11 Fantastic Hikes in Oregon

11 Fantastic Hikes in Oregon

A comprehensive collection of the best places to hike in Oregon could fill several volumes – in fact, guidebooks are often broken down by region to avoid overly cumbersome tomes. From the Pacific coastline to the Wallowa Mountains, from the Columbia Gorge to Crater Lake, from the Cascade Range to Central Oregon’s High Desert, there are stunning landscapes to be found throughout the state. So to keep this list manageable, we’re going to keep this to day hikes with difficulty levels from easy to moderate. Still, choosing just 11 was a challenge…

11. Tire Mountain

Love flowers? Then hiking Tire Mountain is a must. This trail, in the Willamette Valley foothills about an hour outside Eugene, is an easy 7.6 mile roundtrip hike, with all but the last mile featuring a gentle climb in elevation. It begins with a half mile walk through the forest before opening to the first of two small wildflower meadows. Despite the trail ending in a clearing that once housed a fire lookout, much of that view is obscured, so take time here to admire the view of the Hills Creek Reservoir and the mountains beyond. Continue on past another small meadow, admiring the various types of wildflowers, before emerging at the last, largest meadow carpeted in tiny pink flowers. It’s fine to stop here, but continuing on into the old growth forest will provide a chance for some solitude – this trail is almost never crowded – amid a beautiful backdrop.

10. Blue Basin at Sheep Rock

The Painted Hills, located in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in east-central Oregon, provide one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Oregon. But with hikes extending barely more than a half-mile, hikers should admire the hills then plunge deeper into the monument, heading east for Sheep Rock Unit.  There, the Blue Basin provides a landscape appropriately far removed from the lush green forests and clear blue streams of western Oregon. The 3.25 mile loop takes hikers on a steep climb through bluish green rock formations, past juniper trees and sagebrush. The lookout, 700 feet up, provides visitors the chance to look down at the many geological layers on display throughout the surrounding hills and mountains. The interpretive markers placed along the trail help make sense out of both the geology and fossils surrounding the area, painting a picture of a trip way back in time.

Blue Basin at Sheep Rock oregon
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