Oregon State Parks are crisscrossed with some of the best hiking trails on the Pacific Northwest. Famed for its abundant waterfalls, towering ancient forests, dramatic cliffs, remote beaches, oceanfront picnic areas, and vast viewpoints, Oregon’s state parks are top hiking destinations in North America.
Whether you want a short and sweet quarter-mile walk or a lengthy 384-mile marathon hike, Oregon has dozens of hiking trails. There are also ample opportunities to camp in many of the state parks, as well as partake in plenty of other outdoor activities.
You could easily spend your entire vacation in Oregon hiking a different trail every day for as long as you plan to stay! We give you the best trails in the Oregon State Parks.
Cape Lookout Trail In Cape Lookout State Park
Of all of the hiking trails in the northern region of Oregon, the Cape Lookout Trail has been widely recognized as one of the most picture-perfect day hikes. The trail passes through ancient Sitka spruce forests and along 400-foot cliffs that drop off into the wild Pacific Ocean. If you hike the trail in March, there is a good chance that you will spot migrating gray whales as they swim north from Mexico with their babies.
The Cape Lookout Trail runs through the Cape Lookout State Park, which also permits overnight camping. Between the miles of hiking, gorgeous beaches, and towering old-growth forest, who wouldn’t want to spend more than one day here!
Oregon Coast Trail In Fort Stevens State Park
The Oregon Coast Trail is a staggering 384-mile epic trail that hugs Oregon’s dreamy and dramatic coastline. The majority of this lengthy trail is on the beach, but some segments interlace with several state parks and public lands. The trailhead begins at the south jetty on the Columbia River in the Fort Stevens State Park and ends in the Crissey Field State Recreation Area, which borders California. An interrupted thru-hike takes about a month, but day-hikes and short multi-day hikes are more popular.
The months that receive the least amount of rain in the notoriously rainy state of Oregon are June, July, August, and September. While you can hike all or a portion of the trail at any time of the year, these months are the most recommended. The ocean views and coastal forests will definitely inspire you to keep hiking!
Humbug Mountain Trail In Humbug State Park
One amazing trail in Oregon State Parks is located in the Humbug Mountain State Park. This challenging 4.4-mile trail climbs up through the forest and straight out to the coast’s highest headland. Oftentimes heavy sea fog seeps through the trail making this walk in the woods all the more mystical.
Due to its geographical location in the Humbug Canyon, The Humbug Mountain Trail has its own micro-climate; typically warmer than the surrounding areas. Aside from hiking the trails, surfing, scuba diving, and beachcombing are three commonly enjoyed activities in this area. Salmon, trout, steelhead, smelt, sole, halibut, and cod are abundant in the waterways, so catching dinner is definitely an option too. Camping is also permitted within the park.
Trail of Ten Falls In Silver Falls State Park
If you are a waterfall chaser, The Trail of Ten Falls in the Silver Falls State Park is the ultimate looped hiking trail. As the name of the trail implies, this 7.9-mile hike takes you by ten mesmerizing waterfalls. The highest of the ten cascades is Double Falls, which is 179 feet tall! During the winter and spring months, numerous other waterfalls appear due to the high volume of rainfall that is common throughout the state of Oregon.
The entire hike takes a little less than four hours to complete. But this also depends on how long you stop to admire each waterfall. You should also start your walk early in the day. This is so you don’t feel rushed to complete this enchanted waterfall hike in the woods.
Tillamook Head Trail In Ecola State Park
In 1806, The Lewis and Clarke Expedition crossed the headland that now makes up the Tillamook Head Trail to buy blubber of a stranded whale from the Native Americans that occupied this area. Rising 1,000 feet out of the sea, the views from sections of this elevated hike are spectacular.
You can easily access this hike from the Tillamook Head Trailhead and end at either the Indian Beach Trailhead or the Ecola State Park Trailhead. This route is approximately 6.6 miles long and is really only busy on the weekends during the summer months.
Misery Ridge Loop Trail in Smith Rock State Park
Don’t let the name dissuade you! Misery Ridge Loop Trail is anything but a miserable hike, but it’s also no flat walk in the park. The Smith Rock State Park is renowned for its challenging rock-climbing areas. If you aren’t quite extreme enough to scale walls of rock, the Misery Ridge Loop Trail is probably all the climbing you will want to do. Except for a 1/10 of a mile flat spot on the trail, the rest of the hike is quite inclined. Switchbacks are the name of the game on this trail!
You can access this 3.8-mile looped trail at the Smith Rock Trailhead and end at the Monkey Face Viewpoint. There are phenomenal viewpoints all along this rocky walk, which makes the leg-burning totally worth it. A word of caution though. This area is prime rattlesnake territory, so always be mindful of where you step or sit.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor Hike
Samuel H. Boardman was the first Oregon State Parks superintendent and is this outstanding park’s namesake. Located between Brookings and Gold Beach, there are 18 miles of hiking trails within this scenic corridor. The park hugs the coastline and offers hikers several breathtaking viewpoints and points of interest.
There are all different approaches to enjoying this scenic area. You can either pick one trailhead and viewpoint to explore or hike the entire 18-miles and spend time marveling at each and every view and natural attraction.
The Natural Bridge is one of the best viewpoints in the entire park. There is also a memorial to Dr. Samuel Dicken, who was the first to envision the famous Oregon Coast Trail, at this stunning site. Whaleshead Beach is a sea-front picnic area that is easy to walk to and should not be missed. This is especially if you are planning on having your lunch in the park.
Cougar Valley Hike In Cougar Valley State Park
While this area was once thriving with cougars, big cat bounty hunters Cougar Bill and Cougar Maire basically traumatized the local cougar population by their relentless extermination of any that came across their homestead.
So, the likelihood now that you would encounter one on this hike is slim to none. In 2005 though, using lottery funds, Governor Kulongoski’s “one new state park a year” plan designated this area as a state park. Local residents protested the building of any park facilities, however; and now the Cougar Valley State Park is just a fully wild and natural park.
There are old roads that cut through this park and several bridges though. If you are searching for a genuinely off-the-beaten-path hiking trail in Oregon, this is it. There is a healthy population of elk in the Cougar Valley State Park, and blackberries and salmonberries galore. While many of the other trails in Oregon can get busy, especially during the summer, this one is practically deserted.
Cooper Ridge Nature Trail In South Beach State Park
The South Beach State Park has an amazing 3.3-mile trail that loops around the park. This lush looped trail is lined with flowers and fruiting bushes. In late May the rhododendrons are in full bloom, which makes this trail even more beautiful.
The trail takes you through sand dunes, pine, and spruce woods, grassy fields. Also, if you want, down to the beach. If you walk to the South Jetty, you are likely to see kiteboarders and a lot of sea birds. There are signs along the trail to help ensure that you don’t get lost.
Eel Lake Hike In William H. Tugman State Park
A popular hiking trail in Oregon State Parks is the Eel Lake Hike. Starting at the William H. Tugman Trailhead, this is a 6.6-mile walk through the woods and around Eel Lake. This relatively easy hike is perfect for those who want to spend their day strolling through nature. The lake is named after the Pacific lamprey, which is a primitive jawless fish that looks very similar to an eel.
Most of this trail is shaded by giant Douglas-fir, western red cedar, Sitka spruce, and western hemlock. Before this land was established as a state park, it was, unfortunately, logging land. So, don’t be shocked if you still see some clear-cut areas.
Nature is making a recovery here, though! The Eel Lake Hike offers hikers a pretty classic Oregon woodland scene. It gives an opportunity to observe a lot of different species of native vegetation. Also, there are restrooms and picnic areas in the day-use area and dogs are permitted on the trail as long as they are leashed.