Oakridge Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 25 photos

Oakridge is the largest Oregon community located within the Cascade mountain ranges. It is about 50 miles southeast of Eugene along OR 58 not far from Willamette Pass. The town is located right in the middle of a lot of outdoor activities - there are any number of lakes and large reservoirs, mountains, forests, skiing, fishing, abundant wildlife. The town existed mainly for the vast forests and most in Oakridge were connected in one way or another to the logging industry. The enactment of Federal protection for endangered species - in particular, the spotted owl - closed off many federally owned forests to logging interests, though truth be told, there were many other industry factors in play. For a one industry town, Oakridge has a a rough go of finding a new reason de vivre, much like many other small forest-related towns in Oregon and throughout the US West. Its nearness to natural beauty has been one saving grace that other towns did not enjoy. Even at that, ;you can see in the streets of the town that its renaissance is far from complete. If you do like outdoor adventures, Oakridge is right in the middle of what you might be looking for though.

The town is on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River and is located only a few miles downstream from the huge earth fill Hills Creek dam - just south off OR 58. Forest highways take you far and deep into the dense forested mountains in all directions. Most people barrel along on OR 58 going to or fro Willamette Pass - glorious Salt Creek Falls at the Pass along with the area’s ski hill at Willamette Pass. - not realizing all of the other wonderlands waiting to be explored just off the highway.

Besides the large reservoirs - Hills Creek reservoir is just one of several in the area - there are many natural lakes with some of Oregon’s largest lakes just across the east side of Willamette Pass - Odell and Waldo Lake which are both beautiful and different in character. The main peak that dominates the area, though with a hidden flair, at times, is Diamond Peak - named not for the stone but an early pioneer captain. Diamond Peak is a large eroded volcano set high to the south of Willamette Pass and serves as the birth grounds for the Middle Fork of the Willamette - which is the heart of the river.

  • Intro Updated Aug 30, 2005
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Reviews (7)

Comments (1)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2005 at 2:29 PM

    Huckleberries - yummmmiiieee :-) What a gem is this in the Oregon Mountains ! The lake sceneries are just too good to be true - wish I also could pitch my little green house there. And Toffee - adoring as always :-)


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