From coast to desert and river gorges to southern forests this list hits all the best hikes in Oregon. The most unique, popular, and unknown destinations for your next hiking trip in Oregon.
#10 Eagle Creek Trail
Located in the Columbia River Gorge near Cascade Locks, Oregon is this insane trail along Eagle Creek. The trail is built into the cliffs and follows the creek upstream for miles providing intense views. The trail also features a number of amazing waterfalls including Punchbowl and Tunnel Falls.
This area was ground zero to the Eagle Creek Forest Fire of 2017 that burned a sizeable portion of the Columbia River Gorge area. The trail was closed for years following but after a three year volunteer effort, the trail has resumed activity.
Mileage depends on how far you want to go but everyone should at least make the hike to Tunnel falls which is a total of 12 miles round trip.
#9 Barlow Pass to Timberline Lodge via PCT
This route provides you with a ton of iconic trails and history in Oregon and can be done as an 11 mile day hike. Barlow Pass is located near the road to the Timberline Lodge off of the Mount Hood Highway. You'll follow the Pacific Crest Trail through Mount Hood National Forest until you reach the Timberline Trail.
At this point you'll have incredible views of Mount Hood and use the PCT/Timberline Trail for a mile before arriving at the Timberline Lodge. This famous lodge has plenty of history to explore and a great place to grab some food before heading back down the mountain.
#8 Painted Hills
Painted Hills is located in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in eastern Oregon, roughly an hour an a half outside of Bend. This area of the park features massive mounds with striations of color. The color is from layers of sediment deposited in the river valley millions of years ago from different climate periods and the types of plants those climates created.
The area of Painted Hills has a total of 5 different trails to be explored. All the trails are under two miles and are accessed off a dirt road that traverses the park. This area stays under the radar from other Oregon wonders making it perfect to escape to on your next trip.
#7 Misery Ridge
Who wouldn't be down to go on a hike with a name like Misery Ridge! This not-so-miserable and 'overexaggerated' name for a hike is the main trail that takes visitors through Smith Rock State Park.
Smith Rock State Park is a rock climbers mecca located thirty minutes outside of Bend, Oregon. Hikers along Misery Ridge ascend to the top of the rock plateaus and around Monkeyface Rock Formation. The hike is incredible but the real fun comes from watching the climbers and slack liners practice.
The main route is around 4 miles but mileage can be adjusted to more or less depending on what kind of hike you are looking to do.
#6 Mirror Lake
Heading back over to Mount Hood is this 4 mile round trip hike that ascends to a small lake surrounded by mountains and lush forest pines. The area is towered by Mount Hood which can be seen in the lakes reflection perfectly!
The trail circumnavigates the lake with the best viewpoints being on the backside of the lake, only a few minutes walk from end to end. The best times to view are sunrise and early morning when the water is like glass providing that impressive reflection of Mount Hood.
#5 Oregon Redwoods Trail
Yes you read that right! Oregon does have redwoods! It's a little known fact that even many Oregon natives don't realize with California stealing all the glory. The 'fog belt' that is created near the coastal regions of California extends into the southern most point of Oregon where these trees grow.
The trail is a true treasure to Oregon and stays under the radar from most people searching out these massive giants. The Oregon Redwood Trail is a connection of a couple loop trails that will bring you through the old growth forest for 3 miles.
#4 Crater Lake Rim Trail
The Rim Trail is a 36-mile long trail around the rim of Crater Lake. The trail can be accessed from numerous trailheads, parking areas, and pull-offs around the park. My favorite route on the Rim Trail starts from the popular Rim Village trailhead and heads clockwise all the way to the Watchman's Tower.
Destination spots around Crater Lake are known to get crowded but using the Rim Trail to traverse even populated areas remain a serene experience. I think some of the best sites you can experience in CLNP are on this section of the trail here.
#3 Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor (OCT)
This scenic corridor is located at the furthest south corner of the Oregon Coast. It's roughly 12 miles of coastline that is by far the most stunning in all of Oregon. The area is home to dramatic cliffs, rocky outcroppings, dense coastal forest, and Natural Bridges!
Natural Bridges is the main attraction in the corridor and uses the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT) and a number of unmarked trails to traverse the area. Another amazing feature along this same OCT is Secret Beach. Both are a must-see when visiting southern Oregon.
#2 God's Thumb
Bam, another hike with a fire name! And doesn't it resemble a thumb pretty well? This hike has exploded in popularity recently and the parking situation is being recreated as I write this in October 2021.
This is a 4 mile hike on the coast of Oregon that makes its first stop at a place called The Knoll. This is a elevated field with views that overlook the beach homes of the town Roads End. The far point of this hike is the summit of God's Thumb, another grassy knoll on the coast with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean.
#1 Wolf Creek Trestle Hike
Officially closed but with nobody to guard the gate this is an explore at your own risk hike in Oregon. Located deep back in the Tillamook State Forest are the remains of an old railroad featuring overgrown tracks, tunnels, and trestle bridges. The main feature being a massive bridge named Wolf Creek Trestle.
These trails used to be open and maintained in the years after the railroad abandoned the line in 2007 but with maintenance halting the hike has been deemed as unsafe for the public. It's an incredible journey that get's you deep into nature and away from people, enjoy.
I hope you were able to discover some new and amazing hikes in Oregon for your next road trip or adventure! Drop me a comment if you have any additions!
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