Unforgettable Hikes to do in Oregon

Garrett Bolen, Staff Reporter

Though the leaves of deciduous trees are beginning to fall and mornings are becoming chillier by the day, there’s always a chance to get out and enjoy nature in Oregon. No matter what time of year, Oregon always has countless breathtaking and scenic hikes.

One of the best things about Oregon is its diverse climates. With this diversity in climates comes a diversity in hikes, creating a variety of incredible experiences to be had in this wonderful state.

The first hike is very unique and close to home, located in the Columbia Gorge: the Lower Oneonta Falls. Unlike most hikes, this hike involves wading through waist-high water to get to the destination. The hike begins just off of the Historic Columbia River Highway, right before the Oneonta Tunnel. After a short walk down some stairs, the path goes straight up Oneonta Creek, requiring hikers to wade in the creek at certain points. At times the water may be too high or too cold to hike in, so it is always advised to use good judgement. Upon reaching the end of the section of the creek, a tall waterfall awaits, so close in fact that hikers can swim in the punch bowl. It’s a bit chilly, but well worth it.

For a more dry and rocky hike, Smith Rock is always fun. Located in the High Desert near Terrebonne and Redmond, Smith Rock is a great mix of desert and vegetation. This being said, it can get quite hot in the summer, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperatures are much more mild in the fall. Parking costs $5 for the day, but there are lots of trails to go on. The trails are divided into two categories: easy and gradual, or harder and steeper. The later offers a view from around 3,000 feet in elevation and the potential to see rock climbers in action. With around 600,000 visitors a year, Smith Rock is truly a sight to behold.

As one of the most popular hikes in Oregon, Silver Falls is always a good alternative if either of those two hikes weren’t of any interest. The park is a little over an hour south of Portland, but is well worth the drive. It’s worth noting that pets are not allowed on every trail, but are allowed on specific ones. Like Smith Rock, parking is $5, but there are lots of trails to choose from. The most popular trail in Silver Falls is the Trail of Ten falls. Like the name suggests, the trail weaves through the dense forests of the park, passing ten stunning waterfalls on the way. At one point, the trail even goes behind one of them, allowing for great pictures. At 7.2 miles long, this hike isn’t for the faint of heart.

These are only a few of the vast number of hikes in Oregon, but they are worth checking out. Each offers a unique experience that is hard to find anywhere else.