The snow in the mountains is finally melting, temperatures are rising, and the days are getting longer. For many people, that means it’s time to get out the hiking boots! Oregon hiking trails are some of the most beautiful in the country, and spring is the perfect time to explore them. Whether you are a seasoned hiker who seeks out the most rugged trails, or a weekend warrior who wants to take in the scenery on a short trail, Oregon has a hike for you.
1. Cape Perpetua - A Coastal Jewel
Located on the coast in the Siuslaw National Forest, Cape Perpetua offers a stunning view of lava cliffs jutting out into the ocean. You’ll pass through wildflower meadows and spruce groves before you get to the coast to explore tide pools and watch blowholes erupt with sea spray. With 26 miles of trails at your disposal, you can tailor your hike or fill a few days. This family-friendly hike also includes a historic stone shelter that provides a sweeping view while you catch your breath.
2. Dalles Mountain Ranch - Bring on the Blooms
Although you can hike it year-round, the 6.9-mile loop trail at Dalles Mountain Ranch is best explored in springtime. Buttery yellow balsamroot and lavender lupine bloom in April and May create the perfect opportunity for a family photo. In addition to its impressive display of blossoms, the trail also offers sweeping views, a waterfall, and creeks for splashing around in.
3. Dog Mountain - Steep Terrain and Wildflowers
If you want to enjoy spring wildflowers but are looking for more of a challenge after hibernating all winter, consider the 6.9-mile trail at Dog Mountain. Although relatively short, this trail’s steep ascents allow you to get in a workout while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. If you want to take in the explosion of balsamroot without the rigorous hike, go just 1.5 miles to the lower viewpoint.
4. Multnomah-Wahkeena - Waterfalls and Fairy Bells
The popular 4.9-mile loop trail at Multnomah-Wahkeena is packed with waterfalls and cascades. After an ascent with rewarding views along the way, the trail levels out as you hike along a ridge before descending again. Keep an eye out for the delicate, white fairy bells that bloom along the path in spring. Bring your own picnic to enjoy at one of the many viewing platforms, or plan for a snack at the Multnomah Falls Lodge after your energizing hike.
Note: Several trails on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge are closed until further notice due to damage from the Eagle Creek Fire.
5. Opal Pool–Cedar Flats - Old Growth and Iridescence
The name of this 10.5-mile trail says it all. Hiking through an old-growth cedar forest along Opal Creek leads you to the beautiful turquoise waters of Opal Pool. Located in an area rich in mining history, the trail also includes artifacts along the way. An optional route through Jawbone Flats provides another opportunity for a history lesson at the outdoor museum. In spring, expect to see gushing waterfalls as the winter snow melts above.
6. Silver Star Mountain - Volcano Views
If peaks pique your interest, this 5.6-mile hike to the top of Silver Star Mountain will not disappoint. Just a quick drive from Portland, this trail boasts a 360-degree view of five volcanoes, including Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens. Wildflowers speckle the path in spring, and unique rock outcroppings can be seen all year long. Watch out for false summits! This climb includes a few of them.
7. Trail of Ten Falls - Count Them All
Located in Silver Falls State Park, the 8.7-mile Trail of Ten Falls is easy enough for families to enjoy and can even be shortened if you don’t want to make a full day of it. But, after seeing the first few falls, it’s hard to resist trying to see them all! Take a break and grab a snack at South Falls Lodge, or check out the swimming area after near the main entrance after your hike. Spring is the best time to go, as that is when the falls are their largest, but this popular trail is open year-round.
8. Wilson River Traverse - Choose Your Own Adventure
This 22.6-mile trail can be completed by adventurous hikers (plan on organizing a car shuttle or bike drop) or can be done in sections for those who want a more approachable hike. Following along the Wilson River corridor, this trail is rich with the possibility of wildlife sightings, including elk, deer, coyotes, bobcats, and the not-so-elusive fisherman! With five major sections to choose from, you can customize this hike for your skill level.
Looking for even more options for Oregon hiking trails? Check out the comprehensive list provided by Trailkeepers of Oregon.