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Oregon Hiking Trail Finder
This site provides organized access to informative Oregon hiking and backpacking websites. Private hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on hikes in Oregon -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.
Please note different format from other pages. For ease of research, we've divided Oregon into Cascades, Coast and Oregon Statewide hiking trails. As it works out, some sites belong here and there; they will be placed in Statewide.
- The Cascades This is the Cascades Volcano Observatory site, maintained by Lyn Topinka and the good people at the US Geological Survey. These folks are the spiritual heirs to the work of Mr. David Johnston, of Mt. St. Helens fame. Alright, this isn't about any trails exactly, but it's an indispensible site to bookmark if you hike the Cascades and want to be a little more knowledgeable about the area.
- Crater Lake National Park -- Cleetwood Cove Trail located on the north side of Crater Lake, is the only safe and legal access to the shore of Crater Lake. It is one mile (1.6 km) in length, one-way, and drops 700 feet (210 meters) as you descend from the East Rim Drive trailhead to the lakeshore.
- Crater Lake National Park basics, descriptions of trails, how-to-get-around info type stuff. Incredibly helpful site by John William Uhler.
- General -- Douglas County This is a punchlist of 28 hikes ranging from waterfall nature loops to hell-bent-for-leather climbs. Includes all the usual suspects; Bailey, Thielsen, and a bunch of 1/2 mile loops. Not a heck of a lot of specifics, but certainly a helpful intro page. From the "official" Douglas County .or.us site.
- Mt. Hood 1993 climb described from beginning at Timberline Lodge to ascent via Cooper Spur. Well done essay, definite click if you're eyeing Mt. Hood. Site by Bob Sumner.
- Pacific Crest Trail Fairly in depth PCT site by the author of Dances with Marmots, George Spearing. Helpful pack list; state-by-state narrative links at bottom of page. Fun, informative website.
- Mt. Scott -- Crater Lake National Park 8929 feet, the summit of Mt. Scott is allegedly the only spot you can fit the whole lake into a normal camera viewfinder. Easy hike; manned lookout at the summit. The west side is a glacier-carved cirque while the east side is a fairly uniform slope. This link goes to a very informative page on the OneDayHikes.com website.
- South Sister nice narrative and photos for this 5,000' gain, 11.5 mile RT non-technical climb. Site by Johann and Sandra; enjoyable reading, informative. Good click.
- Siskiyou National Forest Official USFS hiking trail index for Siskiyou; clickable links to 60 odd trails including Black Butte, Azalea...all the usual suspects. These links then provide directions and trail details. Good stuff, better than the usual USDA site.
- Alfred A. Loeb State Park Trail descriptions from oregontrails.com. Has the necessary details and an informative description.
- Clifford Kamph State Park Alright already! I understand that this is not technically in Oregon. But it's right over the border in California, and it's a cool spot, and I don't want you to get to the border and say, "whoops, this is California, we gotta turn around now!" just keep going and check it out.
- Coastal Trails Oregon coastal trails provided by the oregon-coastdirectory.com
- Ecola State Park -- Indian Beach Trail This 2 mile trail connects Cannon Beach with Indian Beach which gives you classic views of “Terrible Tilly”, the old lighthouse on Tillamook Rock. Dropping to the beach rewards hikers with the usual anemones, starfish, sand dollars, and other wonderful stuff that can easily consume your entire day. And what, I ask, could be more fun than that? Good article with some terrific photos on the NaturalBornHikers.com site.
- Harris Beach with trail reviews and insights. This is on the oregontrails.com website.
- Oregon Dunes site by GORP - Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area; general trail descriptions.
- Pistol River This is an overview of the trails in this area, by oregontrails.com. Provides some helpful insights for the hiker.
- Salamander Lake - Photos & notes from this popular destination in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area. On the oregontrails.com site. (We ought to just send you to that site and be done with it.)
- Samuel H. Boardman State Park Excellent overview of this State Park area by oregontrails.com
- Babyfoot Lake-Chetco River Loop "Kalmiopsis" terrain; trailhead near Grants Pass (sort of). Enjoyable narrative on this under-used, wild terrain. Tough to find your way around this region. Enjoyable narrative with photos on a site by William Chamberlain.
- Central Oregon -- General here's the "Central Oregon Amateur Guide to Hiking" by Gary and Marlys Johnson. The deal here is that Gary is battling prostate cancer, and in addition to the usual medical and dietary stuff -- plus an exemplary faith in Jesus Christ and prayer support -- he's doing a lot of hiking. So some of the good that's come out of this is that you and I now have a great resource for Central OR trail info, including Black Butte, Canyon Creek Meadows, Deschutes River Trail, Edison Sno-Park, Green Lakes, Lake Billy Chinook, Lava Lands, Lookout Mountain, Metolius River Trail, Salt Creek/Diamond Falls, Smith Rock, Suttle Lake, Tam McArthur Rim, Todd Lake, Tumalo Creek Trail, Tumalo Falls, Upper Three Creeks Sno-Park and Virgina Meissner Sno-Park as of this writing. Great narratives and photos, and a healthy dose of inspiration to get out and hit the trail!
- Columbia River Gorge -- Horsetail Falls brief but informative description and photos on the Natural Born Hikers website. This link sometimes acts screwy, I don't know why. If you wind up on a page about Baxter State Park in Maine, well, don't fret. Just scroll down about 2/3 of the way and you'll see a sizable subhead for Columbia River Gorge, and that's where this is. One of these days I'll figure this link out.
- Columbia River Gorge -- Multnomah Falls Area excellent personal site by Luke Danielson with plenty of "inside tips" to get the most out of this otherwise crowded and commercial locale. Root back to his main hiking site for other excellent Columbia River Gorge and other Oregon hiking trails.
- General -- Climbing Mazamas Climbing group, approximately 3,000 members, headquartered in Portland. Emphasis on Cascade climbs. Looks like a well-oiled machine; one of the oldest climbing groups in the USA. Even if you don't join, this is an informative site.
- General Site — MW Goff -- hiking journal for Oregon, Washington, California. Excellent photos on this site.
- General Site — oregontrails.com - Slackpacking & backpacking tips, photos, trail conditions, and journals. Trails are all in Oregon.
- General Site — Northwest Hiking Clickable map with over 100 trails. Excellent site.
- Oregon Caves hiking trails on the official NPS site. Really only describes the loop trails...Big Trees, Cliffside, etc.
- Portland Hikers This is a very impressive website, serves as sort of a clearinghouse of information for a number of regional hiking and outdoorsy clubs. Active message board, lists of scheduled events, hiking narratives, photos, you name it. Called PortlandHikers.com, it will put you in the know pretty darn quick. Good for all levels, from young families to hell-bent wilderness maniacs.
- John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Here's a page on the National Park Service site that lists just about all the trails found on the loop road. Maps are hand sketched, but I like them. Pretty good page for someone planning to do some short hikes at this site.
- Oregon Caves Big Trees and Cliffside trails from a "birders" point of view...interesting backgrounder to read prior to your visit, regardless of where you hike in Oregon. Sample excerpt from a book on the University of Texas website, once you land on this page you have to scroll down past the table of contents to find this.
- Portland Area -- Wildwood Trail Hike to Pittock Mansion, other highlights through Portland and environs. This is a very well done page on the "Coon Family hiking club" website. Good narrative & numerous photos.
- Smith Rock State Park Just north of Bend, Smith Rock is one of the premier rock climbing spots in the Pac NW; this page provides terrific insights for the non-climber looking for some awesome hiking...written by Luke Danielson. I gotta tell you, I made one visit to Smith Rock in my life...late June and the place was an inferno...must've been 100º. Could barely stand being out of my car. So I did what any good self-respecting slackpacker would do...I got back in my car. Anyway, check this page out. Smith Rock State Park is a little piece of Utah plunked down in Oregon. A "must visit" type place.
- Vulcan Peak Area Excellent photos and description of trail. By -- you guessed it -- oregontrails.com
Time for a Cool Change
Is there any place that fits the universal image of "seacoast" better than Oregon? If so, I haven't found it. North/Central is the ticky-tacky coast, with alternating beauty and spots that give Seaside Heights a run for its money. Devils Punchbowl, a little further south, has it all -- great beach, geological wonders, close encounters with sea lions. Further south, the coast is a dreamer's and explorer's paradise. It is not difficult to find your own secluded beach, surrounded by towering sea stacks, finished with a waterfall behind you.
Here's one semi-secret spot: Within Samuel Boardman State Park, look for a tiny unpaved road immediately north of the bridge on 101 between the Spruce Rock and Natural Bridge parking areas. If you approach from the north, you may dismiss it as a disused service road, while from the south you can see the pseudo parking lot with room for 5-6 cars. A trail leads down from the NW corner of this parking spot to "Miner's Beach." If the first tiny beach is taken, go around the rocks to the south to the next spot. Both mini-beaches are broken by waterfalls. Unbelievable, incredible.
With virtually limitless hiking opportunities, the Oregon Coast is a "must explore." The book the locals use is Henderson's
120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast, and I recommend you grab it before you go, and take it with you when you do.
Top Ten Western Lodges
Of the big ten outdoorsy, rustic wood-beam, massive fireplaces, soaring yet cozy lobbies, no phone/no tv get-away-from-it-all well-known lodges of the Western USA, no less than three are located in Oregon: The Chateau at Oregon Caves, Crater Lake Lodge, and Timberline Lodge. Of these three, the least-known, most underrated is the Chateau at Oregon Caves. That's a shame, because it is hands-down the best of the trio.
The Chateau is the smallest, it's the most "original" of the group, and at around $100/night double occupancy, it's a bargain. Take a book to the lobby any time day or night, and if you can't relax doing that, you never will. The hiking trails above the caves -- especially beyond the basic loops -- are fabulous, and fabulously deserted. You want to hang out poolside at some honky tonky Vegas monstrosity? You can have it. I'll take the Chateau at Oregon Caves as my all time favorite lodging anywhere, anytime.
A little-known "trick" for landing a room at Crater Lake Lodge, and possibly other Xanterra properties, is to show up at the front desk a little after 4:30 pm the day before you want to stay. Not always easy, but possible if you've got a few days booked nearby. Seems that the cancellation inventory for the next day becomes available at 4:30 and the personable staff at the desk is often able to slot a few people in. Meanwhile the Xanterra reservation line appears to have nothing available...strange, but I know firsthand that this works. As far as the other two are concerned, it appears that showing up at the front desk in the morning is the best way to snag a cancelled room. Although in the case of the Chateau, the people who answer the reservation phone are the same people at or near the front desk, so you can save yourself the nightmarish 20 mile ride by making a phone call.
Now, if you knew that Little River Band performed Cool Change referenced in the subhead above, give yourself four slackpacker trivia points.
-- Rick Bolger
Want to add YOUR Oregon hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "submit a site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.
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