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Beginner Hikes

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

One of the most common questions on Oregon Hikers comes from people just beginning to hike. This is a list of beginner or "newbie" hikes recommended by Oregon Hikers members.


Hike Distance Elevation Change Season Drive Time
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Angel's Rest Hike 4.6 miles 1450 feet Year round 35 minute drive
One of the area's most popular hikes, this is a well-maintained trail from near river level to a 1600 foot, 270 degree viewpoint of the western portion of the Columbia River Gorge. Expect windy conditions on top, even when the weather below is calm.
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Bald Hill Loop Hike 3.1 miles 440 feet Year round 85 minute drive
Rural hike on the outskirts of Corvallis with wildflowers and views to the Coast Range
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Beacon Rock Hike 1.8 miles 680 feet Year round 60 minute drive
Historic trail created by a father and son team when this was private land. The trail has been improved and rebuilt, but the original dream of a trail to the top of the volcanic rock remains intact. Handrails make this trek safe for all but the tiniest children.
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Cape Disappointment Hike 2.9 miles 385 feet Year round 135 minute drive
Coast headland hike to gun batteries, an interpretive center, and a historic lighthouse
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Cape Falcon Hike 4.8 miles 160 feet Year round 105 minute drive
Hike out to a windswept headland in Oswald West State Park
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Catherine Creek Arch Loop Hike 2.0 miles 200 feet Year round 90 minute drive
The natural rock arch is worth the trip, but there's an historic cattle corral and collapsed cabin, as well. The real highlight of this hike is the wildflower display in early spring.
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Garfield Peak Hike 3.5 miles 1115 feet July-Oct 265 minute drive
Steep hike to get magnificent views over Crater Lake
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Hoffer Lakes Hike 2.5 miles 340 feet July-Oct 300 minute drive
Hike to a trio of lakes in the Elkhorn Range of the Blue Mountains
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Horsetail Falls Loop Hike 2.6 miles 610 feet Year round 45 minute drive
Low altitude loop with views of several waterfalls. You'll pass behind Ponytail Falls and cross a bridge over Middle Oneonta Falls. Consider side trips to Triple Falls and Lower Oneonta Falls.
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Indian Racetrack Hike 4.6 miles 760 feet June-Nov. 85 minute drive
Hike in the Indian Heaven Wilderness through huckleberry woods to an old tribal racetrack in a meadow
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Iron Mountain Hike 2.4 miles 650 feet June-Oct. 150 minute drive
Prime early summer wildflower hike above the South Santiam River
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Little Strawberry Lake Hike 6.5 miles 1395 feet June-Oct. 345 minute drive
Hike past Strawberry Lake and a waterfall to Little Strawberry Lake nestled under rugged crags
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Mirror Lake Hike 2.9 miles 780 feet Jun-Nov 90 minute drive
Family hike to a gorgeous lake with great views of Mount Hood
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Mountaineer Trail Loop Hike 2.7 miles 1065 feet Jul-Oct 90 minute drive
Summertime freeform, loose exploration of the trails between Timberline Lodge up to Silcox Hut. In winter, all of these trails disappear under feet of snow and people ski here.
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Pool of the Winds Hike 2.2 miles 700 feet Year round 60 minute drive
Hike to two waterfalls in Beacon Rock State Park
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Punchbowl Falls Hike 3.8 miles 500 feet Year round 45 minute drive
Punchbowl Fall is one of the most photographed locations in Oregon. There's a summer swimming hole just below the falls. The hike includes sections of trail blasted out of rock cliffs. Probably not the best for small children, dogs or people with severe height phobias.
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Scout Camp Trail Loop Hike 2.3 miles 700 feet Year round 210 minute drive
Steep hike down rimrock benches to the Deschutes River; hot in the summertime
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Soapstone Lake Loop Hike 3.2 miles 305 feet Year round 75 minute drive
Loop around an isolated lake in the Clatsop State Forest, Oregon Coast Range
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Upper McCord Creek Falls Hike 2.0 miles 400 feet Year round 45 minute drive
Easy trail through handrailed cliffs to Upper McCord Creek Falls. You'll have views of Elowah Falls from above, then a chance to take another trail to the base.
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Wahclella Falls Hike 2.0 miles 200 feet Year round 45 minute drive
You can reach out and touch the water in Munra Falls from a footbridge. Then, after a few stairs, you'll see the remains of a 1980s landslide, before coming to Wahclella Falls.
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Warrior Point Hike 7.0 miles 0 feet Year round 20 minute drive
Casual water-level stroll on a closed road or an open beach to a small lighthouse.
Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.