Books About Exploring the Pacific Northwest

book reading list for exploring the pacific northwest

Whether you are interested in exploring the Pacific Northwest through studying its history, going on a road trip, or getting out and going on a hike, we’ve found some great books to help you plan your next adventure in the Pacific Northwest. There is so much to see, and such fascinating history! All these books are available (just click the photo to get more information or purchase on

Portland in Three Centuries

A comprehensive history of Portland – from the first settlers to the 21st century and what shaped Portland and its unique personality through political and social history.

50 Hikes with Kids in Oregon & Washington

Traveling with your children brings its own set of challenges, from planning to packing. It is so important to get children out in nature and there is so much to explore around the Pacific Northwest! This book has ideas on the best hikes to do with kids in tow.

Hidden History: of Civil War Oregon

Many Oregonians think of the Civil War as a faraway event or something that happens when the Ducks and the Beavers tangle. Few know that the state raised two Union regiments or that more than ten thousand Union and Confederate veterans made their way to Oregon after the war. In fact, the Beaver State has impressive Civil War ties.

Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said it Couldn’t Be Done

The historic Columbia River Highway heads east from Portland to the Dalles on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. What they created is a gem of the United States and a tribute to the inspired and amazing builders who created this treasure of a highway for us all to enjoy.

Lifting Oregon Out of the Mud: Building the Oregon Coast Highway

The mountainous and varied terrain of the Oregon coastline makes it very clear that those who took up the challenge to build a highway along the Pacific Ocean were incredibly brave and brilliant.

PDX Hiking 365

Hikes near Portland that can be enjoyed year-round.

Classic Houses of Portland, Oregon

Portland is home to a wide array of architectural styles and fabulous homes. Walk through the neighborhoods of Portland and discover the history, the stories, and the beautiful variety of architecture that has survived over a century.

Hidden History of Ashland, Oregon

Famous for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland has a deep history that goes far beyond the stage. From a 160-year-old unsolved murder to a newcomer whose “healing hands” drew people from all over the country, the town has attracted its fair share of unique characters. Vladimir Nabokov came to pursue his favorite hobby, butterfly collecting, while writing his famously controversial novel, Lolita, and an actor turned entrepreneur became one of the foremost recyclers long before it was mainstream. Discover the story behind Ashland’s golf course cemetery and the gloveless baseball team of 1884. Join local historian Joe Peterson as he explores the fascinating past of this colorful town.

Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire

The thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast.

60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland

Within about a hour’s drive of Portland, you can have a variety of hikes both challenging and easy in the varied and stunning landscape of northwest Oregon.

60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Seattle

Located on the Puget Sound, 60 miles from Seattle in any direction can take you to amazing hikes in incredible places.

The Oregon Trail: Yesterday and Today

The history of the Oregon Trail and westward expansion is fascinating but even more so when put into context of the modern world. This book tells the story of the Oregon Trail alongside current photos of the historical sites.

The Creaky Knees Guide to the 85 Best Easy Hikes in Oregon

Not all hikes are created equally, and not all hikers are able to do the same hikes they used to. As we get a bit older, we still want to be out in nature, just a little easier on the old knees…

Day Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge

Where to go and what you’ll see when doing a day hike in the Columbia Gorge. There are many different hiking trails, all leading to quite different views, and of varying degrees of difficulty, but all reached round trip in one day or less.

Rockhounding Washington

The best sites to find natural hidden treasures in the spectacular landscape of Washington.

Backroads & Byways of Washington

Exploring Washington state off the main highways. You can miss an awful lot by sticking to the freeways. Washington has so much to offer once you take the road less traveled.

Bend Oregon: Daycations for Curious Families

Central Oregon has much to offer for day trips – and you can travel like a local if you follow a guide showing you the special spots within an hour or two from Bend.

Images of America: Downtown Vancouver

Vancouver has a long history and has changed dramatically over 200 years. As you walk around downtown, it helps to have some perspective on what has changed – and what hasn’t over the years. Filled with photographs and stories, these series of books are a great way to learn local history and give meaning to what you see as you visit.

Cohassett Beach Chronicles: World War II in the Pacific Northwest

The dangers were real. The Pacific Northwest was the first line of defense in any potential invasion by Japan. The story of southwestern Washington and life during World War 2 is told by writer Kathy Hogan. Early in 1941 the Grays Harbor Post, in Aberdeen, Washington, introduced its readers to The Kitchen Critic, a new column chronicling life in nearby Cohassett Beach. By the end of the year the U.S. was at war, and columnist Kathy Hogan’s weekly dispatches turned to soldiers, rationing, and the barbed wire that lined the sand dunes around her weathered cottage.