Living in the Mid-Willamette Valley has left me a lot of options for hiking. Not too far from the Cascades, coast, and the Columbia Gorge. I have favorites based on general beauty, which tend to be busier, and ones that are still beautiful but more private.
Here are my top hikes within a two hour drive, in no relative order.
4.8 miles – 2,240′ elevation gain – out & back – dogs permitted
Private, beautiful views of Cascades and Mt. Jefferson. No parking lot, must park on side of gravel road.
5.3 miles – 1,309′ elevation loss – out & back – no dogs
Crowded. Try going during the week, or during the rain or winter for a more private experience. Good shoes necessary. Parking along gravel road. Rough access road, can park closer if you have a 4×4 with high clearance.
6 miles – 1,200′ elevation gain – out & back – no dogs
Best time for wild flowers is June. Best view is part way up at viewpoint. On a clear day (which is almost never) you’ll have a beautiful view from the top. Has paved parking lot.
4.1 miles – 1,318′ elevation gain – out & back – dogs permitted
Views of Mt.Jefferson and Detroit Lake. Has very small parking lot.
4.6 miles – 1,500′ elevation gain – out & back – dogs permitted
Crowded, try going weekdays or in early spring. Beautiful views of Columbia River Gorge. Has paved parking lot.
God’s Thumb (not trespassing)
4.3 miles – 1072′ elevation gain – out & back – dogs permitted
Can be dangerous in rainy months, use with caution. Muddy nearly year round. Park at Road’s End paved lot.
Natural Rock Arch
0.6 miles – 344′ elevation loss – out & back – dogs permitted
Best time for wildflowers is May. Very quiet & private. No parking lot, must park on side of gravel road/turnout.
Drift Creek Falls North
7.6 miles – 1,520′ elevation loss – out & back – dogs permitted
Suspension bridge. Has parking lot.
3 miles – 700′ elevation gain – out & back – dogs okay
Beautiful view of the ocean and has a visitor center, and coral garden. Best time for wildflowers is in May. Has paved parking lot.
Dome Rock Peak
8.9 miles – 3, 077′ elevation gain – out & back – dogs permitted