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.
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!
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.
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.
Did a solo hike to the top of Larson Peak off of the Chief Joseph Mountain Trail. Amazing view from the top of the town of Joseph, Wallowa Lake, and the Wallowa Mountains. Couldn't help but think about my friend Michael who had taken me to the top of many mountains and made me fall in love with them as he had. Wish he could've been up there to share that experience with me but so grateful that he shared his love and passion for the mountains. #livelikeleming #themountains #hiking #adventureisoutthere #getoutside #outdoorlifestyle #fitness #pnwbeauty #pnwonderland #wallowas #wallowalake #chiefjosephmountain #larsonpeak #naturesbeauty #wildflowers #freshair #beautiful #beautifulday #feelalive #onehellofahike
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.
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.