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Five Great Scenic Hikes in Oregon
The Columbia Gorge is the highlight of nature destinations near Portland. Being so beautiful and so close to the city, it's a favorite destination of hikers in the Northwest. With anywhere in the Gorge it's best to go on a weekday or early in the morning, because it's getting so crowded. Stop by Multnomah Falls off I-84 for a look and a few photos, but be ready for crowds.
Eagle Creek is great however far you want to go. You can see Punchbowl falls in a couple of miles or you can go all the way to the Pacific Crest towards Mount Hood.
Just be careful as there's an exposed cliffside. In the winter it can get icy, but there's a cable to hang on to. Just stay focused and remember safety first!
With ten great waterfalls in a lush canyon, Silver Falls is one of the most scenic destinations in Oregon. The trails are easy and well-maintained, so it's great for family trips.
If you want easy short hikes, you can drive close to some of the falls, but if you want a great longer dayhike, try the Ten-Falls Loop hike, which takes you through all ten falls in 8 miles. The trail follows a canyon continually going uphill and downhill, but the grades aren't bad.
After your hike you can sip coffee and hot chocolate at the lodge by the fireside. Supreme comfort and cheer especially on a cold or rainy day. There's also a nature store, conference center, camping, cabins, bike trails, horse trails, swimming and fishing here.
As scenic and accessible as this is, get ready for crowds.
Smith Rock is a great scenic desert site in Central Oregon, near Bend. This is a great site for hikers, photographers and climbers. I like to say it's like a little Utah.
You can also camp overnight at the bivouac area, though it's just a tent site shared with rock-climbers. No fires either. But it's definitely a fun experience. Talk to the rock-climbers from all over the country as you eat in the communal cooking area. They like to party, but don't worry, they're great company and might just inspire you to climb yourself.
Three Sisters Wilderness
This is less well-known, but is popular among backpackers for its epic mountainous scenery. If you're looking for something more off-the-beaten-path, but not too rough this is the place to go. This is definitely one of my all-time favorites.
The Green Lakes Trail is a paradise hike. Walk by many streams and waterfalls, then after a few miles you get amazing views of South Sister and Broken Top Mountain. There's definitely elevation, but the grade isn't bad. With decent cell service in some parts near the trailhead you can send photos to your friends of your amazing trip.
Catch a snooze and lunch around Green Lake, and enjoy the peace and beauty of nature. You can take the same trail back, or loop back with the Soda Creek trail or do more backpacking on the Pacific Crest.
Though more hospitable than many places, be aware this is in the backcountry so no fancy bathrooms, and let someone know where you are. Follow the rules, leave your information in the permit forms at the trailhead and leave no trace.
Anyone in reasonably good shape can handle this one. Good for backpacking or a long dayhike. The drive through Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is reasonable and well kept. It's mountainous so watch for weather conditions for the road.
For more adventures tales and photos, check out my blog entry on the Three Sister Wilderness.
Okay, you don't really have to hike this, but if you visit Oregon, you should definitely see the coast. These beach towns are small with quaint bookstores, artsy shops and great restaurants.
Unfortunately the Ecola State Park viewing platform is now closed-down due to storm damage at the time of this writing. Check the website and call around to see what still might be accessible.
There are some hikes which you can take like the Cannon Beach Hike. For something more mountainous there's Saddle Mountain closeby.
Disclaimer: Remember, adventuring is more-or-less harmless, but does have its dangerous aspects, so be safe, and don't blame me or HubPages if you get hurt.
So if you're looking for hiking and scenery, you've come to the right place. Be sure and research and maybe call the rangers for current conditions as you plan your trip.
Enjoy your hiking!