During the colder months when higher elevation hikes are covered in snow, I like to stay in shape by doing strenuous hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon Coast Range, and lower elevations near Mount Hood.
Oregon’s Coast Range is often overlooked by hikers, but the trails here are some of my favorites. I love the massive ferns that fill the forest understory, and the moss and lichens add to the rich green scenery.
The Columbia River Gorge is famous for its waterfalls, lush forests, and wildflowers – and a vast trail network for hikers to explore this diverse landscape.
This selected list of Southwest Washington hikes includes trails through old-growth forests, subalpine lakes, volcanic blast zones, and summits with panoramic views.
With nearly 1,000 miles of trails in the region, hikes in the Mount Hood area range from lower elevation rambles in temperate rain forest with waterfalls and streams, to high altitude trails with alpine meadows and rocky ridges.
The Pacific Northwest is known for having a plethora of waterfalls. These hikes – located within two hours of Portland – are best done in the winter through spring when the water levels are higher, although any time of year is a good time to hike to a waterfall.
The Painted Hills are located in northeastern Oregon’s John Day National Fossil Beds Monument, home to over 40 million years’ worth of fossils, providing vast insight into the Age of Mammals.
Smith Rock State Park is located in the high desert of Central Oregon. An internationally renowned location for rock climbing, the park also has plenty of trails for hikers who want to experience the majestic rock scenery.
Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama (12,000 ft.) exploded about 7,700 years ago, leaving a caldera that eventually filled in and formed the lake. These four hikes feature the best of the park’s unique scenery.