Oregon Delights This Winter
When you think winter in the Pacific Northwest do you think gray skies and rain? It’s a common myth that’s easily debunked when you are visiting Oregon in the winter due to the sheer geographical diversity: Sunny high desert? Check. Snow-laden forests? You bet. Pristine rivers? Pack your fishing gear. Mountain resorts for downhill skiing? Some of the best in the world. Hmm, maybe that misconception is really a clever way to keep the season a secret? Either way, the secret’s out: Cool days, fluffy snow and fewer crowds make winter prime time for visiting some of Oregon’s most spectacular sights.
Let Oregon’s winter weather wash over you
Winter is the lesser-known, loved-by-locals season to visit Oregon for experiences based on a range of weather across the state. Get wet: Visitors will find seasonal renewal in Oregon’sgeothermic hot springs (there are approx. 45!), hiking one of its many waterfall trails, or whale watching along the Southern Oregon Coast. Let it snow: Powder hounds will breathe in fresh mountain air as they hit the slopes of the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon (known as “Little Switzerland”), Mt. Bachelor, or the three ski resorts on Mt. Hood, including Timberline Lodge – home to the longest ski season in North America. Stay dry: Visit Central Oregon’s arid landscape at high altitude where Bend boasts 300 days of sunshine. Hike the Oregon Desert Trail, go underground to explore one of the region’s lava tubes, or cozy up overnight in one of Oregon’s forest fire lookouts turned accommodations.
Add a little sparkle to your holiday season
The sparkling wine scene is bubbling up in Oregon. What historically have been only a few wineries devoting themselves to bubbles (notably Argyle and Soter), now a burgeoning number of Oregon’s 900+ producers are turning their famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes into Champagne-quality vintages for special occasions and holiday celebrations. For example, Flâneur Wines located in Carlton in the northern Willamette Valley has released a brut sparkling wine which visitors can enjoy in their newly renovated 120+ year-old grain elevator turned tasting room. Additionally, Lytle-Barnett, ArborBrook, Brittan, Ayoub, Winderlea, Lachini, Furioso Vineyards and Duck Pond have all released their first sparkling vintages.
Oregon lights the way for wanderlust
Wanderlust Tours offers naturalist-guided tours throughout Central Oregon, including Bend, Sunriver and Sisters. They are the only guide company permitted to take visitors into the region’s vast network of lava tubes and caves, but they also offer a range of unique tours above ground, especially in winter, such as snowshoeing at night under the light of the moon where guests arrive upon an illuminated, hand carved amphitheater in the snow to enjoy a bonfire and stargazing. Wanderlust Tours is a founding member of Travel Oregon’s Why Guides program, which encourages visitors to consider a licensed guide or outfitter to provide safe and responsible travel experiences, and also offers a variety of volunteer tours throughout the year where visitors can help to maintain the health of Oregon’s lakes and forests in the high desert.