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Central Oregon Hikes

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide


Bull of the Woods Wilderness

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Whetstone Mountain Area
Whetstone Mountain Hike Moderate 4.8 1360 See old growth conifers and then visit a former lookout site with expansive views
Silver King Lake via Whetstone Ridge Hike Moderate 10.2 2215 Ridge crest hike to a wilderness lake
Twin Lakes via Whetstone Ridge Hike Difficult 15.8 2595 Hike through old growth and along a high wilderness ridge, then drop to two pretty lakes

Bagby Area
Bagby Hot Springs Hike Easy 3.4 200 Popular trail to developed natural hot springs
Bagby to Silver King Lake Hike Difficult 15.2 2550 Hike up the Hot Springs Fork of the Collawash to a remote wilderness lake

Pansy Lake/Dickey Creek Area
Big Slide Lake Hike Moderate 12.0 1680 Hike through old growth and up a wilderness valley to a secluded lake
Bull of the Woods Lookout Hike Moderate 6.4 1250 Ridge hike that takes you directly to the Bull of the Woods Lookout
Lake Lenore Hike Difficult 13.6 3345 Hike along Bull of the Woods ridges with views, and then make a brushy descent to Lake Lenore
Pansy Lake Hike Easy 2.4 470 Family friendly hike to pretty wilderness lake
Bull of the Woods via Pansy Lake Loop Hike Moderate 7.5 2100 Loop hike taking in lakes, expansive views, old growth forest, and a fire lookout
Mother Lode Loop Hike Difficult 13.5 3650 Loop hike around the Mother Lode Basin using an abandoned trail

Elk Lake Creek Area
Elk Lake Creek Hike Easy 4.4 300 Great short hike featuring waterfalls in an old-growth forest
Battle Creek Shelter Hike Moderate 9.8 400 Challenging hike next to a stunning green stream
Elk Lake Hike Difficult 17.4 1300 Excellent backpacking trip through the Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area
Battle Creek from Elk Lake Hike Moderate 8.4 1100 Moderately graded trail through old growth forest to the site of a former shelter
Welcome Lakes Loop Hike Difficult 13.8 3440 Hike through a 2010 burn to do a loop taking in secluded lakes and a high ridge

Rhododendron Ridge Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Rho Ridge East Slope
Burnt Granite-Tarzan Springs Hike Moderate 8.3 2070 Take abandoned trails to a viewpoint and area of purported Bigfoot activity
Rho Creek Hike Moderate 8.8 2575 Little-known trail up shady Rho Creek past a large spring and the site of an old guard station

Rho Ridge Crest
Mount Lowe Hike Easy 3.0 665 Ridge hike to a viewpoint and old lookout site
Mount Lowe from Graham Pass Hike Moderate 6.8 1055 Wooded hike, with breaks for views and wildflowers, to the summit of Mt. Lowe
Hawk Mountain from Graham Pass Hike Moderate 10.5 2050 Hike a broad ridge to a great viewpoint of the central Cascades
Hawk Mountain Lookout Hike Easy 4.0 600 Hike to a restored lookout cabin with great views of Mt Jefferson
Rho Ridge Traverse Hike Difficult 12.4 2985 Little used trail along a ridge between the Collawash and Clackamas drainages

Rho Ridge West Slope
Round Lake Hike Easy 1.4 120 Short loop around a remote lake with walk-in campsites high above the East Fork Collawash

Olallie Lake Scenic Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Olallie Lake Area
Potato Butte Hike Moderate 7.2 1700 Pass several lakes on the way to a scenic viewpoint
Russ Lake Loop Hike Easy 2.8 225 Loop hike with spurs to see four lakes
Olallie Meadows-Olallie Lake Loop Hike Moderate 11.9 1895 Varied hike with lakes, old growth, meadows, and optional diversions
Olallie Butte Hike Moderate 7.6 2570 Hike many switchbacks up to the red cinder summit of Olallie Butte
Fish Lake-Si Lake Hike Moderate 5.8 805 Hike through old growth to secluded lakes
Olallie North Loop Hike Moderate 5.6 955 Scenic loop taking in many lakes
Olallie and Monon Lakes Loop Hike Moderate 7.5 150 Walk around two scenic lakes and gather huckleberries in late summer
Gibson Lake Loop Hike Moderate 6.5 680 Loop into the Warm Springs Reservation, taking in Gibson and Breitenbush Lakes

Breitenbush Cascades Area
Breitenbush Cascades Hike Easy 0.4 200 Incredible waterfall and great views of Mount Jefferson

North Santiam Drainage

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Shellburg Falls
August Mountain Loop Hike Moderate 5.0 540 An interesting hike to three waterfalls with a lot of varied scenery in between
Shellburg Falls Hike Easy 2.8 410 Flat hike to a waterfall resembling North Falls
Stasel Falls Hike Easy 3.2 370 Easy approach to the top of a serious waterfall

Mill City Area
North Santiam Loop Hike Easy 2.4 140 Riverside and old growth forest loop in a state park on the North Santiam River
Niagara Park Loop Hike Easy 1.0 105 Walk a strip of forest along the North Santiam to an historic dam site
Natural Arch Hike Easy 1.0 460 Quick steep hike down to a rock arch in the Santiam State Forest
Rocky Top Hike Easy 1.0 705 Steep hike to the site of a former lookout with expansive views

Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Little North Santiam Area
Little North Santiam Hike Moderate 9.0 1340 Rolling riverside hike along the enchanting Little North Santiam
Henline Falls Hike Easy 1.8 200 Short hike to a beautiful waterfall and abandoned mine shaft
Ogle Mountain Trail Hike Moderate 7.1 1845 Hike up Henline Creek to waterfalls and remote woodland on a little-used trail
Henline Mountain Hike Moderate 7.8 2955 Steep hike to an old lookout site with views and then farther to the true summit
Not Nasty Rock Hike Moderate 4.8 3200 Very steep hike to jagged prominence above the Little North Santiam valley
Whetstone Mountain-Battle Ax Creek Loop Hike Difficult 14.8 4350 A big loop that takes in much of interest in the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Area
Stony Creek Hike Moderate 6.8 1745 Leave the road to Jawbone Flats and hike up a miner's trail to a lovely creek
Jawbone Flats Hike Moderate 6.6 360 Hike a closed road above the Little North Santiam to a historic mining town
Opal Pool-Cedar Flats Hike Moderate 10.5 1240 Hike along the Little North Santiam to pristine Opal Creek and then to an ancient grove of cedars

Opal Lake Area
Opal Lake Hike Easy 0.8 400 Easy hike downhill to small secluded lake

Detroit Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Battle Ax/French Creek Ridge Area
Mount Beachie via French Creek Ridge Hike Moderate 8.2 2115 Ridge hike with views north and south and rock formations
Phantom Natural Bridge Hike Moderate 4.6 1540 Hike up and down along a ridge with views, past a small lake to a large rock arch
Mount Beachie via Byars Peak Hike Difficult 9.2 2085 Take rarely maintained ridge trails to reach several expansive viewpoints
Battle Ax Loop Hike Moderate 6.0 1765 Scenic loop to a rugged high point with views of the Cascades
Twin Lakes from Elk Lake Hike Difficult 15.6 3295 Hike along a remote ridge and drop to Twin Lakes; return via Battle Ax's summit
Mount Beachie Hike Moderate 5.6 1350 Hike past an old trailhead to a summit with views south and east
Battle Ax Creek Loop Hike Difficult 15.4 4855 Hike through the east half of the Opal Creek Wilderness and then back along high ridges

Breitenbush Hot Springs Area
South Breitenbush Gorge Hike Easy 6.2 740 Hike a National Recreation Trail to a narrow chasm among old growth trees
Devils Ridge Hike Moderate 6.9 2500 Steep hike to viewpoints over the peaks and drainages of the central Cascades

Detroit Area
Dome Rock-Tumble Lake Hike Difficult 14.0 4520 Hike to the top of Dome Rock for the views and then descend to quiet Tumble Lake
Tumble Lake Hike Moderate 4.0 1100 Drop down into a high valley where a waterfall tumbles out of a lake
Gold Butte Lookout Hike Easy 3.2 800 Short walk up to a rental lookout with great views
Stahlman Point Hike Moderate 4.2 1345 Forested trip to a former lookout site above Detroit Lake
Bachelor Mountain Hike Moderate 3.8 1100 Open traverse to a former lookout site gives spectacular views into Mt Jefferson Wilderness
Coffin Mountain Hike Moderate 3 1000 Hike through wildflower meadows to a summit with expansive views and a staffed fire lookout
Marion Lake Hike Moderate 6 800 Hike to a very popular lake with a view of Three Fingered Jack

Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Jefferson Park Area
Jefferson Park Ridge Hike Moderate 7.5 1385 Gorgeous hike to a spectacular viewpoint from an alpine ridge
Jefferson Park via Park Ridge Hike Moderate 11.2 2320 Hike over an alpine ridge to beautiful lake sprinkled Jefferson Park
Jefferson Park from South Breitenbush Trailhead‎ Hike Difficult 13.0 2900 Most difficult approach to Jefferson Park
Jefferson Park from Whitewater Trailhead‎ Hike Moderate 11.0 1800 Shorter and easier hike to lakes in Jefferson Park

West Side Trails
Marion Mountain Hike Moderate 9 1100 Hike to a former lookout site with sweeping views

Three Fingered Jack Area
Carl Lake Hike Moderate 10.0 1000 Gradual hike to a pretty lake in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness
Duffy Lake Hike Moderate 6.8 800 Hike to a swimmable lake with a view of Duffy Butte and Three Fingered Jack
Canyon Creek Meadows Loop Hike Moderate 7.5 1560 Hike to stunning alpine meadows and a close-up view of Three Fingered Jack
Wasco Lake Hike Moderate 5.2 390 Short hike to a wilderness lake with a partial view of Three Fingered Jack
Square Lake Hike Easy 4.6 560 Short, easy, kid friendly hike through burnt forest to a lake with a distant view of Three Fingered Jack
Lower Berley Lake Hike Moderate 7.6 763 Hike to a lake stocked with trout in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness
Santiam Lake Hike Moderate 10.2 800 Hike to a large lake with a view of Three Fingered Jack

Middle and South Santiam Drainages

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Middle Santiam Area
Crabtree Valley Hike Moderate 4.1 900 Hike down into a remote valley lake with massive old-growth conifers
Shedd Camp Shelter Hike Easy 1.2 370 Short hike to a forest shelter and magnificent swimming hole!
Donaca Lake via Chimney Peak Trail Hike Moderate 13.2 1880 Old growth hike to a secluded lake in the Middle Santiam Wilderness

South Santiam River
McDowell Creek Falls Loop Hike Easy 1.8 230 Loop hike to scenic waterfalls in a county park
Waterloo Loop Hike Easy 1.5 65 Riverside and forest loop on the South Santiam River
River Bend Loop Hike Easy 1.4 60 Loop walk on the South Santiam River at River Bend County Park
Old Cascadia Ranger Station Loop Hike Easy 0.6 35 Short interpretive loop at the site of a historic national forest ranger station
Cascadia State Park Hike Easy 2.6 485 Visit a waterfall and hike along the South Santiam River at an old mineral resort site
Rooster Rock Trail Hike Moderate 4.2 2205 Steep ascent to old volcanic plugs and a viewpoint in the Menagerie Wilderness
Rooster Rock via Trout Creek Trail Hike Moderate 6.6 2325 A mellow forested ascent to a series of rock spires in the Menagerie Wilderness
Santiam Wagon Road Hike Easy 5.0 300 Hike a historic wagon road to a waterfall and charming campground
House Rock Loop Hike Easy 1.1 185 Old-growth loop to a waterfall and the historic Santiam Wagon Road

Tombstone Pass Area
Iron Mountain Hike Moderate 1.6 650 Popular July hike to stunning wildflower meadows
Cone Peak Hike Moderate 4.8 820 Uphill hike to stunning wildflower meadows
Cone Peak-Iron Mountain Loop Hike Moderate 7.1 1740 Loop up to stunning wildflower meadows and return via an historic wagon road
Echo Basin Hike Easy 2.0 650 Short loop hike through old-growth Alaska yellow cedars to a cirque basin
Crescent Mountain Hike Difficult 9.3 2200 Difficult hike to wildflower meadows and viewpoint

McKenzie River/Santiam Pass/Metolius

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
McKenzie River
Clear Lake Loop Hike Moderate 5.3 280 Loop around pristine waters at the source of the McKenzie River
Sahalie and Koosah Falls Loop Hike Easy 2.6 380 Scenic loop on both sides of the McKenzie to view spectacular waterfalls
Tamolitch Pool Hike Easy 4.2 350 Hike to a beautiful clear pool where the McKenzie emerges from lava

Santiam Pass Summit Area
Sand Mountain Hike Easy 2.5 200 Hike up to a restored lookout and peer into a cinder cone crater

Metolius River Area
Head of Jack Creek Hike Easy 2.5 105 Level walk along a creek to gushing springs
West Metolius River Hike Easy 5.3 215 Lovely walk along a secluded stretch of the Metolius River
Wizard Falls Loop Hike Easy 6.2 300 Hike up river to a fish hatchery, then back down the other side
Middle Metolius River Hike Moderate 22.0 500 Hike down the river along old logging road, nice campsites
Lower Metolius River Hike Moderate 17.0 450 Hike up the Metolius from the reservoir, nice campsites
Black Butte Hike Moderate 4.0 1545 Hike up to a summit with spectacular views and a fire lookout tower

Three Sisters Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
South Fork McKenzie River
Castle Rock Hike Easy 2.5 630 Short hike to a former lookout site with views
Horsepasture Mountain Hike Moderate 3.0 945 Switchbacking hike to a meadowy summit with big views
East Fork Trail Hike Moderate 11.0 1700 Old-growth forest hike along the East Fork South Fork McKenzie River

McKenzie Pass Area
Linton Lake Hike Easy 3.0 250 Easy hike to a scenic lake
Belknap Crater Hike Moderate 6.8 1880 Cross a vast expanse of lava to visit the two small volcanoes that formed it
Three Sisters Loop Hike Difficult 48.1 5800 Circumnavigate the Three Sisters, a good alternative to hiking around Mount Hood

From Sisters
Camp Lake from Pole Creek Hike Difficult 14.2 2000 Fairly popular hike to spectacular alpine area between South and Middle Sisters
Camp Lake to Green Lakes Pass Add-on Hike Difficult 3.5 700 Off trail shortcut between Camp Lake and Green Lakes Pass
Tam McArthur Rim Hike Moderate 5 1200 Hike up to a plateau that offers stunning views of the surrounding Cascade peaks
Broken Top Loop Hike Difficult 20.3 2200 Nice alpine areas, good in combination with Three Sisters hike; requires some easy off-trail to complete loop

Cascade Lakes Highway
Broken Top East Cirque Hike Moderate 5.8 1385 Short hike in alpine country to a cirque lake and a magnificent viewpoint
Ray Atkeson Loop Hike Easy 2.6 165 Two short loops around a lava flow with stunning views across Sparks Lake
Green Lakes via Fall Creek Hike Moderate 8.4 1150 Climb to the beautiful Green Lakes area alongside a creek with stunning waterfalls
Sisters Mirror Lakes Loop Hike Moderate 8.6 765 Loop hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness that includes several lakes on the Cascade Divide
Horse Lake Loop Hike Moderate 8.9 625 Hike to a large scenic lake with partial mountain views

Middle Fork Willamette River

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Fall Creek Area
Little Cowhorn Mountain Hike Easy 2.0 500 Short hike up to an old fire lookout with great views

North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River
Chucksney Mountain Loop Hike Moderate 10.4 2030 Uncrowded loop hike to a mountain viewpoint
Constitution Grove Loop Hike Easy 0.4 50 Name plates on trees commemorate each of the signatories to the U.S. Constitution

Cottage Grove Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Lost Creek Ridge
Eagles Rest Hike Easy 4.6 1400 Hike to an old lookout site with views to the west
Mount June-Sawtooth Rock Hike Easy 5.0 1500 Enjoy views of the central Cascade peaks and wildflowers in early summer

Forest Road 17
Spirit Falls Hike Easy 0.6 130 A short hike to a small waterfall
Moon Falls Hike Easy 1.1 250 Hike to a 190-foot waterfall
Pinard Falls Hike Easy 1.2 230 Hike to another tall waterfall in the area

Forest Road 22
Trestle Creek Loop Hike Easy 3.7 1200 Visit two waterfalls on this pleasant loop near Brice Creek
Parker Falls Hike Easy 1.8 420 Large Douglas-fir shade the trail to two waterfalls

Willamette Pass Area

Hike Difficulty Distance Elevation Change Notes
Waldo Lake Area
South Waldo Shelter Hike Easy 3.3 35 Flat hike along the shores of a pristine lake to a three-sided shelter
Waldo Lake-Black Meadows Loop Hike Difficult 9.8 1280 Loop hike in the Waldo Lake Wilderness to old growth, lush meadows, and huckleberry patches
Island Lakes Hike Moderate 10.2 1330 Hike from Waldo Lake through wilderness to two secluded lakes
Bobby Lake Hike Easy 4.2 275 Gentle hike to a very swimmable mountain lake
The Twins Hike Moderate 6.7 1910 Hike to the twin summits of a cinder cone with views up and down the Cascades

Willamette Pass Area
Fuji Mountain Hike Moderate 3.1 965 Short hike (but longer drive) to a view-loaded summit
Salt Creek Falls Hike Easy 1.0 335 Short trails to different viewpoints of Oregon's 3rd tallest single-plunge waterfall
Diamond Creek Falls Loop Hike Easy 3.7 450 Loop taking in a deep gorge, rushing creeks, and two very different but spectacular waterfalls

Diamond Peak Wilderness
Vivian Lake Hike Moderate 8.3 1735 See three waterfalls and hike up Fall Creek to a serene lake with a view of Mt. Yoran
Divide Lake Hike Moderate 8.0 1200 Hike to lakes beneath Mt. Yoran and into alpine uplands

See more Central Oregon hikes and destinations in our Central Oregon index

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