Without a doubt, Oregon is an outdoor lover’s paradise with its array of outdoor adventures and long list of things to do and see. There are so many varied landscapes, amazing recreation areas, and scenic views in all corners of this Pacific Northwest state. Oregon is also known for getting its fair share of rain, but it’s worth packing a raincoat and getting out there to experience all this natural beauty for yourself. Narrowing down a list of best Oregon hikes is hard because there are so many great ones! But these are a few of our favorites to add to your outdoorsy bucket list for the Beaver State.
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Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park
The Trail of Ten Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes in the state, and it’s a moderate 7+ mile hike in a loop. The trail is in Silver Falls State Park and near the Oregon town of Silverton. Yes, there are actually 10 waterfalls in this state park, and it’s a great family-friendly option that’s heavily trafficked. The falls range in height from about 27 feet to 178 feet, and there are additional parts of the park that are ideal for picnicking and biking. Start your hike at the South Falls Lodge Trailhead parking lot and go towards the Rim Trail. Hikers of all skill lovers will enjoy this trail, and you can make this hike shorter by just going out a shorter distance and backtracking from there.
Mirror Lake Loop Trail, Mt. Hood National Forest
The Mount Hood area is also an awesome place to go hiking for iconic views of this impressive mountain. One popular route is the Mirror Lake Loop Trail, which is a little over four miles in length and near the Oregon town of Government Camp. This is a moderate trail that features lovely views of the lake as well. The best time to hike this trail is between March and October, but you can bring along snowshoes if there’s still snow on the ground. Expect to see reflections of Mount Hood on the lake on this popular trail. You can hike with your dog here, as long as you keep him on a leash. Start your trip at the Mirror Lake Trailhead along Highway 26.
Watchman Peak Trail, Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake is another iconic landmark in Oregon, and there are lots of great hiking trails in this national park area. The famous Watchman Peak trail is about 1.6 miles long and moderate in difficulty. This is a lovely trail to experience between June and October and offers panoramic views of the lake and surroundings. Be mindful of the fact that the trail is typically covered in snow between October and June. You can see Wizard Island from here and start your trek near the east side of Rim Drive. The trail ascends to the peak with a series of switchbacks and up to a fire lookout. Since this is part of a national park, dogs are not allowed on the trail.
Cape Perpetua, Yachats
For a different type of scenic hiking, head to the Oregon Coast and check out Cape Perpetua. This is near the Oregon town of Yachats, and many of the trails travel along the rugged coastline with views of the beach and ocean waves. One nice route goes from Tillicum Beach to Yachats because you can kick off your shoes and walk along the sandy shore. Located in the Siuslaw National Forest’s Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, you can also start your hike at the Cape Perpetua Trailhead and end at the Cape Perpetua Stone Shelter for a hike that’s just over six miles long. Dogs are allowed in this area on a leash.
Sweet Creek Trail, Siuslaw National Forest
Another very popular Oregon trail that’s worth checking out is the Sweet Creek Trail. This is an easy trail near the town of Mapleton that’s dog-friendly and kid-friendly. This is a great hike because it passes by several waterfalls, including the grand finale of Sweet Creek Falls. This is an out-and-back trail that’s approximately two miles long and has four trailheads where you can start from. If you hike the Sweet Creek Falls Trail #1319, for example, you can see 11 waterfalls with Douglas firs, alder trees, and maple trees. If you hike this trail in the spring, you may see some beautiful wildflowers, and the fall colors really pop in the autumn season. This trail is open year-around, and there’s a vault toilet available at the Homestead Trailhead.
McKenzie River Trail, Central Oregon
A Central Oregon hike that we love is the McKenzie River Trail, which has a 3-4-mile waterfall loop trail portion that’s simply stunning. Plan to hike the McKenzie River Trail to the Tamolitch or “Blue Pool.” You can start this journey from the Carmen Smith Reservoir for a six-mile hike or at Sahalie Falls for a 9.5-mile hike. You’ll pass through old growth forests before reaching a beautiful turquoise-colored pool of water. This trail is moderate in difficulty and a favorite one in the Willamette National Forest. Sections of the trail are popular with mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers with dogs as well.
Latourell Falls Loop Trail, Guy W. Talbot State Park
Another excellent moderate hike in Oregon is the Latourell Falls Loop Trail, which is in Guy W. Talbot State Park and about two miles long. This is a popular route for nature trips, hikers with dogs, and birdwatchers between May and September. It’s easy to get to this trail from Portland, and it’s extremely photogenic!
Three Sisters Loop, Three Sisters Wilderness
If you’re up for more than a day hike and interested in getting into the Oregon backcountry, then definitely head to the Three Sisters Wilderness near Bend. The Three Sisters Loop takes most hikers three to six days to complete and passes by some of the most beautiful mountain peaks in the state. It’s a 30-50-mile loop depending on which routes you take, and it’s recommended only for experienced backpackers. Plan this adventure between July and October to avoid harsh winter weather and expect some elevation gain along the way.