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Oregon: The Best State for Cliff Jumping

BeAlive — Feb 12, 2019

What do you think of when you think of Oregon? Forests, beaches, mountains, breweries,

Portland, farms? All of the above?

You should be thinking about cliff jumping.

Also known as cliff diving—if you’re doing somersaults and flips in the air—it involves jumping off of high and steep cliffs into deep bodies of water. And Oregon is THE place to do it. Cliff jumping is a dangerous adrenaline high that is straight-up addicting. Get ready to spike the heart rate and feel what it’s like to stand on the edge and just… jump. No limits. No land. All air, then all water. There’s nothing like it. We’re talking total free fallin’. Tom Petty would be proud.

Oregon is a prime cliff jumping location because of its abundant deep swimming holes and endless beauty. The rain and snow that blanket the Pacific Northwest area help feed thousands of bodies of water bordered by tall cliffs. AKA the ideal situation for cliff jumping. 

Oregon Cliff Jumping

Take it from someone who’s actually taken the plunge. Bethany, one of our stellar producers here at Be Alive, is an Oregon native who’s personally experienced the rush of standing on the edge..only to jump right off of it. She spent her summers in Oregon wilderness, touching her toes in pristine Oregon waters.

Read on to get Bethany’s perspective:

If you grew up in Oregon like I did, you know what it means to live for summer. We pay our dues in months of long rainy days, only to experience abundant payoffs in the summer. I can still see it: Glorious green hillsides. Long floats down the river…the adults with their beverages tied to their tubes, the kids swimming and splashing and knocking each other off of blow up mattresses-turned-water toys. I loved that cold, sometimes clean, sometimes dirty water. It didn’t take much when we were little. Just the creek bank between home and the next town.

We grew up. We got our driver’s licenses. We got summer jobs. But the water still called our names. We built rope swings and thought we discovered Bagby Hot Springs in the Mt. Hood Wilderness. Everything changed when we caught wind of the elusive 3 Pools lake and headed south. It was against the rules to give away too much about the legendary blue lagoons tucked away in the Oregon woods. 

When we made it to 3 Pools, it was like we found the Promised Land. We brought fishing poles, snorkels, floaties and small rafts, plus summer food staples like cherries and bags of chips. The water was so clear and blue that we had no fear when we jumped. I still remember a rock with a hole in it just under the surface. You could swim through the hole and come up the other side of a rapid. There, brook trout swam all around in the middle where the water was calm. It was otherworldly and such a rush…more so even than jumping. I was born again in that river. Every time.

Eventually, word got out through a local magazine cover with a featured article on the heavenly spot. I always knew 3 Pools wasn’t just “our” spot, but thanks to the article, people swarmed the lake like never before. I’ve since moved away. I haven’t been back.

3 Pools is just one of many outdoor iconic spots in Oregon. If you want another place for incredible cliff jumping, head to Crater Lake: the deepest lake in the entire United States. You won’t have to worry about hitting rock bottom here. Crater Lake’s bottom lies 2,000 feet below the water’s surface. It’s pure blue, beautiful and basically everything you’d want in an epic cliff jumping experience. Not only is the cliff jumping out of this world, but once you hike down (1,000 feet down a mile long hike), you can sit, fish and enjoy the incredible view. No limit. No fishing license required.

Columbia River Gorge Oregon

Another prime spot is Columbia River Gorge. This scenic river gorge is located where the Columbia River meets the Cascade Mountains. Extreme sport enthusiasts thrive here. It’s the perfect spot for all things outdoors, like hiking, kayaking, wind surfing, kiteboarding, and, of course, cliff jumping. There’s dozens of spots to jump along the gorge, ranging from five feet to 80 feet. When you jump, you’ll get to witness waterfalls and cinematic views of the gorge. It’s picture-perfect.

We dare you not to put these locations on your list for cliff jumping. And we’re not talking a “Must-See” list. It belongs on your “Must-Do” list.

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