The 12 Best Hiking Trails in Oregon!
Oregon is known for its diverse landscapes and there is no better way to explore them than on foot. From coastal hikes to desert strolls to harrowing mountain climbs, you will be rewarded with breath taking sights and scenes. Towering trees and thundering waterfalls are some of Oregon’s most famous sights, but set out on these hikes to discover the range that this large state has to offer.
1. Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop
A popular hike out of the Columbia River Gorge, the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop takes hikers past eight named waterfalls, including the 611 ft Multnomah Falls, during this 4.9-mile hike. A favorite of tourists and locals alike, the loop trail is often busy, but this doesn’t detract from the grand views of the river and jaw-dropping waterfalls. The partially paved hike can be done from either direction, but ending at the Historic Multnomah Lodge gives you an excuse to indulge in a post-hike snack.
2. Trail of Ten Falls
The aptly named Trail of Ten Falls brings you past ten waterfalls in 8.7 miles. The loop trail winds around Silver Falls Park often takes you behind the waterfalls for a unique perspective. A relatively easy walk, 1,300 ft in elevation gain overall, the loop hike can be shortened by turning at one of the two cutoffs along the way, but with so many stunning falls you probably won’t want to.
Located in the largest urban park in the US, the 30 mile long Wildwood Trail is a popular escape for city dwellers. The hike can easily be broken down into smaller sections for day hikes, and while there are no big attractions along the trail, simply meandering through towering moss covered trees and breathing in the scent of moss and fresh rain will be more than enough to soothe your soul.
The McKenzie River Trail is a favorite of hikers, bikers and trail runners. The 26-mile trail takes you through the 300-year-old growth forest of Central Oregon, passing waterfalls, lava flows, and lakes so clear you can see 100 feet below the surface. This iconic hike is one of the most popular in Oregon, it takes home the grand prize for many Mountain Biking polls, but is rarely crowded due to its remote location and length of the trail.
The third highest peak in Oregon offers a challenging day hike, climbing 4,901 feet in 5.9 miles. No technical gear is needed, still the trail is rugged and treacherous, but the 360 degree views of Oregon make it worth the ascent to 10,358 ft. The trail is only accessible in the summer when the snow has melted and the hike should only be attempted on days with perfect weather or risk a mid-hike snow shower at any time of year.
6. Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain
This 5.2 mile round trip hike leads you through thick forest before climbing the back of Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain to a 360-degree vista, featuring views of Mt. Hood and Mirror Lake. Head out for this hike in the mid-summer to avoid snow, or for cold weather sports enthusiasts, this trail is popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter months.
One of the most famous through hikes in the country, made even more famous by the book and movie Wild, the Pacific Crest Trail runs from Mexico to Canada, providing a foot path through the entire state of Oregon. The long distance backpacking trail can be done in its entirety or broken down into smaller day hikes, including hikes past Crater Lake National Park, the Three Sisters in the Cascade Mountain Range and across the Bridge of The Gods in the Columbia River Gorge.
8. Oregon Caves
Discovered in the Siskiyou Mountains in 1874, the Oregon Caves were carved as rain water dissolved the marble rock. The Oregon Caves hold a subterranean river, stalactites and stalagmites, fossils, oh and bats. Take a 90-minute guided tour or for the adventurous sign up for an off trail tour to scramble over boulders and squeeze through passages just 11 inches high by 19 inches wide. Want to explore like they did in 1874? Sign up for the candle light tour and walk from cavern to cavern guided only with the light from your candle.
Watch rock climbers tackle some of the most famous climbing routes as you hike through Smith Rock State Park. If you’re not much for people watching there is also great wildlife to be found, head out for the day here and you may spot a golden eagle, great blue heron or beavers. Take the 1.5 mile stroll along the Canyon Trail, or use it to connect to other hikes if you are looking for a bit more. Trails are open year round, but summer temperatures can soar over 100 degrees so check the weather before setting out for your hike.
10. Upper Salmonberry River Hike
Following the now defunct Port of Tillamook Railroad, the upper Salmonberry River Hike takes you through tunnels (bring a flashlight) and over train trestles (up to 167 ft high). Unlike the majority of the hikes on this list, here you will only pass a few other hikers on the ten mile out and back hike. Between the solitude and the broken train tracks which often hang in midair over washed out crevasses, this stroll through the forrest feels almost post-apocalyptic - in the best possible way, of course.
This 1.8 mile out and back hike climbs 390 feet to the Watchman Fire Tower over looking Crater Lake National Park. Views of the brilliant blue lake are spectacular, but there is more to see from this peak offering 360 degree views of the area. Ranger guided night hikes are also available during the summer months providing impressive stargazing opportunities.
12. Ramona Falls
One of the most popular hikes in the Mt. Hood Forest, the Ramona Falls Trail will delight hikers. The trail is at its best in the spring when the rhododendrons bloom beneath the towering lodge pole pines, but is open throughout the summer. The 7.1 mile out and back hike parallels the Sandy River and brings you to the 120-foot cascading Ramona Falls before you turn around for the trip back.