We stayed in Port Angeles for the night and headed west to the northwestern tip of the U. S, Cape Flattery. This is about two hours from Port Angeles and well worth it.
Located on an Indian Reservation, it is a well-kept trail with handmade walking sticks for anyone in need. The trail is wooden and an absolute gorgeous two-mile hike, round-trip. There are several viewpoints along this trail, and every one is worth seeing. You can see coastal rock caves where the ocean meets, many coastal rocks and an island not too far from the edge of the cape with a lighthouse.
The northwestern tip is nothing short of magical, and every step to get there makes the adventure even more beautiful.
Cape Kiwanda is my favorite cape on the Oregon coast, and that says a lot because Oregon is full of beautiful coastal lines.
The best thing about the Oregon coast is it’s Oregon Beach Bill, which allows you to wander anywhere your heart desires on the beaches, as the beaches belong to the people and are protected from being owned or industrialized. So many signs can say to not go beyond this point or something, but it’s more of a warning.
Cape Kiwanda is located in Pacific City, a small, simple and beautiful town that I love so much! The beach is a very public beach and not hard to find, it also has Pelican Brewing (which has great beer) right on the beach, which is a perfect place with outdoor seating to enjoy the view of haystack rock and the sunset.
There’s also a good amount of waves to surf, which many people do here. If your entering the beach, you’ll see a huge sandhill to the right, climb this and you will be on top of Cape Kiwanda.
Once you get on top of this sand hill, there is so much to space to wander, and so many views to see, make sure not to miss a single one and to experience it as best you can, ignoring the warning signs!
Also, make sure to take the scenic view to get to Pacific City, which allows you to see two other capes before Cape Kiwanda, it’s called the three capes scenic drive. You’ll take a right about 20 miles before Pacific City to take this route, there will only be one sign, so much sure to keep a look out for it.
Crater Lake is an absolute must-see location in the Pacific Northwest and one of my favorites! When I first saw Crater Lake with my own eyes, I could only describe it as heaven on Earth. This could have very well been because of the timing of which I was there, which I recommend to anyone wanting to visit there. I was in Crater Lake in July, early in the morning, with a blue sky and clouds within it. The water was incredibly still and the water was a beautiful reflection of the snow of the crater and the sky above it, so perfectly that it was difficult to tell where the water began and the sky started.
Crater Lake was once a volcano, called Mount Mazama. This volcano’s eruption was so enormous, that it caused the volcano to collapse into itself, leaving a giant crater, almost 2,000 feet deep. This crater filled with water through rainfall and melted snow, making it insanely clean and therefore a gorgeous, bright blue.
There are many different areas to view the crater and there is one area that you can actually get into the water, this place is called Cleetwood Cove and is about a 20 foot cliff. This jump is a must do! Seeing the snow-covered crater from the crystal clear water is like pure magic and the water isn’t as cold as you would expect. You have to hike about a mile downhill to reach this area, the hike down is wonderful and the hike up can be a little difficult, but well worth it.
The main area of Crater Lake has a lot of information to learn everything about the area, as well as buy souvenirs and some fancy food, which wasn’t as expensive as I expected, with the view that we had.
It is, till this day, the most beautiful place I have ever seen, if you are anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, this is a place that you must see, and I recommend it in the early morning in good weather, and to stay throughout the day.
This October has been such a beautiful one, I’m realizing that it’s one of my favorite months. It carries on the sunshine from the end of summer and still, the color of autumn within the trees.
Halloween continues to be one of my favorite holidays, maybe it’s because during a period of time as a child I was unable to celebrate it because it was “the devil’s holiday.”
I always found the traditions fun, but these traditions go a lot further back than modern day. The day/night of Halloween is known to be the day that releases the barrier between the dead and our world as the world begins to be darker, colder and bounty begins to die, only to begin again.
Originally, people dressed up to convince the dead that they were dead as well, so that they would not be bothered. People also decorated their houses as so and baked sweet goods as a peace offering to the dead to draw them away from their homes.
It is so interesting that this tradition remains nearly the same without the knowledge of it’s meaning.
None of this is necessarily the scary holiday it has turned to be. Halloween is known as a day of celebration to the people who have passed on and the lives that they had; many celebrate it as Samhain, as it was celebrated back in the Celtic age. This wiccan holiday is celebrated on the same day, but as a way to honor the dead in a beautiful way and also to recognize the original day marked as the end of summer and begin the darker days to restart nature’s cycle once more.
Many Pagans and Wiccan’s participate in rituals to honor the dead, if you’d like to participate in any, here are some examples.
The recognition of death is a very important stage within nature and our lives. I believe the more we recognize it, the less grief we would have for people who pass, but instead celebrate the lives that they had. That is what I see within Halloween… but it’s still fun to hand out candy and dress up as something, other than ourselves, under the moonlight.
The Washington coast goes a bit unnoticed when put next to the beautiful Oregon and California coast. This coast is unique in so many ways and gives an entirely new moody feel of the ocean. The Washington coast contains lots of rain, wind and fog but it is also what makes it so different and a must-see experience.
Cape Disappointment State Park is located in Ilwaco, WA, very close to Astoria, OR and has many wonders to see within the area full of beautiful temperate rainforests.
When you first enter into the park, each side of the road are covered in greenery, there are a few lookout spots that tell the history of the area, like Beardman’s Hollow. There are many wooden bridges throughout the park as well that work well for photography!
This cape contains two lighthouses, the first you will see is the North Head Lighthouse, which is only a quarter mile, easy hike. Of course it tells you to not go close to edge of the cape, but many people had already crossed the fence so I found no harm in doing the same. The view is gorgeous and you can walk far out onto the grass-covered cape to see the Pacific Ocean.
The next lighthouse is the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, this trail is a half mile and a bit more difficult. There are many hills, but it is a very pretty hike with access to beaches along the way.
Along the way you’ll run into Dead Man’s Cove, one of my favorite views of the coast, especially when the lighting is just right. You have to walk down to the beach if you want the best view, but no matter how you see Dead Man’s Cove, it is a spectacular view.
Once you get to the lighthouse, the view overlooks all of Ilwaco and Astoria, you can see the Astoria bridge and all the boats coming in from the ocean into the bay area. The view is perfect for some photographs.
Within the Cape Disappointment State Park you will also have the chance to see Fort Canby and many of it’s batteries as well as the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
The Tamolich Blue Pool is one of the Pacific Northwest most beautiful natural wonders. When I first saw photos of this place, I was intrigued right away, but couldn’t decide for myself whether the photos were photoshopped or not.
Seeing this magical place for myself, I can say that you cannot describe it’s beauty, it just must be seen.
The Tamolich Blue Pool used to be a waterfall, Tamolich Falls, but after a nearby volcanic eruption that left lava rock covering the waterfall, leaving the water flowing out the bottom of where the waterfall was. Because of this, it slowed down the water, creating a still pool that allows you to see the beautiful, blue water of the Mckenzie River.
The trailhead was a bit tricky to find. The main trail, called the Mckenzie Trail is about a six mile hike to three different waterfalls, including the Tamolich Blue Pool. With preparation, this would be an amazing hike. Though, if you just want to see the blue pool, it is located off the Mckenzie Highway down NF-730.
The trail is two miles long and is not a difficult hike. Most of the time you will be alongside the Mckenzie River, so the entire hike is very beautiful. The trail is very popular, so if your trying to hike with not too many people, I would recommend not going during the weekend.
Once you arrive where the pool is, it will be below you and it will blow your mind! There are many places to cliff jump into the pool, varying from 20 to 30 feet. The water is plenty deep to jump into confidently, though incredibly cold.
You can also hike all around the pool unto the other side where you can get right next to the water without jumping at all. I recommend both experiences!
If your looking for a new nature trip in the beautiful state of Oregon, travelling along the Mckenzie Highway to the blue pool will never be a regret, as there is so much to see, including Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls.