1. Abiqua Falls | Scotts Mills, Oregon
If you’re looking for a place to escape, with no cell reception, a quick 2.5-mile hike, and formations that could only be made from mother nature herself, Abiqua Falls is the place for you.
A 92-foot fall, secluded and tucked away for only the adventurous. Pack a lunch, blanket, water, a book, a swimsuit (depending on the time of year) and a camera. You will not regret it.
Disclaimer: This is not an easy place to find, with virtually no road markers and an extremely rough terrain to drive over. I recommend a truck/car with 4-wheel drive. 100 percent worth it.
Also: Please do not start a fire. My sister and I stumbled upon this one already lit and simply enjoyed it for what it was. Never leave a human trace when exploring and admiring Oregon’s beauty.
2. Smith Rock | Terrebonne, Oregon
If you haven’t seen the movie Wild yet with Reese Witherspoon, then you probably have no idea that this breathtakingly beautiful hike is used in the background during a scene in the movie. It comes as no surprise to me, being my all-time second favorite hike in Oregon, located just 20 miles from Bend.
I recommend starting early and completing the Misery Ridge Loop Hike. This hike is not meant for the weak. If explored during the summer, pack plenty of water, and get a head start before the crowds come. Glorious views at the top, nothing short of a workout, with rewarding sights at the top. Many take their dogs and a partner to enjoy this journey with.
3. Silver Creek Falls | Silverton, Oregon
With 10 waterfalls and more than 24 miles of walking trails, this hike might just have it all. Located just outside of Salem, Oregon, this state park is the largest in Oregon. Welcoming all people from beginners to advanced hikers, the South falls is the most visited out of them all.
If you have the time, I highly recommend this hike for anyone ages 1-90. Chances are, if you go at a time where it’s not flooded with hikers, you may see deer, bats (at night) and spectacular waterfalls that you can enjoy all to yourself.
4. Angels Rest | Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Anywhere you may explore on the Gorge, I can promise you, will be a beautiful one. The Gorge is the hotspot for hikes bordering Washington and Oregon, ranging from the simplest of ones… to the tougher, mostly uphill challenges that will even leave the “strong and fit” out of breath.
I recently hiked Angels Rest for the first time last weekend with my sisters and even though it was fairly short (at around 5 miles in total, averaging about an hour and 20 up and back), it was harder than I had expected! It all depends on one’s pace, but I was in no mood to slowly stroll along — I wanted to reach the top and soak in the views.
I would check the forecast before embarking on this hike. The view gazes over the Columbia River Gorge, and to fully experience the sights. It’s best to go on a clear, sunny day. Although, for amazing photographs, some would argue that it’s more ideal to go on a day with clouds and rain to get stunning pictures of Oregon’s spectacular beauty.
There were a ton of people at the top this sunny weekend, so plan accordingly if you want more seclusion. Regardless, sitting at number 4 for my favorite spring hike!
5. Opal Creek | Lyons, Oregon
This magical hike, just off of North Fork Rd, is a one worth checking out. The water’s as blue and icy as New Zealand’s, and the air as crisp as Oregon trees and rivers constantly provide. This could easily be in my top 3 favorite hikes. There are simply too many amazing ones to correctly order!
This hike is in a remote location, so it is wise to plan accordingly with food, drinks and a compass/map if you plan on doing the entire 7 mile, since cell service will likely not help you in terms of GPS availability. It is $5 for a day pass and I suggest leaving early (as you should in most all hikes). The trail is very simple, not much elevation and has a lot of history with abandoned sheds, old mining equipment and waterfalls and creeks in between. Such a gratifying hike!
6. Butte Creek Falls | Scotts Mills, Oregon
Not far from Abiqua Falls, lies a super charming, easy trail with a waterfall at the top and another promised at the bottom with a spectacular view of the autumn leaves if you go just shortly before winter kidnaps the full bodied full trees. A simple trail in only 2 miles in all it’s glory. I hiked this one alone and found it to be very relaxing and passed only two hikers on my way there and back. Definitely recommend it for a short, fun, effortless hike for countless opportunities for beautiful shots.
7. Triple Falls, Horsetail falls, Oneonta & Ponytail Falls | Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington
I count these four as one since they are practically in the same trail if you continue on the Horsetail falls journey. It is an intermediate hike, can be as hard or easy as you want to depending on your stamina and pace. I chose this as my number 7 because it is located in the beautiful Gorge and is unlike anything I have experienced here in Oregon thus far.
8. Drift Creek Falls | Lincoln City, Oregon
With a 240-foot suspension bridge overlooking the falls, this short hike is definitely worth visiting. Just south of Lincoln City, this is a great, easy hike for all ages. At the very bottom of the hike, you can be feet away from the falls and feel the mist from the falls leave droplets on your face. Dog friendly and only 3 miles in duration, take advantage of a sunny day and bring a friend for this breezy one.
9. Mill Creek Falls | Prospect, Oregon
Found by accident, on a mission to see Crater Lake (failed because of the heavy snowfall), we found Mill Creek Falls along the Rogue river. Only about a half mile down from the trail, you will hear the falls and see thousands of trees and rocks surrounding a 173-foot waterfall in what seems to be the middle of nowhere.
Beautiful at nearly anytime of the year, close to the falls you will find an area with “giant boulders” and fresh blue rapids that will clear any mind from daily stressors. I plan on going back on my next mission to Crater Lake with a packed lunch and new tunes paired with a swimsuit and towel.
10. Spencer Butte | Eugene, Oregon
Last but not least, I have to mention my favorite college hike, Spencer Butte. The view is the tallest point visible from downtown Eugene. About 5 miles round trip, this one is easy to hike with friends, family or even alone. You can spend anywhere from an hour to 6, depending on your urgency. This hike brings back beautiful memories and offers a view of a flat, treeless, huge, lovely butte! And because I simply can’t resist, being in Eugene: Go Ducks!