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Lava Canyon Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Water pools in upper lava Canyon (Steve Hart)
The Lava Canyon Bridge (Steve Hart)
Fall color (Steve Hart)


Hike Description

This is a great hike for geology and volcano buffs looking for an easy stroll.

From the trailhead head downhill through the forest on the paved trail. This section is particularly beautiful in the fall when the maples turn to blazing red. After a few switchbacks on pavement and boardwalks, you'll reach an improved lookout. The trail beyond here, is still a good hiking trail, but it's made of dirt and basalt. At the trail junction with the Lava Canyon Loop Trail, turn right and cross the bridge. The water here falls through several interlocked pools in random fashion. The trail follows the edge of the 2500 year old lava flow and then ducks into the trees for a bit.

Soon, you'll come to the Lava Canyon Suspension Bridge. This is one of the largest hiking bridges in the northwest. People with height phobias should probably turn back.

Once across the bridge turn left to return up the Lava Canyon Trail to the trailhead.

Side trip options

You may turn right after the suspension bridge to extend your hike and see several large waterfalls downstream. However, this section has many unprotected dropoffs and is not recommended for families with small kids or for anybody afraid of heights. This is probably better done from the lower end effort-wise - see Lava Canyon from Smith Creek Hike for details.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at the trailhead

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A


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.