We had always heard that Oregon has some of the best state parks in the country, so we were pretty excited about visiting the Beaver State! After leaving Washington, our first stop was Fort Stevens State Park which is near the town of Astoria. Fort Stevens was a military installation built near the end of the Civil War. It was also the defense for the mouth of the Columbia River and was active until 1947. During World War 2, a Japanese submarine surfaced and fired several rounds at the fort.
It was cold and rainy during our visit but we did have one marvelous day to explore.
The shipwreck of the Peter Iredale is located on the beach within Fort Stevens SP.
We headed to the Willamette Valley for a few days. Champoeg State Park is the site of an important settlement in the Willamette Valley. It was the capital of Oregon Country under a provisional government but was not chosen as the capital when the Oregon Territory was established. The town was eventually destroyed in a massive flood in 1861. It was ridiculously hot when we were there but we did manage to get out for a bike ride.
The Willamette Valley is also known as Oregon’s wine country. Our favorite winery in the area was Archer Winery, a small, family owned winery.
We had been looking forward to visiting the Columbia River Gorge. However, the area was devastated by a massive wildfire which required us to change our plan. We cancelled our reservation and scrambled to find alternative accommodations. We ended up at Detroit Lake which was also impacted by fires. The entire area was hazy with wildfire smoke.
We spent a week at Silver Falls State Park near Silverton where it rained the entire time we were there! We managed to get out for a rainy hike to see some of the falls.
As we were leaving Silver Falls, we experienced tire trouble! Thankfully we were driving slowly on a country road and were able to safely get off the road.
After a brief detour to a tire shop for new tires on our tow vehicle and Airstream, we made it to Honeyman State Park on the central coast for the weekend.
Our final stop in Oregon was Harris Beach State Park where we were blessed with perfect weather!
Oregon was beautiful and we’ll have to come back to camp in the Columbia River Gorge. Next stop, California!