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20 Amazing Backpacking Trips in Oregon

Explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

There's no better way to get to know the wilderness in Oregon than spending a few days exploring the backcountry. With dramatic volcanic mountain ranges, pristine alpine lakes, and the lush forests that the Pacific Northwest is so well known for, any backpacker hitting these trails will not be disappointed. And there's no reason to hibernate this winter, a lot of these backpacking trips are just as amazing - if not more so - during the winter months. Wherever and whenever you choose to go on your next backpacking trip in Oregon, we're sure you'll have an adventure you'll never forget. 

1. Backpack to Russell Lake

A marsh stretches out into a lake while a mountain peak rises in the distance

Photo: Erik Sanders

Distance: 11.4 miles
Elevation: 1,926 ft
Type: Out-and-Back

This incredible backpacking trip takes you along a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail and through untouched scenery. Camp near one of the many lakes and witness the beauty of fog rolling across the lake in the morning and brilliant starry nights. Take in stunning forest views, snow-covered mountain peaks, and vibrant wildflowers along the way.

2. Snowshoe the Rim at Crater Lake NP

A snowy and pine forested island is surrounded by deep blue water

Photo: Dan Loch

Distance: 30.99 miles
Elevation: 4,124 ft
Type: Loop

This hike gives you the chance to explore the stunning beauty of Crater Lake National Park without encountering huge crowds. Gain some solitude and perspective amidst the vast wilderness. This backcountry experience also brings extraordinary 360 views from Watchman Peak, Hillman Peak, Mt Scott, and Garfield Peak.

Note: If you are planning a late fall through early spring trip, plan and prepare ahead of time for heavy snowfall and possibly dangerous conditions such as ice and avalanches. This area averages 44 feet of snowfall annually.

3. Backpack around Broken Top

A river stretches across the meadow towards snow-capped peaks in the distance

Photo: Michael Graw

Distance: 22.58 miles
Elevation: 3,675 ft
Type: Loop

Offering jaw-dropping views of the Three Sisters Wilderness and the central Oregon Cascades, this is a popular backpacking spot in Oregon for a reason. Trek along the trail as it winds through lush forests, alpine lakes, panoramic views, and meadows. If you have a clear day during your trip be sure to appreciate views as far as Mount Adams in Washington and the Ochoco Mountains in the east.

4. Backpack the Painted Canyon Loop, Honecombs Wilderness

The valley is surrounded by vast plateaus

Photo: Dusty Klein

Distance: 18 miles
Elevation: 1,200 ft
Type: Loop

Need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? This is the perfect trip to gain some isolation as you camp out amidst spectacular rock formations and canyons. Camp within the Honeycomb Wilderness near lakes and vast plateaus and appreciate some much-needed R&R time out in nature.

5. Backpack to Hidden Lake

Snow covered forests and mountain peaks stretch toward the horizon

Photo: Michael Graw

Distance: 18.52 miles
Elevation: 3,789 ft
Type: Out-and-Back

Dive into this backpacking trip in Eagle Creek Wilderness and surround yourself with towering pine trees, granite peaks, and bright meadows. As you wind through the valley, take in the jaw-dropping views of the Wallowas, nicknamed “the Alps of Oregon.” Keep an eye out for herds of elk meandering by and relax by the lake after a day of trekking through the woods. 

6. Backpack the Lakes Basin and Summit Eagle Cap

A lone hiker stands in the tan grass looking out at the lake and peak beyond

Photo: Dan Loch

Distance: 32.87 miles
Elevation: 6,604 ft
Type: Loop

Hike through gorgeous valleys, vistas, and forests and past many alpine lakes. Take in the stunning sight of the Wallowas and incredible wildlife such as bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain goats, and Osprey. 

7. Backpack Ruckel Ridge

Mountain peaks are blanketed by green forests and Mount Hood shoots into the air in the background

Photo: Patrick Cole

Distance: 8.08 miles
Elevation: 3,370 ft
Type: Loop

Have your camera out and ready on this stunning hike. Taking you along a ridge, through a portion of the PCT, and across plateaus, this hike offers incredible scenic views of Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and the Columbia River Gorge. Come prepared for difficult and technical terrain along this route with steep inclines and several rock faces that must be climbed. 

8. Backpack to the Wallowas' Mirror Lake

A glassy lake reflects the mountain and vibrant blue and pink sunset

Photo: Roark Nelson

Distance: 13.49 miles
Elevation: 2,280 ft
Type: Out-and-Back

Head onto this scenic and secluded mountain route for a chance to traverse past rivers and lakes and through valleys and forests. Enjoy some peace, quiet, and reflection time while staring at the majestic beauty of Mirror Lake and the surrounding snow-capped peaks.

9. Backpack Broken Top Trail to No Name Lake

Jagged mountain peaks stand out against the dark blue sky and are covered in snow. The lake in the forefront is nearly black in the light

Photo: Whitney Whitehouse

Distance: 4.84 miles
Elevation: 1,198 ft
Type: Out-and-Back

Despite the short distance, this backpacking trip will provide you with the opportunity to work out your legs with some steep inclines and navigation skills with unmarked trails. After a hard day of trekking through the woods, relax near a glacial lake. Look out for incredible views of the surrounding peaks such as Broken Top, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, and The Sisters: South Sister, Middle Sister, and North Sister. 

10. Backpack to the Matthieu Lakes

On a clear, sunny day the lake sits calmly and is surrounded by tall pine trees

Photo: Isaac Desautels

Distance: 6 miles
Elevation: 922 ft
Type: Loop

If you only have a night and still want to squeeze in a backpacking trip, this is the trail for you. Take a dive in one of the warm swimming holes along your way while enjoying immaculate views of the famous mountain peaks the Three Sisters, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, and Tree Fingered Jack. 

11. Backpack to the Base of Mt. Thielsen

A backcountry stove sits on flat rocks with a tall, jagged peak rising in the background

Photo: Talia Touboul

Distance: 7.26 miles
Elevation: 1,926 ft
Type: Out-and-Back

Hike through a vast forest of pines and enjoy glimpses of the lake through the trees as you ascend. Set up camp on the mountain ridge and head up to the top of Mount Thielson for a stunning 360-degree view of Diamond Lake and the wilderness beyond.

12. Backpack to North Lake

A muted pink sunset shines on a snow-capped mountain peak

Photo: John Chau

Distance: 12.36 miles
Elevation: 4,505 ft
Type: Out-and-Back

Grab a friend and begin this remote backpacking trip that rewards you with stunning views as you hike through old-growth forests, scree fields, and camp by isolated lakes. Enjoy unique sights such as an old water tank and stand on overlooks that allow you to view the Columbia River and Mount Defiance.

13. Backpack to Santiam Lake via Duffy Lake Trailhead

Pink clouds descend on the mountain and forest as a flock of birds fly by

Photo: Samuel Judge

Distance: 9.94 miles
Elevation: 1,362 ft
Type: Out-and-Back

With scenic views and two lakes great for swimming, this trail provides a refreshing and wonderful experience outside for all hikers. Weave through old-growth and alpine forests, cross the North Santiam River, and take a cooling break under the Duffy Butte.

    Note: This forest is only partially maintained with several down trees blocking the path so come prepared for the possibility of off-trail navigation. Moreover, snowpack covers the trail well into June so come prepared for colder weather and walking through snow.

    14. Backpack to Burnt Lake

    The lake reflects a dark green forest and the lone, snow-covered mountain

    Photo: Angela Clarke

    Distance: 12.27 miles
    Elevation: 3,225 ft
    Type: Out-and-Back

    This hike will take you through Mount Hood National Forest, past a stunning waterfall, and ends near a vast lake. Enjoy camping near the lake where you will be met by majestic views of Mount Hood rising into the sky and deep green forests reflected off the crystal-clear lake.

    15. Backpack the Eagle Cap Wilderness Loop

    A lake is surrounded by a rocky shore, bright green pines, and several mountains

    Photo: Colin Ayers

    Distance: 40.13 miles
    Elevation: 10,630 ft
    Type: Loop

    If you are looking for a longer backpacking trip with diverse views, this is the trail for you. Along your way, pass over 10 alpine lakes and summit Eagle Cap where you will witness stunning 360-degree views. The diverse terrain will have you crossing streams, hiking through thickly blanketed forests, past granite slabs, and through overgrown, gnarled bushes.

    16. Backpack to Dome Rock via the Upper Trailhead

    A person stands outside of their tent on a scenic overlook watching the sun as it turns the clouds golden and the range of mountains below.

    Photo: Zak Stone

    Distance: 2.36 miles
    Elevation: 479 ft
    Type: Out-and-Back

    This short trail is a great trail for beginner backpackers and those looking to spend only a night. At the summit take in extraordinary views of the Cascade Mountains, Willamette Valley, and Coast Mountain Range. Whether you choose to camp on Dome Rock or near Tumble Lake, make sure to watch the sky for vibrant sunsets and star-filled nights.

    17. Basecamp at Green Lakes

    A tent glows orange in the middle of the night and is surrounded by a forest and peaks blanketed in snow

    Photo: Dan Loch

    Distance: 9.19 miles
    Elevation: 1,240 ft
    Type: Out-and-Back

    Basecamp at this stunning lake nestled amongst the Central Cascades and enjoy the challenge of doing some day hikes up the four nearby peaks. As you hike up to Green Lake, trek past Fall Creek and several small waterfalls. In late summer catch the colorful array of wildflowers along the trail. For the rest of the year, enjoy trekking through a snow-packed trail and witness the beauty of this winter wonderland.

      Note: Snowshoes and equipment like crampons and ice axes are recommended, particularly for those doing summits around the lake during winter and spring months.

      18. Climb Tom Dick and Harry Mountain

      Water reflects the surrounding pine trees and snow covered mountain peak

      Photo: Dan Moe

      Distance: 8.28 miles
      Elevation: 1,726 ft
      Type: Out-and-Back

      This hike will leave you in awe as you kick back and relax after summiting on granite slabs of stone with its iconic scenic views and photo opportunities. Stand face-to-face with Mount Hood from the top of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain and catch gorgeous views of Mirror Lake on this backcountry adventure. This trail is widely popular and is great for people of all ages, families, and dogs.

      19. Backpack to Battle Ax Mountain

      A hiker looks at the forest and mountains stretching as far as the eye can see as the sun glints over them

      Photo: Jeffrey Green

      Distance: 5.09 miles
      Elevation: 1,594 ft
      Type: Out-and-Back

      This hike begins at an unmarked trail head and is a great overnight backpacking spot. Summit Battle Ax Mountain for the chance to see eleven volcanoes in the distance. Along your journey, you can experience a variety of scenery including unique rock formations, cascades, a lesser-known cave, fields of wildflowers, and the remains of a demolished fire lookout.

      20. Backpack to Hunt’s Cove

      Rocky shales litter the shore of the lake and in the background tall, lean pine trees and a mountain peak stretch toward the sky

      Photo: Michael Graw

      Distance: 14.74 miles
      Elevation: 3,150 ft
      Type: Loop

      Fantastic views of Mount Jefferson, Oregon’s Western Cascades, backcountry lakes, and babbling creeks will greet you around every twist and turn of this trail. This trail is a popular spot for backpacking in Mount Jefferson Wilderness. It provides fun opportunities to hike through dense forests filled with Douglas Firs and swim and fish along the lakes.

      Cover photo: Dan Loch

      We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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