The eclipse gave us an opportunity to go back to Portland, Oregon and explore more of its surroundings. Here’re our top five activities:
1. The total eclipse
As far as experiences go, the total eclipse is definitely one of the most unique and surreal. Pictures don’t do it justice at all, that’s why I decided not to focus on taking pictures, especially because it’s only about 1 min long. The difference between 90% coverage eclipse and totality can’t be any more dramatic. At about 95% coverage, it starts with dusk and cooler temperatures, and the moment the moon covers the entire sun, complete darkness falls and you can even see some of the brightest stars. One minute later, the light comes back and everything goes to normal.
2. Hike through Oneonta Gorge (.6mi roundtrip)
This is a short hike but so much fun! Definitely need to be there in the morning if you want to have the canyon almost to yourself. Wading through cold water on an early Oregonian morning may not sound enticing, but once you see the canyon walls covered in moss and ferns towering above, you don’t mind your feet getting numb. The only “challenge” or more of a bottleneck are the logs piled up at the entrance to the canyon. But there’s even a rope installed to make the climb easier.
3. Silver Falls State Park – Trail of Ten Falls (7.5-8 mi)
It’s a long hike, but it takes you through lush forest and you get to see beautiful waterfalls along the way. Ok, not all waterfalls are spectacular, but there are at least 4 very nice ones with the trail passing behind them. We got there early in the morning and had no trouble finding parking at the North entrance. From there, the trail seemed to go downhill most of the time, which made for a relatively easy walk. Some of the waterfalls worth seeing – North Falls, Middle North Falls, Lower South Falls, and South Falls – all have a trail where you can walk behind them.
Keeping with the waterfall theme, the falls along Historic Columbia River Highway may be worth a stop if you’re in the area. Multnomah Falls are pretty impressive, but it was hard to enjoy them because of the crowds, especially during the eclipse weekend.
4. Angel’s Rest Trail
The first thing we did after we landed and got the rental car, we drove to the Angel’s Rest trailhead. At 6:30pm the parking lot was surprisingly still full. It’s a 2.3mi uphill battle to get to the top for an amazing view at sunset. It was pitch dark by the time we got back to the car.
To see the same view, with less effort, go to the Vista House. However, I believe the challenge of the hike makes the view more spectacular.
5. Mount Hood and Timberline Lodge
We spent a night at the Timberline lodge on mount Hood. The exterior of the lodge appeared in the movie “The Shining,” but it’s not at all terrifying in real life During the day, we took the Magic Mile Sky Ride to a higher point on the mountain and in the evening, we went to Trillium Lake but were too pooped to hike around it because of #4 above. After dinner, we watched the sunset and retired to our tiny room for the night.