Well-loved for its diverse landscapes that include ocean coastline, mountains, forests, and everything in between, Oregon is a popular hiking destination for locals and tourists alike. To help you choose a few of the best hikes in the Beaver State we've listed five trails based on recommendations from AmericanTrails.org - happy hiking!
The Watchman Peak Trail is a fairly short hike at 0.7 miles, but it's steep and you'll quickly reach 7,881 feet in elevation to see expansive panoramic views from the summit, including a clear view of alpine wildflower fields and Wizard Island. You can reach the historic fire look out – in use since its construction in 1932 - at the summit in about an hour or spend a day off the trail exploring the Crater Lake National Park.
If you're looking for a longer trek the Three Sisters Loop is a popular 50-mile hike set in the Cascade Range of central Oregon. The Three Sisters Loop circles through a wide range of scenery that spans everything from alpine forests to volcanic landscapes and treats hikers to views of wildflower meadows, gentle streams, lava fields, glacial lakes, Mount Hood, and other peaks along the trail.
The McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is a 26-mile hike well-known for its beautiful scenes of old-growth conifer forests. The trail gradually descends to follow the McKenzie River to take hikers past Koosah and Sahalie Falls to the Carmen Reservoir and on to Tamolich Falls, Blue Pool, and Trailbridge Reservoir. Other highlights of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail include views of ancient lava flows and hot springs, Clear Lake, the Great Spring, and Mount Washington.
The Rogue River National Recreation Trail in southwest Oregon is dotted with historical sites and offers hikers many opportunities to see wildlife,. You can hike the full 40 miles through the wilderness of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River to see streams, waterfalls, wildflower meadows, and walls of the Wild Rogue Canyon, but always be mindful of bears.
One of central Oregon's most well-known landmarks is Black Butte, a dormant volcano from which you can clearly see the surrounding plateau and a few peaks of the Cascades to the west. Hikers gain 1,600 feet of elevation when they reach Black Butte's summit and pass two historic fire lookout stations on their 3.6-mile trek through the forest.