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5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Oregon

By Ian-Spiegel Blum

5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Oregon

Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock.com

Oregon is one of the most gorgeous states in the country, with an endless number of trailheads, rivers, creeks, lakes, mountains, and forests begging for exploration. As such, it’s nearly impossible to choose our favorites! Even so, we’ve picked out five of the most beautiful hikes for families, backpackers, scramblers, and those that prefer to stay off the beaten path. No matter what kind of hiker you are, you’re sure to find something memorable below. 

1. Paradise Park Loop Trail

Situated in the remarkable Mount Hood Wilderness, the Paradise Park Loop Trail is just that—paradise. Traverse through meadows of wildflowers and soak in the views of the towering Mount Hood. Eventually, this trail leads to Paradise Park and it also connects to a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT runs 2,650 miles from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Paradise Park Loop Trail is a sight you don’t want to miss!  

Another day in paradise. #thewoods #outside #optoutside #backpacking #hiking #oregon #mthood #pct #pct2017 #paradise

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2. Salmon Mountain Trail

The Salmon Mountain Trail is considered off the beaten path and is perfect for those that prefer less crowded hikes. The trail starts at the Plaza Trail and finishes up at a lookout by the summit of Salmon Mountain. Soak in the views of the Cascades and the Salmon River Drainage. If you’re not an experienced hiker, you may want to pass this hike up as it can be very narrow and rocky. 

Spooky Salmon River.

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3. Chief Joseph Mountain Trail

This trail starts at the West Fork Wallowa River Trailhead and ends at the Chief Joseph Basin. One way, the Chief Joseph Mountain Trail spans seven miles and is categorized as “more difficult” so it can be a bit of a challenge for children or inexperienced trekkers. It’s recommended to visit during the summer and fall. Along the way, you might find goats and bighorn sheep. Keep an eye out for the limestone, granodiorite, greenstone, and Columbia Basalt, the combination of which make for a colorful experience.  

4. Silver Falls State Park

According to its website, people consider Silver Falls to be the “crown jewel” of state parks in Oregon. Hikers can walk behind the 177-foot South Falls—yes that’s right, you can walk behind an incredible sheet of water cascading downward. To get there, travel on the Trail of Ten Falls which is a renowned trail that takes you through a lush forested area. This loop trail is just a little over seven miles. 

5. Smith Rock State Park

This tremendous park is not only for hikers, but rock climbers as well. Smith Rock State Park is characterized by incredible deep river canyons. For an easy, but beautiful hike, try out the 1.5-mile Canyon Trail. This hike begins just past the welcome center. For those with extensive hiking experience, try out the Burma Road Trail which has rugged terrain and can be very steep at times.  

Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

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