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11 of the Best Hikes Under 5 Miles in Oregon + Southwest Washington, Mapped

  |  Central Oregon, Neighborhood Insight, Portland, Southwest Washington, Travel

It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest has some of the best hiking options in the country. We have a diverse variety of ecosystems, geography and scenery, from snow-capped mountains to dense forests, and wide-open plains to the sparkling Pacific Ocean coastline.

Take advantage of the unparalleled natural beauty of the region with a manageable yet rewarding hike. These short hikes under 5 miles in length are approachable and accessible with an easy drive, whether you live in the Portland area, Southwest Washington or in Central Oregon.

 

Balfour-Klickitat Loop

Lyle, Washington | 0.7 Miles

Balfour-Klickitat Loop Washington

Photo Courtesy of John Sparks, Trailkeepers of Oregon

This short trail runs along an old homestead overlooking the Columbia and Klickitat Rivers. It is ideal for a quick and easy hike, or for those with mobility issues as the path is completely paved. Take in Gorge views, admire lots of wildflowers, and keep an eye out for a variety of birds flying overhead. The Balfour-Klickitat Loop is a popular destination for viewing bald eagles in the winter and birdwatching all year long.

 

Trillium Lake Loop Hike

Government Camp, Oregon | 1.9 Miles

Trillium Lake Loop Hike Oregon

Photo Courtesy of John Sparks, Trailkeepers of Oregon

This simple yet stunning hike in the Mount Hood National Forest is one of the most popular hikes near Portland. And for good reason! If you hit the trail early in the morning or on a weekday, you can typically avoid other day-use visitors visiting the park to go paddleboarding, windsurfing, canoeing, boating, swimming and more. Circle the beautiful Trillium Lake on this 1.9-mile trail with stunning scenery, including a postcard-worthy view of Mount Hood with the sparkling lake in the foreground. Keep in mind that there is a $5 day-use entrance fee for the park.

 

Sweet Creek Trail

Mapleton, Oregon | 2.2 Miles

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This gorgeous trail in the Siuslaw National Forest provides an easy yet spectacular hike. You will pass by several stunning waterfalls along Sweet Creek Trail, including the majestic Sweet Creek Falls at the end of the hike. Waterfalls are framed by mossy rocks and ferns with a canopy of Douglas Fir, Alder and Big Leaf Maples overhead. While there are several trailheads along the trail, the most popular route is the 2.2-mile out and back hike from the Sweet Creek Homestead Trailhead to Sweet Creek Falls.

 

Cape Kiwanda

Pacific City, Oregon | 2.2 Miles

Cape Kiwanda Oregon

Photo Courtesy of John Sparks, Trailkeepers of Oregon

Nestled along the Oregon Coast, Cape Kiwanda is one of the most beautiful sights to behold. Just behind the Cape lies the Great Dune, an enormous hill of mudstone and sandstone layers covered in sand and trees. Experience the wonders of this area with a hike along the beach starting at the Pacific Avenue Trailhead, which provides access to an area of the beach where no vehicles are permitted. Start traveling up the dunes to experience breathtaking views, then drop down to the beach and travel north along the water’s edge. You’ll see Haystack Rock (not the one we all know about in Cannon Beach!) to your left as you travel along this scenic and pleasant coastal hike.

 

Clatsop Loop Trail

Seaside, Oregon |  2.7 Miles

Clatsop Loop Trail Oregon

Photo Courtesy of Halvor Tweto via Outdoor Project

Speaking of Haystack Rock, this trail near the charming beach town of Cannon Beach is another must-hike coastal trail in Oregon. The 2.7-mile loop offers views of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, lush forest land and plenty of ocean views. Start at the Indian Beach parking area, travel north to the trailhead and cross Indian Creek to begin the loop. Continue straight up old Indian Creek Road Trail, which eventually reaches a junction, where you’ll turn right towards a backpacker campsite. To return, simply follow Tillamook Head Trail back toward Indian Beach. All the while, you’ll take in wonderful views of the ocean and lighthouse!

 

Lacamas Park Trail

Camas, Washington | 3 Miles

Lacamas Park Trail Washington

Photo Courtesy of Southwest Washington Best Hikes

For those living in Southwest Washington or even Portland, this is an easy option for a quick hike that will feel more like a walk in the park. Head to Lacamas Park, located within the city limits of Camas, for this 3-mile trail featuring two waterfalls, a creek, a lake, open vistas and a beautiful selection of flowers throughout. Although you will be within an urban area, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped it all at Lacamas Park Trail. There are several variations for the trail, so it’s something you can repeat again and again and have a completely different experience each time.

 

Lost Lake Loop

Cascade Locks, Oregon | 3.2 Miles

Lost Lake Loop Oregon

Photo Courtesy of Tom Kloster, Trailkeepers of Oregon

This scenic loop is one of the most iconic short-distance hikes in Oregon — and for good reason. It’s a crowd-pleaser, as little ones can easily navigate the path and the views are otherworldly. Start your journey at the parking lot near the lodge and head toward the lake to find the trailhead. Then, turn left on the trail to start a clockwise loop around the perimeter of the lake. The trail passes a number of campsites and eventually turns into boardwalks along the eastern shore of the lake. Throughout the hike, you’ll be immersed in a lush forest of trees with little-to-no views of the lake, and other times, you’ll have crystal clear views of the lake with Mount Hood towering overhead in the distance. Lost Lake Loop is truly a spectacular hike!

 

Tumalo Mountain Trail

Bend, Oregon | 3.8 Miles

Tumalo Falls Oregon

Photos Courtesy of Tyson Gillard via Outdoor Project

While it is just 3.8 miles in length, Tumalo Mountain Trail is a bit more difficult than others on this list. Hikers take on a steep climb from 6,400 to 7,775 feet, which offers spectacular views at the top. The trail begins at the Dutchman Sno-park, situated 18 miles up the Cascade Lake Highway. Although it includes a steeper climb, it is an easily accessible trail that offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Central Oregon. At the summit, you can see the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mount Bachelor.

 

Smith Rock State Park (River Trail)

Terrebonne, Oregon | 2.5 Miles

Smith Rock State Park Oregon

Photo Courtesy of SmithRock.com

While there are countless trails to explore within the popular Smith Rock State Park, the River Trail is a great option for those wanting to cover a lot of the park on mostly flat terrain. The trail travels along Crooked River, which winds through the park. You’ll pass by a number of towering rock formations, waterfowl and other birds. If you have some extra time and energy, consider doing the Misery Ridge Loop for some incredible views from the top. This is considered one of the park’s most challenging climbs, as it is a very steep .28 miles. But the views at the top are well worth the challenge!

 

Black Butte

Bend, Oregon | 3.9 Miles

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Just outside of Sisters, you’ll encounter this spectacular hike with an intense climb offering views unlike any other. Black Butte Trail is a 3.9-mile trail with 1,600 feet of elevation gain. The final portion of this trail is quite difficult, but once you reach the summit, the sharp climb will have been worth it. Take in panoramic views of surrounding scenery and take a much-needed break before starting your descent down the mountain. There is often snow at the top, so the hike is usually more enjoyable in the warmer months.

 

Silver Star Mountain

Yacolt, Washington | 4 Miles

Silver Star Mountain Washington

Photo Courtesy of Anna Roth via Washington Trails Association

This Southwest Washington hike offers one of the best summit views around. Plus, it’s a great place to see wildflower fields during the spring! Start climbing the doubletrack from the trailhead, which provides a wide trail and wide-open views all around. You can even see Longview and Vancouver at certain points along the trail, and on a more clear day, you may be able to see the Oregon Coast Range. The short summit trail is extremely steep. But once you reach the 4,300-foot summit, you’ll take in views of surrounding scenery, including Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, the Pacific Ocean and various nearby towns.

 

Happy Hiking!

We’d love to know which of these hikes you’ve tried or your favorites throughout the region. Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Courtney Itami

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