Half human, half ape, huge and heavily hairy: The elusive creature known as Bigfoot, according to legend, has roamed the forests of North America for hundreds of years to the delight of fans young and old. Despite inspiring countless books, documentaries, festivals and special tours, Bigfoot remains an enigma today.
Visitors to Oregon know that the big guy calls the Pacific Northwest home; t here’s even a Bigfoot Trap in Southern Oregon, built by hopeful “trappers” decades ago, and an Eastern Oregon researcher who’s devoted his life to finding evidence to prove that Bigfoot exists.
Oregon shows its love for the big guy (also nicknamed Sasquatch) with a growing number of events, tours and attractions. Here are several ways to channel your quest for Bigfoot in Oregon.
Artifacts on display
The new North American Bigfoot Center in Boring is a hub for Squatchy lore, culture, research, artifacts and gatherings. Launched by Cliff Barackman, Bigfoot field researcher and co-host of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot,” the museum is a must-visit for believers and skeptics alike. Peruse the exhibits featuring historical hand prints, footprints and more — all reported evidence that Bigfoot exists. Snap a photo with the life-sized replica, nicknamed Murphy, for your own proof.
See Bigfoot from the water
That Bigfoot fellow is known to be sneaky, so a water approach isn’t a bad idea. Portland Spirit’s round-trip, daylong Columbia Gorge Bigfoot Adventure Cruise makes for a delightful way to sit back and be entertained while cruising the Columbia River. A tour guide and recorded narration by expert Cliff Barackman entertains with tales of the river-based sightings and history of the loveable guy and his background in the Pacific Northwest. Guests get to hear Bigfoot calls and feel castings of his giant footprint, all the while learning about the scenic wonders of the Columbia River Gorge, including Beacon Rock, Bridge of the Gods, Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Locks and Dam and more.
Off into the wilderness
If you want to combine a hike through Oregon’s varied landscapes with a possible Sasquatch encounter, you shouldn’t miss a tour with Blue Mountain Bigfoot Research . Participants can accompany the research team around Scot and Hannah Violette into the harsh wilderness of the state and learn all kinds of interesting facts about North America’s most famous apes. The “Squatching Trips” range from a six-hour excursion to an entire weekend adventure including overnight camping. The research team provides food and equipment; just bring your sense of adventure. Check their calendar for upcoming squatching events.
Those who prefer not to meet the big hairy guy face to face can try to spy him from the air. With Big Mountain Heli Tours , visitors can go on a private helicopter flight over the Deschutes National Forest near Bend. This is considered one of the best spots for Bigfoot sightings with several reported sightings in the area since 1963. The world’s only Bigfoot helicopter tour flies over the majestic Cascade Mountains in a 80-mile/130-kilometer loop, enabling a bird’s-eye view of the bright-green forests, criss-crossed with rivers and snow-capped peaks. Up to three passengers can fit on board the 45-minute sightseeing flight, which starts in Bend.
On rails through nature
Speaking of unforgettable views: Off the roads, the Eagle Cap Excursion Train glides on rails through northeastern Oregon. Starting in Elgin, passengers can sit back and watch wooded mountain peaks, rugged basalt cliffs and the Grande Ronde River pass by as they traverse the Wallowa Mountains, an impressive mountain range also known as Oregon’s Swiss Alps. Throughout the year, the routes focus on different themes, but the “Seeking Bigfoot” tour is a must. Bring your binoculars and sit back and enjoy the view!
A festival for believers
The city of Troutdale hosts the annual Oregon Bigfoot Festival in mid-August, a daylong event featuring famous Bigfoot enthusiasts and paranormal experts. Fans gather to talk about eyewitness accounts, alleged footprints and other evidence that points to the existence of Bigfoot. The event features live music, live broadcasts, guest speakers and a special appearance by the big guy himself (a Bigfoot actor). Download the Oregon Bigfoot Festival app and prepare for wacky fun.