16 Best Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is located in the northwestern region of the United States and includes Oregon, Washington, and part of Idaho. It’s famous for its gorgeous coastline, verdant expanses, wet climate, and breathtaking mountains. The best hikes in the Pacific Northwest are big enough to be adventures but small enough to fit within a week-long vacation.

Your next great hiking experience is just around the corner. That’s why it pays to know what you’re getting into before you set off on your backcountry trek or coastal walkabout. Here are 16 of the best Pacific Northwest hikes for every type of hiker, from the leisurely day-hiker to the experienced backpacker.

We hope this list inspires you to start planning your next outdoor adventure!

1. Multnomah Falls – Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 2.4 miles
  • Estimated Time: 1.5-2 hours

This popular trail is located near Bridal Veil, Colorado. It’s a wonderful trek for bird enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys exploring the outdoors.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s tallest waterfall, is an amazing sight near Portland, at 620 feet. You’ll climb a steep slope to reach the top of the falls.

After the entrance, you’ll reach a bridge that extends across in front of the fall. It is just a few minutes’ climbing beyond the start. The final stage is to the peak, where there is a small platform viewpoint with great views.

Multnomah Falls Lodge sits at the base of the waterfall and features a gift shop and visitor center.

2.  Trail of Ten Falls – Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 7.4 miles
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours

 

Trail of Ten Falls is a well-known loop trail with a waterfall that is located near Mehama, Oregon. The magnificent beauty of Silver Falls State Park, which is about an hour and a half from Salem, makes it a must-see spot.

This trek is a combination of the Rim Trail and the Canyon Trail. Along the route, you’ll come across ten sparkling waterfalls, four of which you can walk behind.

The trail can be completed from either direction. You don’t gain much elevation, so it’s enjoyable for the whole family. This well-kept hike has benches for resting and multiple side trails.

3. Skyline Trail Loop – Mount Ranier National Park, Washington

 

  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Length: 6.2 miles
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours

 

This popular loop trail features a waterfall and is located near Paradise Inn, Washington. This loop has something for everyone, from lush scenery to glacier vistas and rivers, waterfalls, and panoramic views of the surrounding region.

The trail can be hiked in either direction. There are several branching trails to explore.

If you choose to trek the full Skyline Trail, you’ll be able to see Sluiskin Falls and eventually Myrtle Falls’ awe-inspiring views.

4. Rattlesnake Ledge – Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area, Washington

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 5.3 miles
  • Estimated Time: 3.5 hours

 

This popular out and back trail features a lake and spectacular panoramic views atop Rattlesnake Ridge. Because the trek is near Seattle, the region can become packed with visitors, so arrive early to beat the crowds.

Heading up the trail to the Lower Ledge, you’ll enjoy incredible views of Mount Washington and Mount Si.

From the Rattlesnake Ridge parking area, there are many connecting trails to discover.

5. Ramona Falls – Mount Hood Wilderness, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 7.1 miles
  • Estimated Time: 3.5-4 hours

 

This gorgeous hike is located near Rhododendron, Oregon, and includes a breathtaking waterfall.

Ramona Falls is located about an hour and a half from Portland, Oregon, and is one of the most stunning views in the Mount Hood Wilderness.

This trek is popular for a reason. You’ll enjoy spectacular vistas, travel across rivers, and see the falls without too much trouble.

The most difficult aspect of the journey is the river crossing at the start. Call ahead to make sure the river is accessible.

6. Latourell Falls – Guy W. Talbot State Park, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3.0 miles
  • Estimated Time: 2 hours

 

This popular loop trail is located near Corbett, Oregon, and features a stunning waterfall.

The majority of the climb is at the start of the trek. You’ll need sturdy footwear because portions of it may get slippery and muddy.

Latourell Falls is the third tallest waterfall in the Columbia Gorge. You’ll have a lovely view of the gorge from this location.

Overall, the trail is shaded and smooth, with a few rocky portions. The climb isn’t particularly difficult for most people. The lower falls are considerably more crowded than the upper ones.

7. Snow Lake – Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 6.7 miles
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours

 

This popular out and back trail is located near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. The best time to hike the trail is between July and October.

This rough and rocky trail is worth the climb. The view of Snow Lake and Chair Peak is magnificent.

Some hikers pack a lunch and eat on the shores of Snow Lake for a lasting experience.

8. Lake 22 – Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 6.8 miles
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours

 

This busy loop trail is located near Granite Falls, Washington, and features a waterfall.

The 6.8-mile Lake Twenty-Two Trail is a lovely trek through ancient-growth woods to an alpine lake with panoramic mountain views of Mount Pilchuck.

You will come to a bridge that spans the creek and features an enchanting waterfall. The path becomes more challenging with bigger rocks and a few creek crossings.

After a short hike, you’ll come to the lovely turquoise lake. A path leads around it for even more spectacular vistas.

Due to the stream crossings, hikers should bring waterproof boots.

 

9. Tamanawas Falls – Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3.4 miles
  • Estimated Time: 2-4 hours

 

This out and back trail is located near    Parkdale, Oregon. This hidden gem is encircled by Douglas fir trees and has a lovely waterfall.

The trek will take you through some of the most enchanted woods, with lush foliage, river sounds, and views.

Prepare to scale some huge rocks to get to the waterfall. When they’re wet, these boulders can become very slick, so keep that in mind. Hiking boots with a good grip are recommended.

Once you’ve come to the falls, you may relax and take in the scenery while eating a simple picnic lunch.

10. Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene – Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

 

  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Length: 7.6 miles
  • Estimated Time: 5 hours

 

This challenging out and back trail is located near Gold Bar, Washington.

Lake Serene is a lovely alpine lake hidden in the Cascade Range. The Mount Baker Snoqualmie Forest is home to the popular Lake Serene Trail, which is a well-known adventure trek.

You will hike up to Bridal Veil Falls and return to the Serene Lake Trail. On your journey to the lake, you’ll encounter a great climb with a series of steps, jagged paths, and switchbacks.

The trail includes steep grades and stunning views of the clear, blue water.

From the lake, you may also cross a log bridge to a huge rock called ‘Lunch Rock.’ Here, hikers can enjoy some rest and relaxation before heading back.

11. Angel’s Rest – Shepperd’s Dell State Natural Area, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 4.5 miles
  • Estimated Time: 3 hours

 

This popular out and back trail is located near Corbett, Oregon.

Angel’s Rest is a spectacular destination for hikers looking for a moderate trip with gorgeous views of the Columbia River Gorge and Portland.

The journey begins in a thick forest followed by rocky dirt trails. There are a few small waterfalls to see along the route, as well as a charming bridge that crosses a tiny creek.

Summer is the best time to come and enjoy the clear views of Mount Baker and Mount St. Helens.

12. Wallace Falls via Woody Trail – Wallace Falls State Park, Washington

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 5 miles
  • Estimated Time: 3 hours

 

This heavily traveled out and back trail features a stunning waterfall. The Woody Trail follows the Wallace River through picturesque lush beauty, with a number of beautiful stops along the way.

Middle Falls has some of the best views, so if you’re short on time or feeling tired, this is a good place to turn around.

If you choose to continue your journey to the Upper Falls, expect a steep climb. Once you’ve had your fill of the breathtaking views, you can begin your descent back down.

This is a well-traveled hike, so arrive early.

13. Garfield Peak – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3.4 miles
  • Estimated Time: 2-2.5 hours

 

This popular out and back trail is located near Crater Lake, Oregon. A half-mile into the journey takes you to stunning views of Crater Lake, America’s deepest lake. As you go higher, the lake water gets bluer!

Atop the 8,060-foot peak, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the entire lake as well as islands and mountains beyond the crater.

As one of the most popular hiking trails in Crater Lake National Park, you’ll be close to Crater Lake Lodge, Rim Village, and Applegate Peak.

To the north and south, the Klamath Basin and southern Cascade features offer breathtaking panoramic vistas of the entire lake and other high cascades features.

You will experience breathtaking views of the lake, Wizard Island, Phantom Ship, Mount Mazama, and the surrounding area from this lofty summit south of Crater Lake. There is a straightforward route to the top but you’ll encounter a steep climb along the way.

14. Mount Si – Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area – Washington

 

  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Length: 7.5 miles
  • Estimated Time: 5.5-6 hours

 

This busy out and back trail is located near North Bend, Washington. As one of the most popular trails in Washington state, it’s best to arrive early to start your adventure.

The climb is mostly uphill, with only a few short flat spots to take a breather. For the most part, you’ll be hidden in the dense forest until roughly 3.5 miles into the trek, when you finally emerge from the trees and enjoy your first views.

After you’ve climbed to the top, you can return down or scale Mount Si’s Haystack, a jagged outcropping leading to the peak. This scramble to the top is only recommended for experienced climbers however because it’s been the site of several injuries.

Trekking poles and traction aids are a must if you intend to go out when the trail is covered in snow. If you are into hiking in the Pacific Northwest, be sure to add this one to your list!

15. Drift Creek Falls #1378 – Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 3.2 miles
  • Estimated Time: 2 hours

 

This one-of-a-kind out and back trail is relatively easy and great for families. Located near Lincoln City, Oregon, it features a giant suspension bridge and excellent views of the lush Coast Range forest.

The return portion of the journey has an elevation gain, but nothing too difficult. The trail is wide and even making the climb quite doable. Plus, most of the trek is shady.

Many hikers comment that driving the winding one-lane road leading up to the trail is the most harrowing part of the journey!

16. Misery Ridge and River – Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

 

  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Length: 3.5 miles
  • Estimated Time: 2-3 hours

 

This challenging loop trail is the most popular in Smith Rock State Park. In one trip, you’ll encounter a difficult ascent, ridge views, and a pleasant walk along the Crooked River.

The climb is difficult and will challenge even the most experienced hiker. There are steps and steep drop-offs on the route, so it’s not suitable for children.

You’ll discover a large space to capture photos and relax once you reach the top. Further on, you’ll see Monkey Face, a unique rock pillar that rises hundreds of feet into the air. Many hikers recommend hiking poles for this trail.

Although it is possible to travel the entire route in either direction, many hikers choose to start their journey counter-clockwise so they can get the major climb out of the way first.

Hope you enjoyed this list of some of the best hikes in the Pacific Northwest to start your next adventure! These trails are perfect for hikers who want an exciting and challenging journey that will leave them feeling exhilarated. From the enchanted forests to the sparkling waterfalls, these hikes have it all.

Spending time in the great outdoors with friends and/or family is always an adventure, so check out these hikes to discover yours! Which one of these hikes is going on your bucket list?

 

Keywords: best hikes in the Pacific Northwest, hiking in the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Northwest hikes

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