In addition to the titles cited in the text, Oregon-bound travelers may want to read some of these books. We advise readers to search for out-of-print books at www.powells.com.
Benchmark Maps. Oregon Road and Recreation Atlas. Medford, OR: Benchmark Maps, 2005. Use this atlas to help plan your trip or as a travel companion. Lots of detail and shaded relief.
Loy, William G. Atlas of Oregon. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon Press, 2001. Find graphic details on economics, climate, geology, and historic trails in this detailed gorgeous reference atlas.
MacArthur, Lewis. Oregon Geographic Names. Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 2003. This text might be physically weighty, but its alphabetic historical rundown of place-names makes for light and informative reading.
Gibbs, James A. Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast. Portland: Binford and Mort, 1989. Endlessly fascinating and frequently heartbreaking reading from a master of Northwest maritime lore. Covers all known shipwrecks off the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and California.
McRae, W. C., and Judy Jewell. Moon Coastal Oregon. Berkeley: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2010. Comprised of the coastal Oregon chapters in this travel guide.
O’Donnell, Terence. Cannon Beach: A Place by the Sea. Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1996. A highly personal historical evocation of life in Cannon Beach and environs.
Ostertag, Rhonda, and George Ostertag. 75 Hikes in Oregon’s Coast Range. Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2001. A well-chosen selection of hikes along the length of the coastal ranges covers a broad variety of terrain and difficulty levels. Detailed trail descriptions and maps make this guide particularly useful.
Sullivan, William L. 100 Hikes Travel Guide: Oregon Coast and Coast Range. Eugene, OR: Navillus Press, 2002. William Sullivan puts out the most carefully researched hiking guides in the business—we’d follow him down any trail!
Jackman, E. R., and R. A. Long. The Oregon Desert. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 2003; and Jackman, E. R., John Scharff, and Charles Conkling (photographer). Steens Mountain in Oregon’s High Desert Country. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 2003. These two works are the classics for eastern Oregon. Within the volumes, history and local color fill in the east side of the state’s wide-open spaces.
Kerr, Andy. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers, 2000. Kerr, a well-known Oregon environmental activist, focuses on wilderness areas and those that deserve protection.
Sullivan, William L. 100 Hikes Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon. Eugene, OR: Navillus Press, 2001. Along with his usual well-researched hikes and detailed hand-drawn maps, Sullivan offers up a bit of history and a few travel recommendations.
Davis, H. L. Honey in the Horn. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho Press, 2004. This reprint edition of a 1935 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel about rowdy southern Oregon settlers makes the pioneer days seem quite real.
Kesey, Ken. Sometimes a Great Notion. New York: Viking, 1964. One of the best novels ever about life in rural Oregon.
Lesley, Craig. Winterkill. New York: Picador, 1996. Native American characters make their way in the modern world.
Adams, Melvin. Netting the Sun. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 2001. Born and raised in eastern Oregon, Adams’s passion for Oregon’s high desert informs this collection of haunting and beautifully written essays.
Douglas, William O. Of Men and Mountains. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1985. The final chapters of the late Supreme Court Justice’s autobiography provide some redolent descriptions of life in Oregon. Particularly evocative are his descriptions of the Wallowas.
Hadlow, Robert W. Elegant Arches, Soaring Spans: C. B. McCullough, Oregon’s Master Bridge Builder. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 2003. Covers the dozen beautiful bridges designed by McCullough between the world wars, which he called “jeweled clasps in a wonderful string of pearls.”
Jewell, Judy. Oregon. New York: Fodor’s Compass American Guides, 2005. Read this guide before traveling to the state to complement Moon Oregon as your on-the-road reference. Beautiful color photos and insightful travel tips liven up this literary rendition of Oregon’s greatest hits.
Tisdale, Sallie. Stepping Westward. New York: Holt and Co., 1991. The award-winning essayist deftly blends fact and fancy. In her treatment of the past, present, and future of the Northwest, the Portland author emphasizes a native worldview.
Barringer, Jody, and Ruth Berkowitz. Kidding Around the Gorge. Hood River, OR: Gorgebooks, 2003. A kid-tested list of activities for and places to take children in the Columbia River Gorge, with easy-to-follow driving directions.
Fanselow, Julie. Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 2003. This guidebook for the modern-day explorer acquaints readers with what to see and do along Lewis and Clark’s celebrated route from Illinois to Oregon.
Fanselow, Julie. Traveling the Oregon Trail. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2001. The adventures continue with Fanselow’s scenic and informative guide to the present-day Oregon Trail.
Foster, Laura O. Portland Hill Walks: Twenty Explorations in Parks and Neighborhoods. link Portland: Timber Press, 2005. Great walking guide with colorful commentary that will take you through Portland’s neighborhoods.
Friedman, Ralph. Oregon for the Curious. Caldwell, ID: Caxton, 1972. Friedman was Oregon’s king of the road. Of his half-dozen books, this is the most recommended. It is still the best mile-by-mile description of the state ever written.
Garren, John. Oregon River Tours. Portland: Garren Publishing, 1991. Detailed maps and charts make this an indispensable tool for anyone braving Oregon’s white water.
Nix, Nell. Out and About: Portland with Kids. Portland: Sasquatch Books, 2009. A must-have for those exploring Portland with children.
Vaughn, Greg. Photographing Oregon. Alta Loma, CA: PhotoTripUSA, 2009. Good tips on selecting subjects and setting up your shots.
Ambrose, Stephen. Undaunted Courage. New York: Touchstone Press, 1996. A classic book on the country’s seminal voyage of discovery, the Lewis and Clark expedition. It gives a historical context to the explorers’ journals in an entertaining, enlightening way. Read this before taking on The Journals of Lewis and Clark themselves. The latter work is available through many different publishers, but the antiquated grammar and archaic English make it difficult reading.
Beckham, Steven Dow, and Robert M. Reynolds (photographer). Lewis & Clark from the Rockies to the Pacific. Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 2002. Focusing on the second half of the expedition’s outward-bound journey, this gorgeously illustrated and insightful book covers Lewis and Clark’s trying months spent camped in the rainy woodlands of the northern Oregon coast.
Del Mar, David Peterson. Oregon’s Promise: An Interpretive History. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 2003. Something of an alternative to more traditional histories of the state, this one focuses on the diversity of the people and their varied experiences.
Federal Writers’ Project (editor). WPA Guide to Oregon. Portland: Binford and Mort, 1940. The granddaddy of them all, this 1941 guide is the primary inspiration for Moon Oregon. The product of dozens of authors working in the Federal Writers’ Project, this post-Depression guidebook still sets the standard for thorough coverage and vivid description. Although much of the information is dated, its rundown of pioneer history and glimpses of early 20th-century Oregon make it a valuable tool for any modern traveler. Available in many public libraries.
Friedman, Ralph. In Search of Western Oregon. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 1991. A fascinating read, packed with anecdotes, folklore, historical details, and more, all told in Friedman’s engaging style.
O’Donnell, Terrence. Portland: An Informal History and Guide. Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1964. This book is widely available used, and it makes for entertaining reading.
Oregon Secretary of State (editor). Oregon Blue Book. Salem, OR: State of Oregon, 2009. Published biennially by the state of Oregon, this volume provides the best concise history of Oregon and a wide assortment of facts about the state. Much of the text is available at http://bluebook.state.or.us.
Robbins, William G. Landscapes of Promise: The Oregon Story 1800–1940. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999. In this fascinating environmental history of Oregon, Robbins examines ways that Oregonians have interacted with the land; he shows that Native Americans altered the landscape in a number of ways, and that the landscape encountered by early white settlers was, in some areas, highly managed.
Smith, Landon. The Essential Lewis and Clark. New York: Ecco Press, 2000. Covers information similar to the dynamic duo’s journals, yet provides a much easier read.
Alt, David, and Donald W. Hyndman. Roadside Geology of Oregon. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2003. This book’s mile-by-mile approach makes it a good book to have in the car to answer your questions about Oregon’s geology.
Bishop, Ellen Morris. In Search of Ancient Oregon: A Geological and Natural History. Portland: Timber Press, 2003. If you enjoy reading about geology, this is the book for you. Even if you are not so sure about your commitment to geological study, it’s a good read with lots of illustrative photos.
Evanich, Joseph E., Jr. Birders Guide to Oregon. Portland: Audubon Society of Portland, 2003. A good all-around guide to the state’s birdlife, with a useful breakdown of specific coastal locations and details on what species to watch for and when.
Jolley, Russ. Wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1988. An exhaustive study of the gorge’s plant species, with excellent color photos identifying 744 of the Columbia Gorge’s more than 800 species of flowering shrubs and wildflowers.
Laskin, David. Rains All the Time. Seattle: Sasquatch Press, 1998. A fascinating inquiry into the region’s rain forest–to-desert diversity.
Littlefield, Caroll D. Birds of Malheur Refuge. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 1990. Recommended for serious birders.
Paulson, Dennis. Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998. For the specialist rather than the generalist, there is no better book than this richly detailed guide for distinguishing an avocet from a stilt, a plover from a curlew, and identifying any of the dozens of other species found near the water’s edge. Unless you’re a collector, borrow this out-of-print gem from the library.
Pojar, Jim, and Andy MacKinnon (editors). Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alaska. Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing, 2003. A highly regarded guide to the flora of the entire Northwest region, illustrated with excellent photos.
Sept, J. Duane. The Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver, BC: Harbour Publishing, 1999. This ideal guide for the casual and curious observer aids in understanding the intertidal zone and in identifying more than 270 species encountered there, including crabs, clams, and other mollusks, seaweeds, sea stars, sea anemones, and more.
Wallace, David Rains. The Klamath Knot. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1984. An excellent book on the natural history of southern Oregon.
Giordano, Pete. The Soggy Sneakers Guide to Oregon Rivers. Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2004. An indispensable guide to Oregon’s rivers, replete with maps, class ratings, gradient listings, river lengths, and best seasons to visit.
Hill, Sean Patrick. Moon Oregon Hiking. Berkeley: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2010. Details more than 280 hikes throughout Oregon, including hiking tips and top 10 lists of Oregon’s best trails.
Stienstra, Tom. Moon Oregon Camping. Berkeley: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2010. Details nearly 700 campgrounds across the state, with an excellent selection on the coast. Rich with tips on gear, safety, and other topics.
Sullivan, William L. 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. Eugene, OR: Navillus Press, 2006. Sullivan’s excellent hiking guides also include 100 Hikes books for the Central Oregon Cascades, Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and the Oregon Coast and Coast Range.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel