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Tyson Gillard | 01.25.2016

Now here's a list that will likely be contentious, but someone has to do it. How do you pick the best of the best? In a state with so much natural beauty and wild diversity, there's certainly a lot to choose from. To get started, we broke the state into eight distinct regions and then asked ourselves two critical questions:

  • "If we had to pick a handful, what day hikes in this region would we undoubtedly recommend to friends visiting from out of town?"
  • "Despite their popularity, what day hikes exemplify the unique qualities of this region?"

After hours of deliberation and debate, we've come up with a solid list that is long enough to include destinations that you've always wanted to reach, some old favorites that need to be revisited, and hopefully plenty of spots you've never even heard of. Note that plenty of Oregon's most incredible places aren't included on this list even though they may be accessible by trail; in this case, we've excluded hikes that are less than a half-mile. You can find plenty of these spots by searching Special Destinations, which will yield results such as Toketee Falls off the Umpqua River. We've also excluded any hike over 14 miles round-trip that is better suited for backpacking, including adventures such as Glacier Lake in the Wallowa Mountains.

And, you may ask, why Diamond Peak for the cover? It's a long day to get the top and back down, but this hike is overlooked by many Oregonians. From its summit you can see a huge portion of the state. It's unbelievable! In one spot you can see both Mount Hood and Mount Shasta, and few other places give you that same sense of being surrounded by Oregon's splendor.

So get out your calendars, call your friends, share via social media, pick a weekend, pack your bags, hit the trails, and enjoy all that Oregon has to offer!

Oregon Coast + Coast Range

  1. Cape Lookout Hike
  2. Cape Falcon Hike
  3. Tillamook Head Hike
  4. Drift Creek Falls Hike
  5. Neahkahnie Mountain
  6. Cascade Head
  7. Saddle Mountain
  8. Kentucky Falls Hike
  9. Port Orford Heads Trails
  10. Golden + Silver Falls

Columbia River Gorge

*Please note that many of these hikes are currently closed from the Eagle Creek Fire

  1. Multnomah Falls/Wahkeena Falls Loop
  2. Oneonta Gorge
  3. Horsetail + Ponytail Falls Hike
  4. Eagle Creek Hike
  5. Munra Point
  6. Tom McCall Point
  7. Indian Point Hike
  8. Deschutes River, Ferry Springs Hike
  9. Chinidere Mountain + Wahtum Lake Hike
  10. Elowah Falls Hike

Mount Hood/Clackamas River Area

  1. McNeil Point Hike
  2. Paradise Park, Mount Hood
  3. Clackamas + Memaloose Falls Hike
  4. Tamanawas Falls
  5. Salmon River, Old Trail
  6. Bald Butte
  7. Ramona Falls Hike
  8. Clackamas River Trail
  9. Gnarl Ridge Hike
  10. Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike

Mount Jefferson + Metolius River Area

  1. Jefferson Park
  2. Canyon Creek Meadows
  3. Pamelia Lake + Grizzly Peak
  4. Metolius River Trail
  5. Black Butte Trail

Willamette Valley + Foothills

  1. Opal Creek Hike
  2. Abiqua Falls Hike
  3. Silver Falls, Trail of 10 Falls
  4. Butte Creek Falls Hike
  5. Spencer Butte Hike
  6. Proxy Falls Hike
  7. Diamond Creek Falls
  8. Triangulation Peak + Boca Cave
  9. McKenzie River Trail
  10. Brice Creek Trail

Central Oregon

  1. Green Lakes Hike
  2. Tumalo Falls + Creek Hike
  3. Arnold Ice Cave
  4. Broken Top Crater
  5. Lava River Cave
  6. Paulina Lake Loop Trail + Hot Springs
  7. Deschutes River Trail, Upper Reach
  8. Tam McArthur Rim
  9. Steelhead Falls
  10. Waldo Lake + Rigdon Lakes Hike
  11. Paulina Peak
  12. Smith Rock Misery Ridge
  13. Sparks Lake, Ray Adkeson Memorial Trail

Southern Oregon

  1. Diamond Peak, Marie + Rockpile Lakes
  2. Rogue River Trail
  3. Moon Falls
  4. Crater Lake, Mount Scott
  5. Crater Lake, Garfield Peak
  6. Crater Lake Plaikni Falls Trail
  7. Indigo Lake Trail
  8. Grizzly Peak
  9. Mount McLoughlin
  10. ​Lower Table Rock

Eastern Oregon

  1. Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  2. Strawberry Mountain via Strawberry Lake
  3. Slide Lake via High Lake
  4. Little Strawberry Hike
  5. Pike Creek Mine Hike
  6. Borax Lake + Borax Lake Hot Springs
  7. Aneroid Lake


10 for Mount Hood but only 5 for Mount Jefferson? Only 7 for the eastern half of the state? Only one hike for the entire Wallowa Mountains? Nothing in Hells Canyon? This list is well-meaning but very incomplete and biased towards folks in the Portland metro area.

Clackamas and Memaloose Falls isn't a hike, it's an off-trail excursion that isn't recommended to anybody not comfortable with that sort of activity. Abiqua Falls isn't really a hike, either, and I can't recommend driving that road in anything less than a Subaru Outback. Steelhead Falls is a mile at best and isn't even the best hike on that part of the Deschutes River (that being Scout Camp). Arnold Ice Cave isn't really a hike either.

You forgot Scout Camp on the Deschutes River downstream of Steelhead Falls, Ice Lake in the Wallowas, the Imnaha River Trail in Hells Canyon, Wildhorse Lake at Steens Mountain, Yocum Ridge on Mount Hood, the Little North Santiam River Trail near Opal Creek and Marion Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness and the Painted Hills at minimum.

Most of this list is excellent but you have to have more of the eastern half of the state.
Great list, but you left out my favorite hike in Central Oregon, 5 miles that are easily accesible 17 miles east of Prineville. With terrain that transitions from rocky to deep forest to overlook, Stein's Pillar definitely deserves a second look! @goodbikeco and @ochocogravelroubaix
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