Civil war history and Oregon's oldest General Store, kayaking along the Clackmas and bat hunting. Your family will be enthralled by these Oregon State Parks:
Fort Stevens was in service for 84 years, from the Civil War until World War II. The present park unfolds for 4,300 acres that feature recreational as well as historical attractions. Comb the beaches or swim in the freshwater lake. Follow the trails to a shipwreck and discover the historic military fort. Six miles of hiking and biking trails penetrate pine and hemlock forests and skirt bluffs and sand dunes. Canoeists and fishermen strike out on Coffenbury Lake.
Pioneer history and river trails for biking and hiking unfurl at the Oregon State Park which is home to the historic Butteville store, the state's oldest. Wander through the wetlands to choruses of birdsong or take a tour of the Pioneer Mothers Log Cabin museum for an authentic glimpse into the region's history. Kids will also love the 1860s garden tucked behind the Visitor Center.
Kayakers paddle along the sparkling Clackamas River at this stunning state park. A 27-hole golf course welcomes sporting families, while animal lovers will be thrilled by the Bat Trail which takes you on a tour of the park's colony which is home to four different species. Estacada Lake is beloved of fishermen and jumping with salmon and steelhead. Grill your catch at the picnic area.
Panoramic views from mountains and canyons spur hikers to take to Oregon's trails. Head down the trails in these state parks for thrilling glimpses of wildlife and waterfalls:
Crashing two hundred foot to the canyon floor, the celebrated South Falls are only one of the waterfalls you will pass on the 7 mile loop trail at Silver Falls. Often called the jewel of Oregon's State Parks system, the park stretches for nine thousand acres in the lower reaches of the Cascade Mountains. Over 35 miles of trails for mountain biking, hiking and horse back riding. Keep your eyes peeled for cougars and bears as you hike, though they more often keep to the remotest regions of the park.
Eight miles of winding walking trails curl like vines through verdant forest. Follow the Cape Lookout Trail to the headland where you can enjoy views over the glittering water. You might even spot a whale. Don't forget the Nature Trail, a far shorteer wander, which is planted with native trees and plants marked with guiding plaques. Beaches stretch for three miles to the end of Netarts spit. Tides permitting, this makes for another spectacular walk.
These silent woodlands are secretly ribboned with trails and feature stunning geological formations and sprays of wild flowers according to the season. Alder and Sitka trees mantle the stretch between the beach and the mountain. Hike the to the mountain at dawn and return to the beach for lunch.
From vast basalt basins to eagle-watched rivers and superb surfing beaches, Oregon is an outdoor playground for adventure sports fans. Here are some of the top state parks:
Climbers will love Smith Rock State Park, where the views over the plunging river canyons are stunning. You might even spot a golden eagle or prairie falcon flying high over the park. There are thousands of climbing paths in the park. As you follow its warren of trails, look for mule deer and beaver.
With coastline stretching for nine miles Ecola State Park is the perfect destination for all manner of water sports. Wander amid the tide pools and take in the ocean vistas at Tillamoook Head or explore the abandoned lighthouse. The park's trail system is interconnected with the Oregon Coast Trail as well as a historical interpretative trail called the Clatsop Loop. As you play in the water, look out at the sea stacks that line the shore off Cannon Beach, backed by mountains. Surfing at Indian Beach draws visitors from miles around.
Hike or ride through the Cottonwood River Canyon which is littered with basalt blocks. The largest of Oregon's state parks, Cottonwood is a haven for fishermen as its rivers are teeming with bass and steelhead.