Only in Oregon: Unique Places and Strange Sights

After spending the last year mostly at home, it could soon be the right time to look around outside of home a bit more.  

From the Ghost Forest of Neskowin to the Oregon Vortex, our beautiful state is filled with unexpected and unique experiences that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. One trip simply isn’t enough time to explore every corner and interesting thing, which is why living here is often deemed preferable. As residents, we have year-round access to all of the marvels Oregon has to offer. According to a 2019 article from Travel Oregon, here’s a list that will tempt even the most stoic adventurer.  

First, take a weekend trip to Eastern Oregon, and visit the Malheur National Forest to see the World’s Largest Single Living Organism, the Humongous Fungus. The Fungus has infected over 4-square-miles of forest land to the east of John Day. Scientists believe it has been growing for 2-8,000 years, and once a year, it blooms into an enormous mushroom after the first fall rains. You can get information about the fungus by visiting either the Prairie City Ranger District in Prairie City or the Malheur National Forest Ranger District in John Day.   

If you’re looking for an educational trip a little closer to home, head over to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon. (It’s okay to visit the land of the Ducks once in a while.) This museum curates and maintains the oldest shoes in the world. At nearly 10,000 years old, the pair of sagebrush bark sandals discovered in the Great Basin in 1938 was preserved in a layer of ash from the volcanic eruption of Mt. Mazama which is now Crater Lake. (Another Oregon wonder that you should see, by the way.)   

Travelling a little farther south will take you to what could be considered the strangest destination on the list. The Oregon Vortex is a place where gravity seems to disappear, and tall things appear to have a different height altogether. Native Americans called this place “Forbidden Ground” because after their horses refused to enter it, they had nothing to do with the area. The museum there was built almost 100 years ago by John Litster who was a geologist, mining engineer and physicist. He opened the area to the public in 1930 and conducted experiments within it. According to the Travel Oregon article, it’s been featured on the “X-Files” and is a must-visit site.   

When in the mood for a coastal outing, the Neskowin Ghost Forest is a must-see. The Ghost Forest is made up of around 100 ancient Sitka Spruce trees that scientist believe were destroyed by some kind of natural disaster like a tsunami or earthquake. They’re now covered in barnacles and other sea life, and are both beautiful and eerie to walk among.   

Finally, if you’re into tempting superstition, a place near Government Camp is the spot for you. Silent Rock, off of Highway 26, is said to bring bad luck to anyone who does not observe a time of silence when passing. If you’re quiet when going past it, you will have a good day on the mountain. If not…   

Oregon is filled with incredible sights and places, and every resident has their own favorites. We live in a beautiful, diverse and unique state, so get out there and enjoy it already.   

By Kyra Young