Hiking in Oregon
Oregon is one of the most beautiful places to go hiking. There are hundreds of trails, parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges that are open to hikers. Some of the best Oregon hikes include waterfalls, wetlands, beaches, and winding rivers. There is something for everyone, but the question is: where to hike in Oregon?
Best Oregon Hikes
There are too many amazing hikes in Oregon to mention here. Here are the top five hikes:
1. Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock is an amazing park that is in Central Oregon near the city of Redmond. During the summer, this area is hot and sunny, perfect for hiking. During the winter it is cold, but still sunny! Smith Rock is a large natural rock formation that is formed around the Crooked River. There are trails that will take you to the top of the rock, as well as around the river. There are some amazing views!
The hike to the top is moderately difficult, but the river trails are perfect for anyone. Smith Rock is really popular with rock climbers, who climb up many of the cliff faces. There is also a campground at Smith Rock where you can set up camp with an amazing view of the canyon.
2. Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls is a large park that is about a half hour East of Salem. It is one of the best Oregon hikes for checking out waterfalls. The park boasts over 20 miles of trails, including biking and horseback riding paths. The most popular path is the “Trail of Ten Falls” which will take you on an almost ten mile loop around ten different waterfalls!
Silver Falls is really fun in the summer, but be prepared for some crowds. The waterfalls are not good for swimming but there are locations near the parking lot where you can swim in the river. The park is perfect for families, and the first waterfall is very easy to visit even for those who do not like long hikes. The path even leads you behind the falls!
3. William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge
The Finley Refuge is a large protected area that is about 10 miles South of the city of Corvallis. If you are a birder, this is the Oregon hike for you! The refuge includes over 12 miles of trails that will take you through wetland areas, open meadows, and wooded areas. There are also many gravel roads that you can drive through, if you’d rather view the scenery from the car.
The most popular attraction at the refuge is the nesting Canadian Geese that take over the fields in the Winter. Be prepared to see huge flocks of thousands of Geese nesting and flying over the area. The refuge is beautiful place and a great to visit on a sunny day.
4. Eastbank Esplanade/Portland waterfront
While not technically an Oregon “hike”, this is a great place for anyone in the metro area looking for a good walk. The Esplanade is a pedestrian and bicycle path that runs along the East side of the Willamette river in Portland, across from the waterfront park on the Westside. You can begin your journey on either side of the river, as the paths connect to any one of the pedestrian paths over Portland’s famous bridges.
The Esplanade is a perfect walk for people watching, walking dogs, and biking. There are several public art displays installed on the way, as well as benches, and areas for fishing. This is a great way to admire Portland’s skyline and to walk over one of the bridges.
5. Dog Mountain
Dog Mountain is the best challenging hike near Oregon (just over the border near Stevenson, WA). The trail at Dog Mountain is a 7 mile loop to the summit and back and will take several hours, if not all day, to finish. Expect very steep paths, significant elevation gain, and snow/ice in the winter time. It is a great choice if you want to hike all day and also see a great view.
The top of the mountain looks over the Gorge and is absolutely breathtaking. The winter view will be snow capped trees and mountainsides, while during the summer it will be fields of wildflowers. This is a must see!