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If the work week has got you down, we say it’s time for a weekend adventure. Does hiking, hot springs, waterfalls, and camping sound alright to you? Why not throw in an ancient, mouthwatering blue caldera lake while we’re at it? Go ahead and download your most adventurous playlist, pack up the car, and hit the road. We’re journeying south.
Fly down I-5 with the windows down and the tunes crankin’ to reach the first epic stop of your journey: Crater Lake. The famous lake is the result of a collapsed volcano that erupted 7,700 years ago. This caldera lake is filled with rain and snow water and stands as the deepest lake in the United States, and arguably the most pristine lake on Earth. You honestly have to see it to believe these deep blue waters.
Though, for your adventure, know that the lake rests high on a mountain, so be prepared with chains, snowshoes, and other winter gear if you’re planning an off-season trip. Regardless of season, wearing a few layers and sunglasses is a good look. In the summer, you might swim at Cleetwood Cove, but we recommend you save the suit for the next leg of your trip.
A 30-minute (or so) drive down the mountain will land you at Umpqua Hot Springs. Perched on the side of a hilltop, you’ll hike the 1.5-mile trail to reach the seven warm water pools meander slowly down to the North Umpqua River, a nice spot for a cold plunge… if you’re into that.
There’s a wooden shelter built over one of the pools for a little privacy. But, then again, these are clothing optional, so don’t be surprised by nudity here. The pools are day-use only, and a small fee per car is required to help maintain this special spot.
And once your muscles are all warmed up, it’s time to get moving.
Did someone order a fun trek with a side of beauty? Take a little hike to gigantic waterfall, Toketee Falls. (It’s as fun to say as it is beautiful to watch). As one of Oregon’s favorite waterfalls, this gentle wooded hike approaches the waterfall from above and lands you at a beautiful platform hugging one very tall tree, offering an amazing lookout.
If you want a closer look or want to touch the water, hop over the fence on the right and you’ll find a little pathway down to the water’s edge. Even with this extra detour, you’re only looking at a mile of tromping the out-and-back trail.
Long day, huh? If you’re not feeling the trek all the way back to Portland, or just want to stay with Mother Nature a bit longer, might we suggest laying out your sleeping roll at one of these spots. Oh, Oregon, you never let us down.
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