Immerse yourself in the splendor of Oregon’s natural wonders as we unveil the 10 best hiking sites for day hikers. Discover hidden gems and embrace the beauty of the outdoors.
Oregon boasts a plethora of hiking sites suitable for both seasoned and novice hikers. It’s also an ideal destination for family outings, offering safe trails for children and younger family members, without the rugged terrains that pose risks elsewhere.
With an abundance of options, it’s challenging to single out one exceptional spot. Therefore, we’ve curated a list of the best day hiking sites in Oregon. Let’s explore each site briefly:
If you’re seeking a serene and peaceful coastal community in Oregon to relocate, look no further than Arch Cape. Situated on the northern coast of Clatsop County, between Cannon Beach and Manzanita, it offers a tranquil haven. (And if you recall, Cannon Beach is a Hollywood favorite for filming movie scenes!) Just like its famous counterpart, Arch Cape boasts picturesque coastal rocks rising from the shallow waters of the Pacific. In fact, Cannon Beach is a mere four miles north of Arch Cape, while the bustling port city of Astoria lies exactly 30 miles to the north.
This trail provides an excellent introduction to old-growth forests, featuring layers of cedar and fir. With the recent closure of the Arch Cape tunnel, even school children attending Cape Falcon School must trek the trail. It’s a moderate hike, suitable for individuals of all ages, including young children.
Bagby Hot Springs:
Midwinter or early spring, Bagby Hot Springs offers a delightful experience with log slab hot tubs. Visitors can enjoy various hot and cold springs, though clothing preferences vary. Those unaccustomed to public nudity can opt for alternative spots.
Ascend through wildflowers and huckleberries to reach Benson Lake. The trail provides informal paths leading to a serene toe-dipping spot, offering a glimpse to the left of the main trail.
Big Obsidian Flow:
For those fascinated by Oregon’s recent lava flow, the Big Obsidian Flow trail is a must-visit. Located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, it showcases the area’s volcanic history. Interpretative signs detail how Native Americans explored the region and utilized obsidian for tools and jewelry.
Starting from the town of Cannon Beach, this trail takes you southward to the sandy beach and the iconic Haystack Rock—a designated seabird nesting site.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area:
Another fantastic view of Haystack Rock awaits at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area in Pacific City. Alongside the Haystack lookout, visitors can explore tide pools, Nestucca Bay, and enjoy the surf.
Cape Lookout State Park:
Nestled amidst towering Sitka spruces—the tallest conifers in North America—Cape Lookout offers a chance to witness gray whales during their semiannual migrations from December to April.
Cape Perpetua Trails:
With ten trails to choose from, Cape Perpetua showcases rocky tide pools, coastal forests, geysers, and other captivating oceanic wonders.
Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area: Known for its stunning sea caves, offshore rock formations, and powerful waves, this site is a favorite among nature enthusiasts.
Drift Creek Falls:
Descend 340 feet along this trail and immerse yourself in the cascading beauty of Drift Creek Falls. The hike showcases an array of coastal forest species and features a remarkable suspension bridge leading down to the falls.
Remember, a day hike doesn’t necessarily entail a strenuous climb to a mountaintop. It simply means embarking on a moderate hike suitable for beginners and moderate hikers. We’ve provided you with several spots where you can introduce day hiking to younger family members and those seeking less challenging trails.