Northwest Oregon includes three counties: Clatsop, Tillamook, and Columbia. Each one has large spaces dedicated to remaining wild, and avid hikers can easily find many enjoyable, scenic hiking routes. Here are five of the best short hiking routes in Northwest Oregon.
The Clatsop Spit Loop Hike
This 4.6‑mile hike winds along a beautiful beach, so you’ll be treated to stunning views of the ocean and seaside wildlife. This includes Caspian terns, brown pelicans, and double-crested cormorants, so it’s ideal for hikers who also enjoy a bit of bird watching. The hike travels down the long beach before looping back, and as the route isn’t too hilly or steep, it is a fairly relaxing walk with lots of beautiful views. It is worth noting that the route can be pretty windy so you may want to bring your windbreaker along.
The Elk Hike in the Kings Mountains
There are two different hikes to two choose from in the Kings, but one is much shorter. If you cover both mountains it’s about a 12-mile loop, so this trek should be avoided if you are looking for a short hike. Instead, you can follow the Elk Mountain hike path as this route is only 3.2 miles long, so you can easily complete the whole hike in an afternoon. However you should be aware that this is fairly intense for a short hike; most of the journey takes place up a steep hill, and the terrain is very bumpy and rocky!
The Mosier Plateau Hike
The Mosier Plateau hike begins at Mosier, an Eastern Gorge town filled with natural beauty. The hike is around three miles long, and it follows the creek right up to the Mosier Plateau, a place with stunning views of the falls and the canyon walls. This is a fun, leisurely hike that starts in a public place before heading out into nature, so it is ideal for people who want to stop for a drink or some food before they begin. There are also lots of cool things to look out for as you hike, including wildflowers in spring and bald eagles in January. You can even take a break to swim in the creek if the weather is warm enough.
Elowah Falls Hike
The Elowah Falls hike may be the last hike on this list, but it is still one of the best hikes in Oregon. The hike is less than a mile long, but expect to see canyons, forests, and waterfalls during this time, as well as lots of beautiful birds. The hike also ends at a giant amphitheater made from stone, and this is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a picnic. It may only be a short hike, but it is ideal for families with children and beginners—and the views are definitely worth the trip.
The Steigerwald NWR Hike
This hike takes place along the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail, and anyone who chooses to do this hike will be rewarded with scenic views of the forest and waterfalls. The 2.2‑mile hike follows a flat path that winds through the forest, and you may spot geese, woodpeckers, owls, and great blue herons as you hike. The area is peaceful and relaxing, but be aware that the route is closed between October and April.