15 Oregon hikes that prove the state’s diversity

Oregon has some of the best hikes in the Pacific Northwest. No matter if you are into waterfalls, mountain views, desert vibes, or coastal hikes – Oregon is a hiker’s paradise and one of the most diverse states when it comes to outdoor activities. If you really want to experience Oregon you need to hit the trails at some point.

But don’t worry, even if you are a beginner hiker, or are only visiting for a short time, Oregon is home to easily accessible trails. Some of Oregon’s most impressive hikes are only a stone’s throw away from Portland. If you fancy some adrenalin, you’ll also find challenging Oregon hikes that will blow your mind.

Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon: Orange, red and yellow hills
Painted Hills: One of the most impressive landscapes in Oregon

This article will help you navigate Oregon’s best hikes, and help you decide what trails to hit first when hiking in Oregon. Before we dive into Oregon’s jaw-dropping hikes, here are some general tips on hiking in Oregon and beyond:

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Know before you go: Tips on hiking in Oregon

Parks and Passes

Depending on where you hike in Oregon you need a parking pass. For all Oregon State Parks, the Oregon State Park Permit ($30 annual pass / $ 5 day pass) is necessary. When hiking in any of the national forests, you’ll need either an annual Northwest Forest Pass (allowing you to enter all areas managed by US Forest Service in Oregon and Washington), or you can use your America the Beautiful Pass.

Wilderness Permits

Be aware that Sno-Park permits are required in designated Sno-Parks from November 1 – April 30. If you are mostly hiking on the Oregon Coast, the Oregon Coast Passport might be most sufficient as it covers admission, parking, and day-use fees for 17 State and Federal parks, recreation areas, and heritage sites located on the Oregon Coast.

Some trails require wilderness permits – forms you need to fill out when entering the backcountry. Wilderness permits often are free but need to be filled out at the trailhead in order to help track usage trends and support rescue efforts in case of emergencies.

Hiking in Oregon Dunes on the John Dellenback Dunes Trail
Hiking in the Oregon Dunes

What to wear when hiking in Oregon?

Even if you are only planning to visit Portland, bring your hiking boots and your refillable water bottle as you might end up on a trail. Wearing proper shoes with good traction is key when hiking in Oregon. It might get muddy, rocky, or steep. In winter microspikes or snowshoes are recommended as well.

Dressing in layers and bringing a small down jacket + rain jacket is another tip you should heed. Temperatures drop fast in the evening or at higher elevations, and it gets windy in the Columbia River Gorge, on your coastal hikes and mountain peaks. Waterfalls are not the only source that might get you wet when hiking in Oregon.

view of South Falls in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Hike of 10 Trails, Silver Falls State Park, Siuslaw National Forest

Leave no trace and stay on the main trails

To preserve the beauty of Oregon’s hikes, please pack in and pack out and stay on the trails to not damage sensitive soil, flora, and wildlife.


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Map of Oregon hikes

Map created with Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android

Hikes in and near Portland, Oregon

Hiking in Oregon really means you don’t have to plan a full outdoor adventure. You can find plenty of urban hikes in Portland, near Salem, and Eugene so that you can easily combine a city trip with hitting the trails.

Hiking the 4T Trail, Portland
Hiking in Portland, Oregon

4T-Trail – explore Portland sustainably

My favorite hike in Portland is the 4T-Trail. On this 4.5 miles (7.5 km) long hike you can explore the city of Portland and enjoy its nature at the same time. The 4 “T”s stand for “Train, Trail, (Aerial) Tram, and Trolley” and couldn’t describe better how this trail, works: It’s a self-guided hike through Portland for which you don’t even need a car as all locations are connected by public transport.

  • Distance: 4.5 miles / 7,2 km
  • Elevation: 775 ft / 236 m
  • Trail type: loop trail
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Location: Washington Park, Portland
  • Parking / fee: $5,10 Trimet ticket (public transport)
4T Trail Portland Aerial Tram
Höhepunkt des 4T-Trail: Seilbahn mit Blick auf Portland, den Willamette River (und Mt. Hood)

More urban hikes in Portland:

  • Hoyt Arboretum, Washington Park
  • Wildwood Trail, Forest Park
  • Ridge Trail & St. Johns Bridge, Forest Park
  • Macleay Park or Cumberland Trail to Pittock Mansion
  • Mount Tabor, Southeast Portland

Trail of Ten Falls – 10 waterfalls in only 1 hike

One of Oregon’s most famous hikes is the Trail of 10 Falls in Silver Falls State Park. As the name indicates, you’ll get to see 10 waterfalls when hiking the entire loop – only one reason why the Trail of Ten Falls is an extraordinary Oregon hike. South Falls are probably the most impressive and you can access the viewpoint via a short walk from the parking lot. But I’d say, if you have some time, don’t do what the day visitors do, but hike the entire loop. Silver Falls State Park is Oregon’s largest State Park and one of Oregon’s scenic treasures.

  • Distance: 7.4 miles / 12 km
  • Elevation: 1,151 ft / 350 m
  • Trail type: loop trail
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Location: Silver Falls State Park, Siuslaw National Forest near Salem
  • Parking / fee: Oregon State Parks Pass
View of South Falls at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
The trail leads behind South Falls, Silver Falls State Park

Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Angel’s Rest – Gorge(ous) views

Only half an hour (25 miles / 40 km) from Portland, Angel’s Rest is one of the MUST hikes in Oregon. The hike is moderately steep and takes you up to the summit in a relatively short distance. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the Columbia River Gorge. It’s especially beautiful during sunset, but make sure to bring your headlamp when considering staying up for Blue Hour. As this trail is close to Portland and parking at the trailhead is limited, make sure to plan ahead and avoid busy weekends.

  • Distance: 4.4 miles / 7,1 km
  • Elevation: 1,476 ft / 450 m
  • Trail type: Out & back
  • Difficulty: moderately challenging
  • Location: Corbett, Historic Columbia Highway
  • Parking / fee: no permit necessary
Sunset view of Columbia River from Angel's Rest
Enjoy the view of Columbia River during sunset

Eagle Creek Trail to Punchbowl Falls – Canyon views & waterfalls

Eagle Creek Trail is one of the most famous trails on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. After the massive Eagle Creek Fire in 2017 the trail was closed for 3 years, only reopened in 2021. So there is no question this trail is a Must-do hike in Oregon.

Hiking along asalt cliffs with views down to Eagle Creek
Hiking the Cable Trail along basalt cliffs
Waterfalls along Eagle Creek Trail, Oregon
Waterfalls around every corner

While the entire Eagle Creek Trail continues to Wahtum Lake in Mt. Hood National Forest, the first part to Punchbowl Falls is easy but no less spectacular. The trail leads through old-growth forest, follows a narrow path along basalt cliffs (Cable Trail) from where small waterfalls cascade down into the deep canyon where Eagle Creek is winding its way. You can continue your hike to Loowit Falls, High Bridge, Tunnel, and Twister Falls and turn around wherever you feel like it. Continuing to Wahtum Lake ( 25.3 miles / 40 km with an elevation gain of 6,256 ft /1.900 m) makes this a classic 2-3-day backpacking trip.

  • Distance: 4.5 miles / 7,25 km
  • Elevation: 1,280 ft / 390 m
  • Trail type: Out & back
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Location: Cascade Locks, Historic Columbia Highway
  • Parking / fee: NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
roaring Punchbowl Falls at the first section of Eagle Creek Trail
Punchbowl Falls: First waypoint of Eagle Creek Trail

Latourell Falls – Icelandic vibes

Sure thing, Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest and most popular waterfall. But to see the falls you don’t have to hike at all. So why not take a look at Latourell Falls, the third-tallest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge that’s located even closer to Portland? The Latourell Falls loop trail is an easy Oregon hike that takes you to two roaring waterfalls that in my opinion make for some Icelandic photo ops. When visiting in spring, Latourell Falls (as all waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge) have seen considerable rainfall and the falls are thundering down into the pool.

  • Distance: 2.9 miles / 4,65 km
  • Elevation: 728 ft / 222 m
  • Trail type: loop trail
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Location: Guy W. Talbot State Park, Historic Columbia Highway
  • Parking / fee: Oregon State Parks Pass
standing at the base of Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Latourell Falls
roaring Upper Latourell Falls, Oregon
Upper Latourell Falls

Be careful when getting close to the bottom of the falls as the rocks are very slippery!

Hiking in Mt. Hood National Forest

Mirror Lake / Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain – mountain reflections + elevated views

When thinking about the best views of Mt. Hood, ideally seeing a reflection of the snow-capped hood, 2 lakes come to my mind: Trillium Lake and Mirror Lake. While Trillium Lake is easily accessible in summer with a parking lot and recreation area directly at the lake, Mirror Lake is a bit more of an effort to get to and the reason why it makes it to my list of best Oregon hikes. If 3.7 miles aren’t satisfying you, you can continue your hike to Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain with even more jaw-dropping views of Mirror Lake and Mt. Hood. This is also a great Oregon winter hike, especially if you want to beat the crowds in summer. Just consider that Mirror Lake might be covered in snow and no mirror is visible.

  • Distance: 3.7 miles (6 km) to Mirror Lake / 9 miles (14,5 km) to Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain
  • Elevation: 646 ft (197 m) / 1,709 ft (521 m)
  • Trail type: Out & back
  • Difficulty: moderate / challenging, (difficult in winter)
  • Location: Government Camp, Mt. Hood National Forest
  • Parking / fee: NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass / Sno-Permit in winter
aerial view of snow-capped Mount Hood from Mirror Lake, Oregon
Aerial view of snow-capped Mount Hood from Mirror Lake

Ramona Falls – river crossing & mountain views

Ramona Falls is considered one of the best waterfall hikes in Oregon as it offers some adventure, mountain views, and a cascading waterfall at the end of the trail. The hike leads along the Sandy River which at one point you’ll need to cross. The old bridge that used to connect the trail was washed out so that hikers have to balance over logs to get to the other side of Sandy River which makes this an adventurous undertaking. At this point, views of Mt. Hood open up. Don’t get distracted when crossing the river and be extremely careful! At the end of the hike, you’ll get to Ramona Falls and stand at the wooden footbridge for some aww pictures.

  • Distance: 7.1 miles (11,4 km)
  • Elevation: 1,066 ft (325 m)
  • Trail type: loop
  • Difficulty: moderate / difficult due to river crossing
  • Location: Rhododendron, Mt. Hood National Forest
  • Parking / fee: NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
  • Wilderness permits required between May 15 – Oct 15
crossing Sandy River with view of Mt. Hood
Crossing Sandy River with Mt. Hood in the distance
View of Ramona Falls, Oregon from small footbridge
Best photo spot at Ramona Falls: the small footbridge

Tamanawas Falls – best winter waterfall hike

Tamanawas Falls for me is the best Oregon winter hike. It’s easily accessible, the trailhead starts right off Highway 35 between Hood River and Parkdale in Mt. Hood National Forest and takes you in less than 4 miles without too much elevation gain to a 110-foot (33 m) plunging waterfall. It’s especially beautiful in winter when the cliffs and maybe the waterfall itself might be frozen or at least covered in snow. Due to the higher elevation you’ve better chances of seeing this waterfall snow-covered than waiting until a snowstorm hits the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. Don’t forget to bring your microspikes!

  • Distance: 3.8 miles (6 km)
  • Elevation: 570 ft (174 m)
  • Trail type: Out & back
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate (depending on snow and ice on the trail)
  • Location: between Hood River + Parkdale, Mount Hood National Forest
  • Parking / fee: NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
snow covered Tamanawas Falls, Oregon in spring
Tamanawas Falls in spring

Oregon Coast Hikes

Neahkahnie Mountain – elevated coastal views

The view from the top of Neahkahnie Mountain on the Northern Oregon Coast makes this one of the best Oregon coastal hikes. While the trail mostly leads to the forest without views on the way the bird’s eye view from of Nehalem Bay the summit is breathtaking. It’s a steep climb, so don’t underestimate it!

There are 2 trails from where you can hike up Neahkahnie Mountain: The South Trailhead (a bit shorter and less steep) and the North Trailhead. You can also combine both trails and hike a loop. This just means you’ll have to walk the last 1.5 miles back to your car on the side of the road. I’d definitely say it’s worth it as the views are gorgeous along the way.

  • Distance: 2.8 miles (4,5 km) South Trail / 4 miles (6,4 km) North Trail
  • Elevation: 866 ft (264 m) South Trail / 1,243 ft (379 km) South Trail
  • Trail type: in & out or loop
  • Difficulty: moderate to challenging
  • Location: Oswald West State Park, Northern Oregon Coast
  • Parking / fee: none
View of Nehalem Bay and Manzanita from Neahkahnie Mountain
Looking down to Nehalem Bay and Manzanita

Note: The North Trail is closed as of Feb 2021 due to storm damage, so make sure to check before you go and aim for the South Trail.

More Oregon Coast hikes offering stunning views:

  • Cape Lookout
  • Cape Falcon
  • God’s Thumb
  • Cascade Head Trail

John Dellenback Dunes Trail – North America’s largest coastal sand dunes

Did you know that the Oregon Dunes are one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world and a trail especially carved out for hikers leads straight through? No ATVs (and dogs) between March and September, isn’t that great? – At least talking about ATVs…

The John Dellenback Dunes Trail is a very unique experience not only for this reason. You’ll start walking in the forest before entering soft sand dunes that eventually lead you to the Pacific Ocean. This trail is definitely more than just a typical Oregon Coast hike and obviously had to make it to the list of the best Oregon hikes that prove the state’s natural diversity.

  • Distance: 5.5 miles (8,6 km)
  • Elevation: 308 ft (94 m)
  • Trail type: loop
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate (due to hiking on sand)
  • Location: Oregon Dunes Recreation Area, Central Oregon Coast
  • Parking / fee: NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
hiking through the Oregon Dunes on John Dellenback Dunes Trail
HIking through the Oregon Dunes

Note: As soon as you get to the dunes make sure to follow the poles painted blue at the top. Otherwise, you might get off trail easily and might get lost.

signs for John Dellenback Dunes Trail
Don’t lose sight of the blue marked signs for John Dellenback Dunes Trail

Samuel H. Boardman – Oregon’s wild coast

If I’d to rate Oregon’s most scenic coastal stretches Samuel H. Boardman would make it to the top of my list. Rugged cliffs, old-growth forest, secluded coves, and iconic sea stacks make the Southern Oregon Coast so special. At Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor this beauty is squeezed into a relatively short stretch that surpasses all imagination. The area offers plenty of short hikes and is a must-stop when you are on an Oregon road trip.

view of Natural Bridges, Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor from viewing platform
Natural Bridges from viewing platform

The hike down to the Natural Bridges is probably the most famous Oregon coastal hike although the trail to the North Island Viewpoint (China Beach) is super short and cannot really be named “hike”.

  • Distance: 0.5 miles (0,8 km)
  • Elevation: 154 ft (47 m)
  • Trail type: in & out
  • Difficulty: easy to the viewpoint
  • Location: Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, Southern Oregon Coast
  • Parking / fee: none

Natural Bridges, Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
Watching the crashing waves on Oregon’s wild coast from Natural Bridges

You can also get down and walk across the Natural Bridges, but this steep trail can get really slippery and dangerous and there are definitely some pros and cons to consider before hiking down. Wanna know more? Check out my blog post:

Hikes near Bend, Central Oregon

Misery Ridge Trail – high desert & climbers’ paradise

While there are plenty of hiking opportunities around Bend – getaway to the outdoors in Central Oregon – the Misery Ridge Trail in Smith Rock State Park is my favorite. When visiting Smith Rock State Park you’ll already be transported into a very different part of Oregon as it marks the getaway to the high desert. Say goodbye to the lush green forest and hi to orange-brown rock formations, climbers’ paradise, and spectacular views. The Misery Ridge loop starts with a steep incline, but after you’ve managed this the rest of the trail is easy and takes you along the Crooked River, it takes you to the iconic Monkey Face and even opens up views to the snow-capped peaks in the distance.

Climbers on top of Monkey Face at Smith Rock State Park, Oregon. In the distance: snow covered Cascade Mountain peaks
Climbers on top of Monkey Face

Misery Ridge Trail definitely is an Oregon hike that stands in contrast to lush forests and roaring waterfalls and had to make it onto this list. There is a reason why Smith Rock State Park is one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.

  • Distance: 3.5 miles (5,6 km)
  • Elevation: 948 ft (289 m)
  • Trail type: loop
  • Difficulty: moderate with steep incline at the beginning, walk along river is easy
  • Location: Smith Rock State Park, Central Oregon
  • Parking / fee: Oregon State Park Pass
Wandern auf dem Misery Ridge Trail im Smith Rock State Park Oregon
Der Misery Ridge Trail führt entlang des Crooked River, vorbai an orange-roten Felswänden

Hikes in Eastern Oregon

Blue Basin Overlook Trail – time traveling

Eastern Oregon is home to canyons, twisting rivers, alpine wilderness, and your best choice when taking a journey through time along prehistoric fossil beds. The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (including the Painted Hills as another of Oregon’s 7 Wonders) hold many great trails that lead you through Oregon’s ancient history.

view into Blue Basin and the surrounding badlands from Blue Basin Overlook Trail at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Blue Basin surrounded by badlands

The Blue Basin Overlook Trail is an outstanding hike that attracts fewer people than the popular Painted Hills. The Blue Basin Overlook Trail leads uphill across rocky terrain with views of the surrounding badlands and down the John Day River valley. From the top, you can look into the superb blue-green basin that’s hidden from the start of the trail.

  • Distance: 4 miles (6,4 km)
  • Elevation: 898 ft (274 m)
  • Trail type: loop
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Location: John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Eastern Oregon
  • Parking / fee: America the Beautiful Pass
Hiking through Blue Basin at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
The last section of the hike leads through the Blue Basin itself

More inspiring places in Eastern Oregon:

  • Steens Mountain and Alvord Desert (Southeast Oregon)
  • Hells Canyon (boarder to Idaho)
  • Wallowa Mountains (alpine wilderness)

Hikes in Southern Oregon

Watchman Peak, Crater Lake – deepest lake in the US

As we are talking about Oregon hikes that prove the state’s diversity, Oregon’s only National Park cannot be missed in this list. Crater Lake is not only one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders, but the USA’s deepest lake. While the National Park can easily be visited by car, there is one hike that you cannot miss: The Watchman Peak offers the best views of the park with comparatively little effort. The hike is pretty short but steep. After reaching the top, you’ll have amazing views of the entire lake including Wizard Island.

  • Distance: 1.7 miles (2,7 km)
  • Elevation: 400 ft (122 m)
  • Trail type: Out & back
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Location: Crater Lake National Park, Southern Oregon
  • Parking / fee: America the Beautiful Pass
View of Crater Lake and Wizard Island
View of Crater Lake and Wizard Island from Rim Drive

For more hikes in the Pacific Northwest, check out:



Have you ever hiked in Oregon? What’s your experience? Do you like the article, have suggestions, feedback, or recommendations? Leave me a comment and feel free to share this article with your friends!



Best Oregon Hikes

Best Oregon Hikes



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