Earlier this month, we took a little family trip to Central Oregon and while we were there, we were able to visit two of Oregon’s Seven Wonders (at least according to Travel Oregon) – The Painted Hills and Smith Rock! They’re both such gorgeous desert landscapes that are probably not what most people picture when they think of Oregon. However, they’re really breathtaking and definitely worth checking out! I shared a few of these photos on Instagram already, but I wanted to share some more, along with our thoughts on visiting these places with a toddler in tow! 🙂
Ever since I heard about (and saw pictures of) the the Painted Hills, I really wanted to check them out; however, since they’re a little bit of a drive from Portland (over 4 hours) we hadn’t gotten around to it. Earlier this year, we were considering going there to camp over Memorial Day weekend, however, it seemed like a lot of the camping in the area was first come first serve and we didn’t want to take the risk of driving all the way out there and having no place to stay over a holiday weekend. Also, when I had previously looked online, I was had a little bit of difficulty trying to gather information about planning a trip to the Painted Hills as they’re in a pretty remote area. So, we ended up just deciding to take a short day trip from Bend to see them instead, and that ended up being a really good choice!
The Painted Hills are just under two hours from Bend; I was concerned that it might be kind of long for Henry to be in the car to drive out there and then turn around and drive back, but it ended up being just fine! The drive was really pretty (you pass through the Ochoco National Forest) so it felt like it went by really quickly. Plus, we left Bend right around Henry’s nap time and he slept the entire drive there 🙂 The only problem was that on the day we decided to drive out there, the skies were cloudy and gray, which was not what I was hoping for after seeing so many amazing photos of these vibrant red hills against blue sky. But we continued on and initially headed towards the Painted Hills Overlook Trail; it’s a super short trail that offers amazing views!
|I know I’ve shared this photo like 3 times already, including in yesterday’s post, but I love it!|
I don’t think we were out of the car for more than 15-20 minutes before it started POURING rain, so that was kind of a bummer! But since this is such a dry desert landscape, it was actually kind of neat to see it in the rain, even if it wasn’t what I was initially hoping for when we planned this trip. And of course Henry didn’t mind at all, he’s such a happy little guy no matter the weather 🙂
We quickly drove over to the Painted Cove Trail, which is a super short trail that features a boardwalk right through the hills, and it’s probably the one you’ve seen in most of the Instagram photos from this area. And for good reason, it’s stunning! You can see the hills up really close and really take in their vibrant colors.
|They had this mini rock climbing wall for kids that Henry loved, even though he was kind of little for it 🙂|
Central Oregon is only a few hours from Portland, yet it feels like worlds away thanks to these dramatic dessert landscapes! It’s been fun to get out and explore more of the state now that Henry is running all over, and I know we’ll be coming back to these places down the road too 🙂
We’re actually headed out this weekend to explore another area of Oregon that I’ve never been to, so be sure to follow along on Instagram (@inthepinkandgreen) for more on that over the next few days!