Oregon has AMAZING hiking for the beginner or the advance experienced enthusiast. If your looking to add an adventure to your Oregon visit or your local to Oregon and need a reminder to look out your back door this informtion should get you moving. Hiking Oregon offers so many choices for all kinds of ability levels. In last months hiking blog we reviewed McMinnville, Portland, and Salem areas. Today we are going to be looking at Columbia River Gorge, Bend/Sisters, Southern Oregon and the Coast. There are so many more then what we have listed but this should motivate everyone to explore Oregon hiking trails.
Expanding into other regions of Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge is one of the most frequented and beautiful hiking areas in the State. On the Oregon side of the Gorge, Multnomah Falls is one of the great attractions. Located just off of highway I-84, it is easy for travelers to access. There is a very nice visitor center and walking area near the creek at the bottom of the falls for those who just want to stretch their legs. It is just a short hike on a paved trail up to the top of the falls. If you are looking for a slightly longer hike, you can take the beautiful loop trail that starts at nearby Wahkeena Falls.
There are many hikes on the Washington side of the Gorge as well. Beacon Rock, for example, is a short, easy hike, and in my opinion it is one of the most unique hikes in Oregon. Beacon Rock juts out over the edge of the Columbia, a tall monolith of hardened magma that was once the center of a volcanic crater. The trail, which changes from dirt path to a concrete sidewalk with a guardrail, scales the north face of Beacon Rock in a series of switchbacks up to the top. Reminiscent of the Angel’s Landing hike in Utah’s Zion National Park, but at a much smaller scale, this hike is not to be missed.
My favorite hike in the Columbia Gorge is Hamilton Mountain. This is a longer day hike that ranges from moderate to difficult. The views of the Gorge from the summit are excellent, and the different ecosystems that the trail passes through on this loop hike are impressive. This hike is great for the avid, experienced hiker who wants to summit a mountain in one day. There are shorter hikes to the Pool of the Winds and Hardy Falls along the way, for those who don’t wish to do the entire Mountain loop. Be sure to take plenty of water, a camera, and a good lunch! For more hiking options in the Gorge, visit www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Columbia_River_Gorge_Hikes, and www.gorgefriends.org/.
If you are looking for recreation outside of town, Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood is a great place to visit. A little over an hour’s drive from Portland, Timberline offers summer hiking trails, food, chair lift rides, and free historic tours. Another great destination that will take you out into nature but not too far from Portland is Bagby Hot Springs. You can hike in 1 mile to the historic hot springs and relax in rustic hot tubs that were hand carved out of cedar logs – a perfect way to enjoy a day in the wilderness.
Bend / Sisters
For hiking in the bend area I recommend visiting the Dee Wright Observatory near Sisters, Oregon. It is a mystical historic monument built atop a volcanic obsidian flow. Pilot Butte State Park is a great hike that lies within the Bend city limits, and just outside of Bend is the Deschutes National Forest, which holds a plethora of natural wonders including lakes, rivers, mountains, and volcanic sites. Hiking options in the Deschutes are extensive, and any path that you choose to take is guaranteed to be magnificent. One of the top hiking and wall climbing trails is Smith Rock. People travel from all around the US to hike and climb this wonder. The Bend area is my favorite place to camp and hike in all of Oregon, and I plan a trip there every year, rain or shine, to visit the Deschutes Wilderness!
Southern Oregon is home to one of Oregon’s most famous natural attractions, Crater Lake. There are many hikes around the Crater Lake area, and a great guide to those hikes can be found here. The Watchman, a hill overlooking the lake, is said to have one of the best views of Crater Lake.
The beaches of the Oregon Coast are all open to the public, so that visitors can walk and play on the beach. Some areas along the coast have longer hiking trails as well. The Tillamook area offers hiking on Tillamook Head, between Lincoln City and Pacific City is the beautiful Cascade Head hike, and along the southern part of the coast the trees of the Oregon Redwoods ascend, dense and majestic.
Wherever you may roam in Oregon, there is definitely a hike that is perfect for you. For general information on Oregon National Forests, Wilderness, State Parks, recreation and hiking opportunities, visit:
Oregon hiking http://www.oregonhiking.com/
National Park Service http://www.nps.gov/state/or/index.htm?program=all
Oregon State Parks http://www.oregonstateparks.org/
After a long hike, there is nothing better than relaxing on the deck with a bottle of wine. We hope that you can visit Youngberg Hill to share your hiking plans, photos and stories with us!