Top 10 Most Popular Hiking Spots in Oregon
If you’re looking to get in touch with nature, Oregon is the place to be. Oregon is renowned for some of the best hiking in the Pacific Northwest, with lush green vegetation, scenic mountain peaks and coastal areas Oregon is hard to beat when it comes to the beauty of the outdoors.
If you looking to go hiking in Oregon here is a guide to the Top 10 Most Popular Hiking Spots in Oregon:
1. Ten Mile Falls Loop
A great feature of the Ten-mile loop hike is that the South Falls, Lower South Falls, and Middle North Falls all have paths that pass behind them providing an amazing experience. Be sure to have a waterproof pack for your equipment to avoid water damage and we recommend a waterproof jacket as well. Also be cautious when walking behind the falls as the ground can be slippery or even icy depending on the season. One slip there could result in serious injury.
The hike can be completed in a couple hours even with stopping to take pictures and can be done at most levels of fitness. There is also a 4-mile bike trail if you’d like to do some mountain biking.
It’s best to arrive early to avoid crowds and be able to have the best lighting to enjoy the scenery. Pets are welcome in most areas of the park including the picnic areas, but not allowed on the trails.
Trailhead Coordinates: Latitude: 44.856389, Longitude: -122.608611
2. Sahalie and Koosah Falls
This hike is quick, easy, and accessible. You’ll get some of the most beautiful and diverse views of the McKenzie River. There are tons of unexpected sights packed into this 2.6-mile loop! This loop might be on the shorter side, but the hike is more than worth it for the scenery. Start at Sahalie Falls, a 100-foot tall waterfall pouring into the river below and covering the moss-covered valley with a cool mist.
Continue down the trail, walking past the 70-foot Koosah Falls, and finish the first half of the loop at Carmen Reservoir. As you turn back along the other side of the river, take in the views of the surrounding old-growth forest. You’ll cross over a tree bridge to finish your trek across the river and back to the trailhead. Note: you’ll come across a fair number of pathways leading off of the marked trail. Take them! You’ll find some amazing, little-known lookout points.
Trailhead Coordinates: Latitude: 44-20’42” N Longitude: 121-59’59” W
3. Gold Butte Fire Lookout
The Gold Butte Fire Lookout is a real treat in the Willamette National Forest. At 4618 feet elevation, the nearby Cascade Mountain views are nothing short of magnificent!
Overall the hike up to the summit is fairly easy and hazard free. Once at the summit from the fire lookout tower, you’ll enjoy the views of St Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson and more.
Trailhead Coordinates: Latitude: 44.80528, Longitude: -122.08222
4. Pony Tail Falls
Ponytail Falls is an easy 0.8-mile hike located in the gorge that begins at Horsetail Falls. After hiking up mild switchbacks, continue to your right at the first trailhead intersection. The path levels out before coming around the mountain and opening up to the waterfall.
This is the easiest waterfall hike in the Oregon Gorge and is accessible all year around. It is also a great spot to begin many of the other hikes in the area.
Distance: 1.6 miles out-and-back. Elevation Gain: 360 feet. Beautiful forest and a stunning waterfall.
Trialhead Coordinates: Latitude: 45° 35′ 21.66″ N Longitude: -122° 04′ 6.56″
5. Opal Creek Pools
An easy 7-mile hike through the old-growth forest with endless river and waterfall views, an emerald pool to jump into, and rocks to sunbathe on.
The Opal Creek pools are a wonderful place to visit year-round, but they’re a true oasis on a hot summer day. With a variety of rock outcroppings and ledges to jump off of, and plenty of room to spread out for a picnic, this is a summertime magnet.
Accessing the pools is a gift in and of itself – it requires an easy 7-mile loop hike through the Opal Creek Wilderness, a low-elevation ancient forest that represents the largest old-growth forest in the western Cascades. Some trees are over 1,000 years old. The forest and all of its flora and fauna are a sight to behold. It feels like you’re taking a step back in time.
It’s still worth a trip to the pool when the weather turns colder and rainier, though. The river is surrounded by deciduous trees that turn colors in October and November, while the rain amplifies the waterfalls and brings out the emerald color of the water.
Trailhead Coordinates: Latitude: 44.84409; Longitude: -122.20625
6. Upper Salmonberry River
Hike through unique, abandoned train track scenery, tunnels, and trestles just outside of Timber, Oregon.
If you are craving adventure and exploration in a unique hiking setting, then you have come to the right place! This is a hike where every time you turn a corner your eyes light up with excitement and your imagination runs wild. Be forewarned though…if you fear cold, dark, and creepy abandoned train tunnels, this hike is not for you. If you fear extreme heights over abandoned train trestles, this hike is not for you. However, if you’re ready to experience a unique hike that leaves a lasting impression, read on!
Trailhead Coordinates: Latitude: 45°42′16.26″N Latitude: 123°24′40.58″W.
7. Watchman Peak Trail
The Watchman Peak Trail is considered one of the best locations for an unobstructed view of Wizard Island.
The trail begins on an old road once called Rim Drive and travels southwest through an open pumice field for .25 of a mile before leaving the road and turning southeast into the lightly forested south flank of Watchman Peak. This tree cover is composed of mountain hemlock and some whitebark pines. After a short distance, the trail begins to switchback until it reaches the peak of the Watchman.
Trailhead coordinates: Latitude: 42.94476 Longitude: -122.17052
8. McKenzie River Trail
The McKenzie River Trail is a beautiful 26-mile trail that follows the McKenzie River from its headwaters at Clear Lake to the mouth. The hike offers a diverse change in the typography keeps it interesting. Some of the highlights include multiple waterfalls, lava fields, old growth forest, and the mesmerizing ‘Blue Pool’ which is a beautiful topaz blue jewel-like pool of water that must be seen.
The beauty of the scenic trail is world famous, attracting hikers and mountain bikers from all over the world. In 2008, Bike Magazine named it America’s #1 bike trail. Even with its grand reputation, it rarely gets overcrowded. In fact in the spring and fall, you might travel for an hour or so without seeing anyone else. Best times to be on the Mekenzie River Trail are during October when the trees display spectacular Fall colors.
The trail is open for hiking and mountain biking year round.
Trailhead coordinates: Latitude: 44.188016, Longitude: -122.079059
9. McNeil Point Trail
This hike is 10.5 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of ~2200 feet. The McNeil point trail offers wonderful meadow views at Bald Mountain. When you cross the outflow from Glisan Glacier, the meadow provides suitable campsites as well. Duration: Half day or overnight if backpacking
The hike to McNeil Point begins at Top Spur Trailhead, in the Mt. Hood National Wilderness. Just follow the signs for McNeil Point along the Pacific Crest and Timberline Trails heading north.
There are several campsite opportunities along the way and an old stone shelter greets backpackers at the Point itself, stunning sunset views over the Coast Range are hard to beat as well as wildflowers that bloom in July and August.
Trailhead coordinates: Latitude: 45.4075° N, Longitude: 121.7858° W
10. High Prairie Trailhead
Lookout Mountain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Oregon providing excellent views of Mount Hood.
The trail begins across from the parking lot. You can either follow an old dirt road or take the spur trail on the right they’ll meet up about 3/4 the way up the mountain. Either trail winds uphill through fir forest before reaching the junction, where you’ll turn east (left if you took the dirt road, right if the spur trail) to climb the bit to the summit.
At the top, take in the views. Sunrise and sunset are spectacular from the bald summit, and open views make for great night sky viewing. It is also possible to camp on the summit – there is a tent pad in the trees on the north side of the summit area.
Trailhead coordinates: Latitude: 45.35238; Longitude: -121.53120
In conclusion, there are literally hundreds of great hiking trails in the region, these are our Top 10 Most Popular Hiking Spots in Oregon.