19 Best Hikes in Oregon

13 mins read
Best Hikes In Oregon
By Everett Mcintire / unsplash Copyrights 2018

The best hikes in Oregon always give an adrenaline rush to all adventure seekers and nature lovers. The hiking trails in Oregon have a lot to offer travelers looking for hiking trails, backpacking trips, and other outdoor activities.

Oregon offers a lot to travelers and tourists in terms of activities and sightseeing, and the best way to come in contact with the natural and raw beauty of the place is by going on one of the hiking trails.

Oregon State

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region in the Western part of the United States. It is the ninth largest state in the United States and is attractive in its diversity. The verdant landscape, lush green forests, plateaus, mountains, and the Columbia River give ample opportunities for travelers to explore and enjoy the beauty of this region in many ways.

What are you waiting for? Wear your hiking boots, go, and enjoy an Oregon hike, revel in the marvelous nature of the land, and make lasting memories.

Best Hikes in Oregon

The abundant picturesque wonders of the State make it a perfect place to go on trips, be it relaxing, exciting, or adventurous. The diversity of the landscape makes it a spot that has something for everyone. The forests, mountains, lakes, beaches, streams, and canyons make it a perfect destination for anyone looking for a weekend getaway, a romantic holiday, or an adventurous trip to break the monotony of their routine life.

Best Hikes In Oregon
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Exploring the State by driving through the Cascade Lakes Highway is a good way to enjoy the scenic landscape of the place because it winds its way through miles of magnificent mountain peaks and alpine meadows as it passes through Central Oregon.

1. Bald Mountain from Lolo Pass Trail

Distance – 6.7 Miles

Type of Trail – Out and Back

Elevation Gain – 1,489 feet

Difficulty Level – Moderate

This iconic hiking trail attracts a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, and many areas of the trail are open to horseback riding, mountain biking, birding, and running. There are many other interesting Bald Mountain trails for all those looking for the best hikes in Oregon.

Best Hikes In Oregon
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The hike goes to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail from Lolo Pass to Timberline Trail and then to the summit of Bald Mountain. There are open forests on the Bald Mountain slopes, and you must step over several fallen logs though the trail route is well maintained.

2. Crater Lake National Park

Located in Southern Oregon at the Cascade Mountains, the Crater Lake National Park is one of the oldest National Parks in the United States, and it is said to be the deepest lake in the United States. The place has a whimsical allure and an abundance of natural beauty. Going on one of the hiking trails at the Crater Lake National Park is the best way to bask in its astounding charm.

Best Hikes In Oregon
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The trails traverse through the verdant forests, peaks, and wildflowers and give you wonderful views of this iconic lake. You get difficult, moderate, and easy hikes here; opt for an easy hike if you are not an expert. The lake formed when a 12,000-foot-high Mount Mazama collapsed 7700 years ago. This is one of the clearest lakes, and you might get to see an array of wildlife during your trails here.

Stay at the Crater Lake Lodge while visiting the Crater Lake National Park, and you will feel as if you are sleeping on the Rim of Crater Lake. It is owned by the National Park Service and listed under the National Register of Historic Places.

3. Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia Gorge is designated a National Scenic Area in the United States. This deep canyon forged by the Columbia River offers some of the best hikes in Oregon, camping, fishing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.

This 80-mile river gorge is spectacular and will take you past cliffs, spires, ridges, and waterfalls, making it a memorable experience. Most waterfalls associated with the Columbia River Gorge occur on the Oregon side, on the south bank of the Columbia River.

Eagle Creek Trail

Distance – 25.3 Miles

Type of Trail – Out and Back

Elevation Gain – 6,256 feet

Difficulty Level – Moderate

This gorgeous trail has a lot of waterfalls; the beginning of the trail is at Eagle Creek campground and is located near Cascades Locks, Oregon. The Eagle Creek Trail ends at Wahtum Lake. It is a popular trail, and you will run into a lot of hikers during your trail there.

The trail takes you through the forested basalt cliffs that overlook Eagle Creek and gives extensive images of the Creek’s slot canyons. Dogs are allowed on this trail and must be kept on a leash.

4. Ecola State Park

Looking for the best hikes in Oregon? The Ecola State Park is the ideal spot to visit if you want adventure and excitement. Some of the best hikes in Oregon happen here. They have numerous hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels catering to travellers seeking a weekend getaway from their monotonous routine.

The hikes at the Ecola State Park take you through the forests and give you expansive Pacific Ocean views. You also get to see the cliff-side views of the Pacific Ocean on the trails at this State Park.

You will be mesmerized by the towering rock formations rising out of the waters and the tide pools. If you are lucky, you will be able to see some wildlife both on land and at sea. All hiking trails here are of moderate difficulty and are the best way to appreciate the area’s scenic beauty.

5. Garfield Peak Trail

Distance – 3.4 Miles

Type of Trail – Out and Back

Elevation Gain – 1,069 ft

Difficulty Level – Moderate

The Garfield Peak Trail is a short hike, and you get to experience the wonderful shades of Crater Lake and the adjacent Cascade Peaks. The Garfield Peak Trail commences at the Rim Village, and the scenic beauty increases as you go higher and higher. Once you reach the summit, you will be astounded by the surrounding charm of Phantom Ship, The Watchman, Wizard Island, and other Crater Land landmarks.

Located in the Crater National Park, the Garfield Peak Trail is one of the best hikes in Oregon, and you will run into many hikers on this beautiful trail. The trail is usually well maintained and well marked, making it easy to complete. It is not a hard hike and is worth the climb.

6. Larch Mountain Trail

Distance – 15 Miles

Type of Trail – Out and Back

Elevation Gain – 3,989 feet

Difficulty Level – Hard

This out and back trail is located near the Bridal Veil and is a popular haunt of hikers, backpackers, and campers. It is also popular for mountain biking, and this difficult hike in the Columbia River Gorge begins at the Multnomah Falls Trailhead. The trail traverses through the Benson Bridge, and you come to the Larch Mountain-Gorge Trail Junction, the old forest, and the Multnomah Falls.

Best Hikes In Oregon
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The Larch Mountain Trail was affected by the Eagle Creek Fire of 2017, and you will see fragile trees, fallen trees, and loose rocks on this trail. The Larch Mountain Trail is part of the Wahkeena Loop in the Multnomah Falls area.

7. Misery Ridge Trail

Distance – 3.5 Miles

Type of Trail – Loop

Elevation Gain – 948 feet

Difficulty Level – Hard

The Misery Ridge Trail at the Smith Rock State Park is a challenging hiking trail, and you get to see vivid glimpses of the high desert in Central Oregon. This is not only one of the exhilarating hikes in the Park but also one of the best hikes in Oregon for outdoor lovers. This hike will connect with the other hikes in the park, and the Misery Ridge Trail is the best way to enjoy the stunning beauty of Smith Rock.

Though the Misery Ridge Hike trail begins at the Crooked River Footbridge, you can also start from the daily-use parking area. Though the hike is strenuous, there are many places on the way to take a rest if you need a break. The rocks of the Smith Rock are formed as the result of volcanic activity in the area, and it is amazing to look at these geology formations.

8. McKenzie River Trail

Distance – 26.4 Miles

Type of Trail – Point to Point

Elevation Gain – 1,700 feet

Difficulty Level – Hard

The McKenzie River Trail begins at Clear Lake. It is visually appealing with lava fields, old forest, misty waterfalls, handmade log bridges, and finally, the crystal clear Tamolitch Blue Pool. The trail follows the McKenzie River, and you can do different types of hikes here, day hikes, weekend hikes, and other types of hikes, depending on what you want to experience.

The old-growth forest here is lovely; you can see the river bubbling up from the bottom of the Blue Pool. The trail crosses many rivers and streams, and the highlights of this hike are Clear Lake, the Tamolitch Blue Pool, Terwilliger Hot Springs, and the Sahalie and Koosah Falls.

9. Oregon Coast Trail – Multi-Day Oregon Trail

The Oregon Coast Trail is one of the best hikes in Oregon for adventure seekers. Going on this seven-day trail is the best way to enjoy the coastal beauty and rugged coastline of the Oregon Coast. The landscape changes from the beaches, forests, jagged cliffs, and seaside towns making the Oregon Coast Trail one of the most magical trails in Oregon.

The Oregon Coast trail is one of the trails along the Pacific Coast and follows the coast from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border south of Brookings. The Oregon Coast Trail officially begins at the South jetty of the Columbia River at Fort Stevens State Park.

Many portions of the Oregon Coast Trail will need you to venture into private properties of the area along with being on the paved roads, so it is important to follow the designated routes.

The trails are suitable for hikers of all types, and you can enjoy the bays, inlets, sandy beaches, and rivers on this trail. If you are planning a trip to Oregon and looking for the best hikes in Oregon, then experiencing the Oregon Coast Trail is a must.

Best Hikes In Oregon
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10. Oregon Trail

The route of the Oregon Trail takes you through rolling hills, mountain passes, and endless plains, and they go through territories later named Missouri, Idaho, Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The trail was long and arduous, and they used big wagons, half the size of the big Conestogas.

The emigrants who took this trail endured many hardships, and the road to the Far West became known as the Oregon Trail. The Eastern Oregon part of the trail is now Kansas, and the Western Oregon part has now become the States of Idaho and Oregon.

11. Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail – Multi-Day Oregon Trail

Best Hikes In Oregon
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The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Canada to Mexico and passes 43 miles in the Cascades Mountain. This magnificent trail shows you some gorgeous terrain in the United States. There are short stretches that can be undertaken for all those looking for an easy hike yet at the same time enjoy the beauty of the terrain.

Certain sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Timberline Lodge, and Crater Lake are open during the winter season for skiing and snowshoeing, and it is the best way to avoid the crowds of the summer season. What is amazing about this trail is that it takes you through more than 100 mountain passes.

12. Ramona Falls Trail

Distance – 7.1 Miles

Type of Trail – Loop

Elevation Gain – 1,066 feet

Difficulty Level – Moderate

This is one of the best hikes in Oregon near Mount Hood, and part of this trail falls into the Pacific Crest Trail. It is divine to see the fabulous shape of the Ramona Falls as it falls over the remnants of a basalt lava flow. The Ramona Falls tumbles down like sheer lace, and you cross the Sandy River bridge during the hiking trail.

There is a bit of an elevation gain as you hit the trail and the Ramona Falls Trail is well marked, making it easy to follow the path. The waterfall is in the middle of the forest, and you get magnificent views of Mount Hood. There are a few campsites near Ramona Falls in the Mount Hood region, giving ample opportunities to explore the Mount Hood National Forest.

13. Silver Falls State Park

The Silver Falls State Park catapults Oregon onto the global and national map, and this sprawling 9200-acre State Park is the largest and most popular in Oregon. Located at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, this State Park is scenically very attractive, and a hike here takes you to many cascading waterfalls, the most famous being the South Falls which cascades down from 177 feet. Admire this gorgeous waterfall before you go to the cave behind the waterfall along the Maple Ridge Loop.

Best Hikes In Oregon
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14. South Sister Trail

Do you like to hike, and are you in Oregon? Then the South Sister Hike Trail is one of the best hikes in Oregon you can do. This is mainly for hiking veterans as it is one of the most challenging hikes in the region as the South Sister is the third tallest mountain in Oregon and the tallest of the Three Sisters chain. You can climb via the Devils Lake Trailhead, and since it is the third tallest mountain, it is visible for miles around you.

The South Sister hiking trail to the top is strenuous since it has steep and rugged peaks. The view from the top is rewarding, and the summit crater has the State’s highest lake, the Teardrop Pool.

Smith Rock State Park Canyon Trail

Distance – 3.3 Miles

Type of Trail – Out and Back

Elevation Gain – 439 feet

Difficulty Level – Moderate

Best Hikes In Oregon
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The Smith Rock State Park Canyon Trail will give you stunning views of deep river canyons, and the miles of hiking and mountain biking trails here will beckon adventure lovers. You might see river otters, beaver, mule deer, prairie falcons, and golden eagles if you are lucky enough.

Some popular hiking trails are the Misery Ridge Trail, Canyon to Rim Loop Trail, River Trail, and the Summit Loop Trail.

15. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Best Hikes In Oregon
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This linear State Park in the Southwestern region of Oregon is named after Samuel H. Boardman, the first Oregon Parks Superintendent. The Corridor stretches up to 12 miles along the coast, and the rugged coastline, sandy beaches, crashing waves, and pocket beaches are a dream to all those who love nature and water. The scenery of this Corridor is unconventional and unique, and there are a lot of treasures here waiting to be explored and experienced.

There are a lot of trails here, reaching the Secret Lake, exploring the Arch Rock Viewpoint, 27 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail, Natural Bridges Viewpoint, Thunder Rock, and Indian Sands. This is a good spot to experience one of the best hikes in Oregon and can be said to be one of the best hiking trails in Oregon.

16. Trail of the Ten Falls

Distance – 7.8 Miles

Type of Trail – Loop Trail

Elevation Gain – 1,300 feet

Difficulty Level – Moderate

This breathtaking waterfall hike at the Silver Falls State Park is the crown jewel of the State Park, and you get to see ten falls. Almost every waterfall is a good place for the perfect hiking trails, though hikers might appreciate the South Falls and the Upper North Falls. Each waterfall has a sign that gives you the height and name of the waterfall.

The trail path is flat, and there are many places on the way you can take a break. The Silver Falls State Park is an entrance fee, and the closest place to the park is Silverton. This is one of the best hikes in Oregon if you are looking for waterfall hikes in Oregon. Enjoy this trail and soak in the beauty of the Ten Falls; Double Falls, Drake Falls, Lower North Falls, Lower South Falls, Middle Falls, North Falls, South Falls, Twin Falls, and Winter Falls.

17. Timberline Trail – Multi-Day Oregon Trail

The Timberline Trail is one of the exhilarating adventures for backpackers and hikers and will take you around Mount Hood. It is a challenging hike and one of the best hikes in Oregon for hiking and backpacking experts. The hike gives you the best views of the Cascade Range, and the trail traverses through misty waterfalls, pristine forests, river crossings, and volcanic formations.

The ascent is steep, and the hike begins from the Timberline Lodge. For camping, backpacking trips, and hiking trails, the Timberline Trail is a good option if you are in Oregon.

Best Hikes In Oregon
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18. Three Sisters Loop – Multi-day Oregon Trail

If you are looking for the best hikes in Oregon, then The Three Sisters Loop Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness gives spectacular views of volcano landscapes, lava fields, alpine lakes, streams, pine forests, alpine meadows, and snow-capped peaks.

You have options to wander away while on this Three Sisters Wilderness trail and create your adventures. This is the second largest wilderness region after Eagle Cap Wilderness, located in the Willamette National Forest in Central Oregon.

This trio of Three Sisters is in The Three Sisters Wilderness and has the South Sister, Middle Sister, and North Sister. The South Sister is the tallest among the three, and they will leave you awe-struck with their unparalleled beauty.

19. Wildwood Trail

Distance – 30.2 Miles

Type of Trail – Traverse

Elevation Gain – 3,360 feet

Difficulty Level – Hard

The Wildwood Trail near Portland, Oregon, is a picturesque trail for all those who enjoy nature, birding and running. It is quite a popular hike, and you will run into other hikers during your trail. When you visit Portland, you will notice miles of undeveloped areas near the Willamette River on the Northern side of the city. The giant urban Forest Park is one of the attractions, and the Wildwood Trail is the longest in Forest Park.

Also designated as the National Recreation Trail, the Wildwood Trail highlights are the Vietnam Memorial, Balch Creek, and Tualatin Mountains.

In The End

Best Hikes In Oregon
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Hikes always excite outdoor lovers and adventure seekers because there is a lot of action and excitement that happens during the hikes. Some of the best hikes in Oregon have been listed above for all those wanting to explore the raw beauty of Oregon if they are visiting the State or living there and yet to explore the region at a deeper level.

Oregon Trails will take you to the region’s natural beauty, and you can for an entire trail, a relatively short hike, or a camping hike, depending on your likes. The Eastern Oregon region also has vast deserts, mountains, canyons, and rivers, making it a good place to carry on your adventurous activities.

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10 Amazing Oregon Coast State Parks To Check Out



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mamta madhavan

Mamta Madhavan’s body of work includes web content writing, book reviews, interviews, articles, and poetry, mainly free verse. Her works have been published in various reputable journals and magazines worldwide. Living in creatively inspiring India, Mamta incorporates vivid imagery into her writings, influenced by nature, mysticism, and spirituality. Her poetry collection is titled connecting the dots.

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