Great Oregon Hikes!
Oregon stole my heart upon arrival….I moved there in 2011 and haven’t looked back since. One of the reasons I fell so hard for Oregon was because of all the amazing opportunities to get outside. And there are SO many great Oregon hikes! From Mt. Hood to Bend, Oregon, to Forest Park in Portland, all the way to the rugged, pristine Oregon coastline ~ Oregon is a staggeringly beautiful state with sooo many opportunities for great hiking!
And that’s what this page is all about: it’s meant to give you loads of ideas for your next Oregon adventure ~ whether you’re a resident or just visiting. You’ll get overviews of tons of great Oregon hikes, with links to maps, directions, mileage, etc. Though there are literally hundreds of great Oregon hikes ~ here, we’re talking the best of the best: the great, must-do hikes Oregon has to offer.
Meet Your Oregon Hiking Guides!
Noelle & Dylan!
Dylan and I will be your guides for these great Oregon hikes ~ because frankly, we’ve done most of them together! Oregon is THE best place to hike with your dog. People & parks are generally very dog-friendly in Oregon. Translation: there are lots of Oregon trails where you can walk your dog off-leash. And nowhere is this more true than at the Oregon coast: you can drive your car on the beach ~ AND your dog can frolic in the sand and the surf without the constraint of that pesky collar and leash! I love arriving at the Oregon Coast, parking steps from the sand, and letting Dylan run down to the beach, tail wagging fiercely.
Your other guide for great Oregon hikes is my personal reference for hikes in the area, “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland.” I bought this book when I first arrived in Portland ~ and I’m so glad I did. It’s now dog-eared, highlighted, and filled with notes. If you live in Portland and love to hike ~ pick it up!
Map of Columbia Gorge Hikes!
Punchbowl Falls/Eagle Creek
Eagle Creek to High Bridge
Hikes in Columbia Gorge
All hikes listed below are located in the Columbia River Gorge, & are listed in alphabetical order. Some are on the Oregon side, some in Washington. Nearly all boast incredible Gorge views, & ALL are less than 60 miles from downtown Portland. These are some of the quintessential, great Oregon hikes.
1. Angel’s Rest Hike – One of the most popular hikes in Portland, Angel’s Rest provides a great lookout with a fairly gentle incline, making it accessible to pretty much everyone ~ including kids & dogs. If you have friends coming to town, of pretty much any fitness level, this is the hike to take them on. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, near Multnomah Falls. Starting Point: Angel’s Rest Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 28 miles. Parking Lot: Yes. Trail Length: 4.8 miles, out-and-back. Incline: Gentle to moderate, some rocks towards top. All seasons: Yes (but be careful in winter, trail slippery). Crowded: Yes. Directions to Angel’s Rest & More Info: click here.
2. Cape Horn Hike – Located on the Washington side of the Gorge, yet relatively close to Portland, Cape Horn isn’t as popular as Angel’s Rest ~ simply because less people know about it. Which makes it a great place to hike now! You’ll get spectacular views of the Gorge, & trail runners will get a good challenge with some decent inclines. Pleasant trail with lots of variation, including some peaceful meadows. Kid & dog-friendly. Starting Point: Cape Horn Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 33 miles. Parking Lot: Yes. Trail Length: 7.1 mile loop. Incline: Moderate. Crowded: Moderate. All seasons: Yes, but lower loop closed Feb. 1st – July 15th. Directions to Cape Horn & More Info: click here.
3. Dog Mountain Hike – This is one of my absolute favorite hikes in all of Oregon. It’s steep, challenging, & will have you huffing & puffing ~ but if it’s April, May or June, when all the wildflowers are blooming: you simply MUST go. It is THE best hike of the Oregon spring. You’ll have sweeping, epic views of the Gorge once you’re about 3/4 of the way up, & then you’ll be thankful for all the huffing & puffing. Bring a windbreaker though ~ it’s always windy at the top! Located in the Columbia River Gorge, on Washington side near Stevenson, WA. Starting Point: Dog Mountain Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 55 miles. Parking Lot: Yes, dirt lot on side of highway, often full. Trail Length: 6.9+ mile loop (3 different routes). Incline: STEEP. All seasons: Yes. Crowded: Yes, especially in spring. Directions to Dog Mountain & More Info: click here.
4. Eagle Creek to High Bridge Hike – This hike starts by taking you past the popular Punchbowl Falls (see further description below), ending at High Bridge. But don’t think Eagle Creek ends there! If you want, you could keep climbing up to Tunnel Falls, or in a mere 13 miles from the trailhead ~ you’d hit the Pacific Crest Trail. Options are endless at Eagle Creek, & all will offer you waterfalls & plenty of opportunities to swim & wander through pristine Pacific Northwest forest. The payoff at High Bridge is just that: a really high bridge over Eagle Creek. If you’re afraid of heights, you may want to skip this one. Similarly, use caution bringing kids & dogs on this hike: you’ve got some steep drop-offs & narrow ledges. Starting Point: Eagle Creek Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 41 miles. Parking Lot: Yes. Be careful of break-ins. Trail Length: 6.4 miles, out-and-back. Incline: Easy to moderate. All seasons: Yes. Crowded: Yes, especially in summer & lower half of trail. Directions to Eagle Creek & More Info: click here.
5. Horsetail Falls Loop – The payoff is right at the beginning of the hike ~ literally on the side of the road! The beautiful & insanely Instagram-mable Horsetail Falls is nestled right next to the Old Columbia Highway. Which means, if you’re a lazy hiker: this one’s for you! The loop itself is also quite easy, with views of 3 waterfalls & Oneonta Gorge. Very kid & pet-friendly, though it does get crowded. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, next to Oneonta Gorge. Starting Point: Horsetail Falls Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 36 miles. Parking Lot: Yes, beside the waterfall. Trail Length: 2.6 mile loop. Incline: Gentle. All seasons: Yes, not during winter storms. Crowded: Yes. Directions to Horsetail Falls & More Info: click here.
6. Larch Mountain Hike – Serious hikers only on this one. Why? Because you’ve got over 4,000 feet to climb! Starting out at Multnomah Falls Lodge with loads of people, you’ll end up virtually by yourself in the forest & traversing volcanic ash. And the payoff (at Sherrard Point, pictured) is one of the best in Portland: on a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mt. Defiance, Table Mountain, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, as well as Mt. Hood & Mt. Jefferson. Quite a payoff. Only very active kids & dogs for this hike, otherwise you’ll hear lots of complaining! Located in the Gorge, near Multnomah Falls. Starting Point: Multnomah Falls Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 30 miles. Parking Lot: Yes. Trail Length: 14.4 miles round-trip, out-and-back (less enthusiastic hikers can leave a car at the top & save the hike down, if you bring two cars). Incline: Difficult, steep. Seasons: April-November. Crowded: At Multnomah Falls, yes. Past that, no.
7. Mosier Tunnels Hike – I love this walk. If you’re headed to Hood River ~ give this trail a try. It’s perfect for bikers, walkers, kids, dogs, & anyone training for a marathon: this is a nice, wide, paved path with a very slight incline (great for training) that winds along the Columbia River for some seriously stunning views. The wide berth & lack of cars makes it a great place to walk dogs off-leash (start with them on leash at trailhead). And the payoff are the magnificent Mosier Tunnels, set against a Gorge backdrop. Stunning. Located in the Gorge, just past Hood River, before Mosier. Starting Point: Mark Hatfield West Trailhead (or try “Historic Columbia River Hwy State Trail”). Distance from Portland: 65 miles. Parking Lot: Yes, with $5 fee. Trail Length: 8.5 miles round-trip, out-and-back, on paved road. Incline: Gentle to moderate incline. Seasons: Yes. Crowded: Moderate. Directions to Mosier Tunnels & More Info: click here.
8. Multnomah Falls – Multnomah Falls is one of Oregon’s most iconic images, & its tallest waterfall. It also features the iconic Benson Bridge (pictured, at right). And you don’t even have to hike to see the falls ~ they are visible right off the main highway. Though this is undoubtedly one of the great Oregon hikes, it isn’t one of my favorites: it gets very wet, can be a steep, slippery descent, & mainly, it’s just too damn crowded. However, if you’re an Oregonian: you should probably do it at least once. And it will likely be a hit with out-of-town guests. Hike is kid-friendly, but as for dogs, I’d leave them behind on this one unless you & your pooch don’t mind big crowds (& there’s NO chance of having your dog off-leash here ~ too many tourists). Located in the Gorge, next to Multnomah Falls Lodge. Starting Point: Multnomah Falls Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 30 miles. Parking Lot: Yes, large one. Trail Length: 2.4 miles. Incline: Moderate, steep in parts. All seasons: Yes. Crowded: Yes, very. Directions to Multnomah Falls & More Info: click here.
9. Oneonta Gorge – On a hot summer day, this is where you’ll want to be. The problem is: so will everyone else in Portland! Calling Oneonta a “hike” isn’t really accurate ~ you’re not actually gaining any elevation here. What you’re doing is climbing over logs, wading waist-deep through cold water, & getting seriously WET ~ which is why you want to go on a hot day, otherwise you’ll be freezing. The payoff is a gorgeous waterfall at the end of the hike. Unless your kids & dogs are SUPER adventurous & know how to swim: leave them at home. We tried to take my (cautious) dog on this hike, but he was terrified & had to stay in the car. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, next to Horsetail Falls. Starting Point: Oneonta Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 32 miles. Parking Lot: Yes, but most likely you’ll need to park on side of the road. Trail Length: 1.0 mile, treading in water out-and-back. Incline: None. All seasons: No, summer only. Crowded: Yes, in summer. Directions to Oneonta Gorge & More Info: click here.
10. Punchbowl Falls via Eagle Creek – Like Oneonta Gorge, Punchbowl Falls is meant for hot, summer days. And it will be accordingly crowded! You start this hike at the Eagle Creek Trailhead (which leads to numerous hiking options ~ including the famous Pacific Crest Trail). It’s a relatively easy hike, but the problem for kids & dogs here are some steep drop-offs & a few narrow ledges that require the use of cables. I brought Dylan on this hike & he was fine ~ but use caution when deciding to bring dogs or small children on this one. The payoff here is swimming in the cool waters surrounding Punchbowl Falls, which make this a great hike to do with friends! Located in the Gorge, past North Bonneville, but before Cascade Locks. Starting Point: Eagle Creek Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 41 miles. Parking Lot: Yes. Be careful of car break-ins here (hide or bring all valuables with you). Trail Length: 3.8 miles, out-and-back. Incline: Easy to moderate. All seasons: Yes. Crowded: Yes, especially in summer. Directions to Punchbowl Falls & Other Eagle Creek hikes: click here.
11. Triple Falls – The name gives it away: the payoff here is not one, not two ~ but three waterfalls; hence, Triple Falls. The trail isn’t too long, & varies between steep & flat, but take care with kids & dogs as there are some steep drop-offs, slippery rocks, & loose gravel. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, next to Oneonta Gorge & Horsetail Falls. Starting Point: Oneonta Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 32 miles. Parking Lot: Yes, or park along the highway. Trail Length: 3.2 miles, out-and-back. Incline: Variable. All seasons: Yes, but take extra care during winter. Crowded: Moderate.
12. Wahkeena Falls – Wahkeena Falls is a great beginner trail, as it’s quite short with a moderate incline, & a good, paved path for much of it. And there are lots of payoffs along the way (frequent rewards = good for beginner hikers!) like great Gorge views, pleasant streams, & of course, the lovely Wahkeena Falls. All these things make this hike a great option kids & dogs. Located in the Gorge, right next to Multnomah Falls. Starting Point: Wahkeena Trailhead. Distance from Portland: 30 miles. Parking Lot: Yes, or optionally you could park at Multnomah Falls. Trail Length: 1.4 miles, out-and-back. Incline: Steep in the beginning, then moderate. All seasons: Yes, but trail can get very icy during winter. Crowded: Yes.
Great Oregon Hikes!
No matter which of these Gorge hikes you choose ~ you really can’t go wrong! These are some of the great Oregon hikes. Whichever one you choose, you’ll get gorgeous, Pacific Northwest scenery that Oregon (and Washington) are famous for the world over. Imagine living in a desert landscape (like I did before I moved to Portland): these lush, green forests & sweeping views are something out of a dream. Enjoy them!