If you love to explore the outdoors and challenge yourself, you're familiar with the wonders of hiking.
Spending a day conquering a trail is not only a physically rewarding experience but also the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local scenery. As a weekend warrior, you likely always have your sights on a new and exciting destination. Hiding should always be one of the first items on your to-do list in a new area.
Suppose you are packing your adventure van for a trip to the Pacific Northwest. In that case, we promise you won't be disappointed by the hiking opportunities — especially in our home state of Oregon. Here, the trails are wonderfully diverse in difficulty and offer a wide range of vibrant scenery to admire.
If you are heading to Oregon and need help determining which of the many trails to tackle, follow our guide below. We've rounded up some of the most beautiful and exciting day hikes and backpacking destinations in the state.
What Are the 10 Best Hiking Trails in Oregon?
Multnomah Falls Trail
Located just a half hour from Portland, this is a beautiful hike for anyone who wants to get outdoors but only has a few hours to hike. The Multnomah Falls Trail is a reasonably easy hike; it's a 2.6-mile out-and-back trek that takes you to one of Oregon's most impressive natural attractions, Multnomah Falls.
Stretching over 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is Oregon's tallest waterfall and is one of the most visited sights in the Pacific Northwest.
The trail to the waterfall can be slippery, so wear proper hiking shoes with significant traction. Furthermore, if you are hiking in the colder months, be prepared to see some patches of snow and ice.
After marveling at the waterfall, drive your adventure van to Ainsworth State Park. Situated on the Columbia River Gorge, this park offers scenic overnight camping. You can enjoy the 40 full-hookup sites, flush toilets, hot showers, picnic tables, and nearby access to hiking and biking trails.
Tamolitch Blue Pool via McKenzie River Trail
Ranked as a moderately difficult trail, the Tamolitch Blue Pool via McKenzie River Trail in Willamette National Forest should only take a few hours to complete. However, this hike will still allow you to immerse yourself in the Oregon landscape.
This 3.6-mile out-and-back trail takes you along the Blue River for sections of the hike and to the gorgeous turquoise Tamolitch Pool, also known as the Blue Pool. This pool is located relatively close to Koosah and Sahalie Falls, where you can find additional hikes.
Walking through forested areas, on canyon trails, and near old lava flow, you will feel consistently engaged and challenged during your hike. If hiking during the warmer months, dip in the Blue Pool at the turnaround point for a refreshing swim.
Located close by is Patio Park, a lush refuge for a peaceful and restful night's stay. Sitting on the McKenzie River, you can take advantage of the nearby trails, spectacular waterfalls, and fishing opportunities. Additionally, most of their sites offer access to a storage shed, cable TV, water, sewer hookup, and garbage service.
Ramona Falls Trail
For a long hike down fairly stable terrain, add Ramona Falls Trail to your Oregon itinerary. This trail is an 8.1-mile loop in the Mount Hood National Forest Wilderness.
The trail begins along a river, with views of Mount Hood. You will later encounter a river crossing, which can sometimes be dangerous if the water levels are too high. Check with the ranger station before the hike to ensure the water is safe to cross.
After crossing the river, you will reach a trail junction, with Ramona Falls Trail on your left and the Pacific Crest Trail on your right. These two trails form a loop so that you can walk clockwise or counterclockwise.
Regardless of your direction, you will arrive at the Ramona Falls, which cascade down 120 feet and break into smaller fingers during the descent. Take your time to sit and admire this stunning view and the surrounding wildflowers.
After a successful day of hiking, drive over to Lost Creek Campground for some rest. Located only seven miles from Mount Hood Village, this campground is conveniently located near a fishing pier, nature trail, and classic Oregon foliage.
Lost Creek offers eight different sites that will accommodate your adventure van. While staying here, access to picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and piped water. However, there aren't any showers, so you should bring a portable shower option to rinse off after a day of exploring.
Latourell Falls Loop Trail
A short but scenic option, the Latourell Falls Loop Trail will take you along a two-mile loop trail near Corbett, Oregon.
While walking along the trail, hikers pass through Guy W. Talbot State Park to the Upper Latourell Falls. After the Upper Falls, you will pass by the Lower Falls on the back end of the hike. Once again, since this hike is primarily centered around waterfalls, the trail might be muddy or slippery at some points. So, be sure to have the proper footwear.
This hike features excellent, wide trails, so it is a convenient option if traveling with a larger group. If you want a workout or another chance to admire the views, you can even complete the loop twice, back-to-back.
Oxbow Regional Park is located just a few miles from the Latourell Falls Loop Trail. Here, you can pull into one of the 12 campsites that will fit your adventure van and come equipped with a picnic table, fire pit, and cooking grill.
While staying at Oxbow, you can access heated restrooms, flushable toilets, and free hot-water showers. Additionally, staying on these campgrounds gives you immediate access to the park's attractions, including 12 miles of hiking trails, an old-growth forest, and a river available for tubing, boating, or kayaking.
Tamanawas Falls Trail
There are countless trails in Oregon centered around waterfalls, but each site offers its own unique view.
The Tamanawas Falls Trail is a 3.4-mile out-and-back trail that will take you to the falls. To get there, hike across a path that crosses the cold spring creek and is surrounded by breathtaking Douglas fir.
Once you arrive at the waterfall, you can admire it from a distance or navigate the boulder field to get an up-close look at the rushing water. Due to the abundance of water and rocky terrain, microspikes are recommended for hiking across icy patches in the winter months.
After enjoying a peaceful picnic lunch on the boulder rocks and hiking back to the trailhead, you can take your adventure van to Sherwood Campground to enjoy the rest of the night.
The 14 campsites here have access to picnic tables, fires, drinking water, toilets, a trash site, and firewood for sale. You'll be able to fall asleep to the peaceful sounds of the east fork of the Hood River and walk over to the water for fishing, hiking, and swimming during the day.
Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail
Ranked as one of the best waterfalls in Oregon, this trail gives you another opportunity to soak in the views of Multnomah Falls.
Additionally, the trail will guide you to the falls and take you past other stunning natural sights along the way. Starting in Wahkeena Picnic Area, the Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail will take you past several smaller waterfalls before reaching Wahkeena Creek, which feeds the Multnomah waterfall.
After admiring the waterfall again, you will descend to the Multnomah Falls Lodge and return to the trailhead along the Historic Columbia River Highway. During the winter months, it's recommended to be equipped with hiking poles and microspikes to traverse through any icy patches.
After another hike with a stunning waterfall view, head to the Cascade Locks KOA Campgrounds for an overnight stay. These campgrounds have plenty of campsites for you to enjoy that comes with an impressive list of amenities.
During your stay, you can swim in their onsite pool, rent propane and firewood for a campfire, rent bikes for a leisurely ride around the campgrounds, and take a dip in a hot tub.
Furthermore, they even offer access to a game room, horseshoe pit, golf greens, WiFi, and laundry. This luxurious stay will provide you with everything you could need while giving you a natural backdrop to enjoy.
Misery Ridge and River Trail
The incline and terrain of this hike can feel intimidating to beginners, so you should tackle this once you have some trail miles already under your belt. However, it's not uncommon to see families on this trail, and it's a viable spot for a family hike as long as your kids are comfortable with elevation gains.
This is the most popular trail in Smith Rock State Park and will give you a nice climb, gorgeous ridge views, and a refreshing walk along the river.
Starting right at the park's main entrance, you will immediately arrive at the Crooked River. As you walk downhill, cross the river and climb up the backside of Misery Ridge.
If you look around, you'll even be able to spot rock climbers testing their skills on the side of the ridge. Look out for sections with steep drop-offs, especially if you have your kids with you.
Once you reach the lookout point of this 3.5-mile loop trail, you'll be treated to unparalleled views along Misery Ridge, looking out over the entire park.
Skull Hollow Campground is located right next to Smith Rock State Park, a popular spot for weekenders. There are 28 campsites with parking pullouts, and you can stay for up to two weeks at a time. Campfires are allowed, but there aren't many pits, so you should bring a portable fire pit.
Garfield Peak Trail
If you are visiting Oregon for an outdoor getaway, prioritize visiting Crater Lake. This volcanic crater is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity, and we promise you this stunning view is awe-inspiring, even for the most experienced weekend warriors.
The scenic Garfield Peak Trail is a 3.4-mile out-and-back hike that will take you to a beautiful lookout point. You begin at the parking lot of Crater Lake Lodge and begin an uphill walk. The steepest section of the hike is over after the first half of a mile, and you are instantly rewarded with panoramic views of the deep blue lake.
Continue walking uphill until you reach the 8,060-foot summit, providing you with sweeping views of the lake, Wizard Island, Phantom Ship, Mount Mazama, and the southern terrain. You will definitely want to stay here, enjoy a packed lunch, and snap a few photos of this natural wonder.
After admiring the deepest lake in the country, you hop in your adventure van and drive the short distance over to the Crater Lake Recreation Site.
This site offers full hookups with 20, 30, and 50-amp services. Using their free WiFi to get some work done (if needed) and rinse off before bed using the free hot showers. To create a picturesque ending to your day, climb onto your Safari Rack and gaze at the stars as you listen to the rushing sounds of nearby waterfalls and streams.
Wahclella Falls Trail
This short and easy trail is perfect for families, beginner hikers, or those looking for an activity that lasts under an hour.
While it may be short, this 1.9-mile out-and-back trail provides dazzling scenery. As you walk to the falls, enjoy the steady terrain and grand foliage surrounding the trail. When you reach the turnaround point, you’ll be deposited right in front of Wahclella Falls, a waterfall that cascades down a series of boulders, with the lower drop stretching over 65 feet.
As the water rushes to enter the Columbia River Gorge, you will feel the spray hit you from the lower bridge, which is accessible to hikers. On a hot summer day, the spray from the gorge creates a refreshing oasis. You can spend as much time as you would like here or turn around right away to move on to your next hike.
If you plan this hike for the last hour before sunset, you’ll probably be ready to head to a campground for the night immediately afterward. Luckily, Lewis & Clark Campground is a well-loved option close to Wahclella Falls.
Offering incredible views of and access to the Columbia River Gorge, you have many water activities at your disposal.
Additionally, you can enjoy full water and electricity access and the onsite fire pits and picnic tables. Full-service bathrooms and showers are much appreciated after an afternoon of exploring the river and nearby trails.
God's Thumb Summit Trail via The Knoll
A moderately difficult hike that should be doable for most weekend warriors, this 4.3-mile out-and-back trail offers superb views, making the perfect ending to your Oregon hiking trip.
As you make your way to the basalt formation known as God's Thumb, walk along a ridge frequented by elk, so watch for these big animals. You will also walk past thickets full of blackberries, salmonberries, and elderberries.
As you hike along the rest of the ridge, relish in the expansive views of Devils Lake and gorgeous meadows. The rest of the trail entails grassy fields, mossy spruce forests, and an alder-lined meadow. Finally, hikers reach a lookout point at God's Thumb and are greeted by stunning vistas.
Located at the top of the Salmon River, your spectacular views of the natural basalt formation, the Pacific Ocean, and the coastline will be unforgettable. Standing on this cove will make you feel like you are on top of the world; take your time soaking in the unique views before heading back.
After seeing Oregon from a new perspective, hop in your adventure van and head to Logan Road Park. This pet-friendly campground offers free WiFi, access to an onsite Casino Resort, electric, water, and sewer hookups, picnic tables, and more.
Other Oregon Outdoor Activities
If you want to add some other outdoor activities to your itinerary in between hikes, there are endless options to choose from in this unique state.
Surfing in Oregon
While you might not think of the Pacific Northwest as a hotspot for surfing, countless surfers flock to the steady waves on the Oregon shores every year. Store your surfboard under your van bed, or on your roof rack, gas up your van, and head out.
Before hopping in the water, consider the water temperature, sneaker waves, and rocky terrain. The water in this area can get as cold as 40 degrees, so don't forget a protective wetsuit.
Sneaker waves are common while surfing in Oregon, so always be alert when in the water. Lastly, many Oregon beaches are well populated with rocks and logs, so only surf in safe areas to lower the risk of injury.
For beginner surfers, we recommend checking out Indian Beach. Located in Ecola State Park, this beach is sheltered from strong wings. After hopping in the water, you will find both groundswells and wind swells that break both left and right, giving you plenty of safe space to try and ride a wave.
If you have some surfing experience behind you but need more time to tackle the most challenging waves, head over to Agate Beach. While still protected from north winds, the waves can break right and left with East and Northeast winds. This beach is rarely crowded, which will help you feel comfortable as you tackle moderate waves.
For the experienced surfer, check out Lincoln City/Roads End. Thanks to the exposed reef, this beach produces some of Oregon's biggest and most challenging waves.
The swells consistently reach six to eight feet; the best swell direction comes from the west. Here, you are sure to find some thrilling waves and plenty of other seasoned surfers.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Once again, many people forget about Central Oregon towns like Bend when they think of a skiing trip, but gliding down the side of a dormant volcano on a pair of skis is a must-do experience for outdoor lovers. Additionally, most Oregon ski resorts average 35 feet of snow a season, more than skiing hotspots in Utah or Colorado get on average.
The most popular ski resort in Oregon is Mount Bachelor due to its lighter snow and large terrain. Mount Bachelor is a dormant volcano that reaches over 9,000 feet into the air. With over 4,300 acres of skiable terrain, Mount Bachelor ranks as the sixth-largest ski resort in North America. You can enjoy the 101 ski runs and 12 ski lifts.
You can visit Timberline Lodge and Ski Area if you want to ski in the summer or fall. Situated on Mount Hood, this resort receives massive snowfall each year, allowing it to be open for skiing year-round.
Featuring nine lifts and 41 runs, you have plenty of options to keep you busy. Most runs are catered toward beginner and intermediate skiers, with a few impressive drops still accessible to advanced skiers. Mount your Ski & Snowboard Rack and get ready to kick up some powder.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush as you immerse yourself in the Oregon landscape, take advantage of the many mountain biking trails throughout the state.
However, while there are countless trail options across the state, you can find an extensive assortment of trails that range in difficulty and features just in Ashland alone. Ashland is home to six popular trails that will offer you a range of biking experiences.
The Lower Ashland Watershed Loop is 14 miles long and starts in the historic downtown center. After riding through some residential streets, you will enter a scenic forest that begins with 2.5 miles of climbing. After a few miles of sailing downhill, bikers encounter rolling climbs before reaching the trail's summit.
This is an excellent workout for any biker, a perfect mix of natural and residential sights with steep climbs and rewarding drops.
For a difficult ride with classically narrow stretches and breathtaking views, tackle the High Lakes Trail's Brown Mountain loop. Beginning with a ride on the High Lakes Trail, take the chance to warm up on relatively flat terrain before reaching a singletrack trail that winds up and down through old-growth trees.
After a challenging six-mile climb, you will reach the ride's peak, with remarkable, expansive views of the Oregon landscape. After a descent on the singletrack, adventurers return to the Lake of the Woods, which offers an excellent refuge for a post-ride dip.
Oregon is home to many exciting rivers that provide the perfect environment for a thrilling whitewater rafting trip. One of the most popular options is the Upper Klamath waters.
Spanning 17 miles, these rapids start at the Boyle Powerhouse Dam and end just over the Oregon-California border. The journey will begin with II and III rapids before entering the five-mile-long stretch with IV+ rapids that leaves your heart pumping.
For a calmer but still exciting exposure to rapids, book a whitewater rafting trip on the McKenzie River. The crystal clear waters will push you alongside the tree-lined river bank and offer mild but consistent II+ rapids. This trip is perfect for the entire family and will surely be a memorable experience.
See Oregon Like Never Before
Taking a weekend trip to Oregon, whether you're visiting Tillamook, South Sister Summit, or Bend, will give you endless opportunities for breathtaking hikes and unforgettable outdoor activities. Whether you fill your itinerary with waterfall hikes, challenging summits, or strolls, you will be satisfied with the Oregon trails.
And if you need any supplies for your adventure van before you begin your journey into the Pacific Northwest, rely on Flatline Van Co. for all your needs.
Mount Mazama and Crater Lake: Growth and Destruction of a Cascades Volcano | USGS