The best hikes in Oregon are a diverse group! Not only do they include beautiful trails off the Oregon coast but also serene high desert landscapes. Here is a list of the best hikes in Oregon. We hope you enjoy the rich and varied views and geological wonders of this state.
#1 Trillium Lake Loop Trail #761
Trillium Lake Loop Trail is a popular hike located about an hour from Portland in the Mount Hood National Forest. The whole family will love this trail! It’s a 1.9-mile loop and begins in the Trillium Lake Day Use Area. You’ll start your hike by traveling through a campground but quickly enter marshlands and wet meadows. Keep your eyes peeled for birds as you meander around the lake. As the trail winds by the north end of Trillium Lake, you can enjoy stunning views of Mount Hood. If you want, bring your fishing poles, take a break, and cast your lines out to catch some fresh rainbow trout for dinner!
#2 Badlands Flatiron Rock Trail
If you are in search of stillness and fresh desert air, head to the Badlands. Fun fact about this beautiful area: Barack Obama signed the Oregon Badlands Wilderness near Bend into law in 2009. Most of its landscape is a result of the lava flow from Newberry Volcano 80,000 years ago. And much of its soil is a remnant from the eruption of Mount Mazama (Crater Lake) 7,700 years ago. The Flatiron Rock trail is flat and sandy, and it is about 6 miles long. As you hike, old juniper trees will surround you. It isn’t very easy to describe the uniqueness of this landscape… The colors seem to be brighter, and the air seems to be crisper. The trail will lead you to the origin of the lava flow at Flatiron Rock. Once you arrive, enjoy a great view of the Cascades far in the distance. If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the little caves and discover some ancient fire pits and drawings left by Native Americans who inhabited the Badlands. For more information on this wondrous area, click this link.
#3 Sutton Creek Dunes Trail
This hike out of Sutton Campground, right near Florence, is fascinating. You will travel through forests and sandy dunes. You will walk past creeks and marshlands. The mix of ecosystems in this hike highlights the diversity of nature that we have in Oregon. The hike itself is not too strenuous but does have bursts of elevation gains and descents. In total, it is about 3 miles point-to-point. If you head out in the summer, delicious huckleberries line the trail! Snack as you walk and enjoy your time in this luscious temperate rainforest. When you emerge from the forest, you will find yourself on the verge of dunes. Breathe in the fresh ocean air and gaze out along the Oregon coast.
#4 Little Blitzen Gorge Trail
Steens Mountain is one of the more rugged and untouched parts of Oregon. It is about a seven-hour drive from Portland and well worth the travel. This trail gives you an excellent taste of the beautiful alpine landscape in eastern Oregon. Little Blitzen Gorge Trail takes you through a deep glacially formed gorge carved into the side of Steens Mountain and will lead you alongside Little Blitzen River. Sticky geranium, groundsel, lupine, and aspen trees grow in abundance here. As you walk, you will encounter meadows, waterfalls, and even a swimming hole. You may also see an osprey or red-winged blackbird in this area! Eventually, you will reach 4-Mile Camp. At this point, you can choose to turn around or set up a tent and relax. Make sure to take some time to enjoy the alpine scenery and the wildflowers that surround the peaceful canyon stream.
#5 Deschutes River Trail to Benham Falls
Deschutes River Trail is a mostly flat 1.9-mile hike alongside the gorgeous Deschutes River. Tall ponderosa pines line the trail, as well as safety rails to keep the path safe. As you walk, take note of the dark rock on the opposite bank. It is the remains of volcanic lava rock that came out of Lava Butte 7,000 years ago and has been shaping the river since. As you continue down the trail, the water starts speeding up, and soon enough, you will encounter rapids. Venture off the main path to check out Benham Falls as the water rushes over the rocks. Enjoy the sounds of the water as it moves peacefully flows downstream and as it roars over the picturesque Benham Falls!
The ocean, desert, and forests are calling! With such diverse and beautiful landscapes, each of these trails makes for the best hikes in Oregon. We hope you enjoy them!
If you’re still yearning for some time in nature and want to stay a little closer to home, consider checking out Our Top 5 Willamette Valley Hikes.