Oregon is known and loved as a land of outdoor adventures, home to forests, waterfalls, and epic hiking trails. In addition to Oregon’s national parks, monuments, and forests, there are also 255 state parks here that offer hiking, camping, and other types of outdoor recreation. Every state park has something a bit different to offer, but here we’re going to highlight a few favorites. Make sure you check out these Oregon state parks next time you’re spending time in the Pacific Northwest.
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Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is an impressive park for unique rock formations, rock climbing, canyons, and mountain biking trails. You can even take a hot air balloon ride over this area to get a better view of the amazing landscapes down below. Like most Oregon state parks, dogs on a leash are allowed at this park. You can also camp at the Bivy Campground on a first-come, first-served basis. Wildlife in the park includes golden eagles, mule deer, falcons, and beavers. This is an awesome place to plan a rock climbing adventure because it has around 2,000 routes and routes for all skill levels.
Silver Falls State Park
Another very popular Oregon state park is the Silver Falls State Park in Marion County, which boasts some of the most scenic hikes in Oregon. South Falls is a 177-foot waterfall that is part of the Trail of Ten Falls hiking trail. This trail offers views of numerous falls and is a 7.2-mile loop that’s moderate difficulty and has 800 feet of elevation change. Pets on leashes are allowed on all trails except the Canyon Trail. There are also over 35 miles of backcountry trails for horseback riding and mountain biking here. You can stay at the main campground in a cabin, tent, or RV. Meanwhile, the Silver Falls Lodge and Conference Center offers comfortable lodging and amenities. The park is open year-round but especially lovely between March and May when the falls are really flowing and the wildflowers are in bloom.
Cape Arago State Park
This Coos Bay area state park is a real gem on the southern Oregon coast and at the end of the Cape Arago Highway about 15 minutes from town. It offers views of the Pacific Ocean and has historical significance dating back to the early expeditions of the late-1500s. When you visit, you can see tidepools that are home to inter-tidal animals and plants near the south cove trail. Due to the vulnerable seal pup population, the trail is closed between March and June. This is also a nice spot for picnicking, fishing, and photography.
Cape Blanco State Park
Cape Blanco State Park is another Oregon coastal park and one that’s located at the westernmost tip of the state. You’ll have views of the Pacific Ocean from here, a 19th-century lighthouse, and sheltered campsites. The lighthouse was built in 1870 and is the oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon coast. You can take a tour of it for a small fee. Also, check out the historic Hughes House, which has free (donations welcome) tours to see the charming 3,000-square-foot farmhouse. The park offers over eight miles of hiking trails that go to the beach, a seven-mile horseback riding trail, and a 150-acre open horseback riding area. You can camp in one of the 52 electric and water sites at the campground here or in one of four cabins overnight. Two of the cabins are pet-friendly, and hot showers and flush toilets are also available here.
Samuel Boardman State Park
The Samuel Boardman State Park is in a very scenic part of Oregon with rock formations, peaceful beaches, and craggy bluffs. Here along Highway 101, it is between Brookings and Gold Beach. You can hike here and access a segment of the Oregon Coast Trail or make stops at the scenic viewpoints. The Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint features one-mile hike and is a great whale-watching spot in the spring and fall. House Rock Viewpoint has access to a four-mile trail and secluded beaches, and Whaleshead Beach has a lovely picnic area. See the seven arch rocks of Natural Bridge and the famous Arch Rock with it short path to an overlook.
Ecola State Park
This state park is between Seaside and Cannon Beach in Oregon and covers about nine miles of coastline. It is a scenic area for hiking, surfing, and picnicking; however, you cannot park overnight here. From this park, you can hike an eight-mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail and the historic Clatsop Loop rail. Indian Beach is sandy, secluded, and popular with surfers. Some of the wildlife you may see here are migrating gray whales in the winter and spring, eagles, deer, and elk. It is not recommended to drive a motorhome or truck pulling a trailer here because the roads are narrow and have many turns.
Guy W. Talbot State Park
Guy W. Talbot State Park is named after a man and his family who used the property as a summer estate until they donated it to the state in 1929. It’s an ideal place for a relaxing family picnic and getting away from crowds because it is rarely busy. Toss a frisbee around and snap some photos at this chill park with cedar, fir, maple, and alder trees. It’s near the small town of Latourell and leads to Latourell Falls, a 250-foot-tall falls that you can hike to under the Columbia River Highway Bridge.
Fort Stevens State Park
As the name suggests, Fort Stevens State Park used to be the site of a historic fort that served as a military defense installation. Today, it offers lake swimming, trails, camping, a historic shipwreck, and wildlife viewing. There are six miles of trails to hike and bike on, as well as two swimming areas at Coffenbury Lake. Camp overnight at the full hookup sites, electrical sites with water, tent sites, yurts, or cabins.
Oswald State Park
Oswald State Park extends about four miles along the coast with views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s about two hours from Portland on the northern coast and features a 13-mile stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail. This is a popular spot for surfers, picnickers, and beach lovers.