Best Backpacking in Oregon

Backpacker hiking in Mount Hood National Forest Oregon
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Embark on an unforgettable journey through Oregon’s diverse landscapes and experience the untamed beauty that awaits backpackers. From snow-capped peaks to lush forests, cascading waterfalls to rugged coastlines, this Pacific Northwest gem offers an unparalleled backpacking experience for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you crave solitude in the wilderness or the thrill of conquering majestic summits, Oregon has something to offer every backpacker. Lace-up your hiking boots, pack your gear, and get ready to explore the top backpacking destinations in the Beaver State.



Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring beauty. This natural wonder, formed within the caldera of an ancient volcano, boasts the deepest lake in the United States. Surrounded by steep cliffs and pristine forests, the sapphire-blue waters of Crater Lake create a breathtaking sight. Outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and photographers alike will be enchanted by this unique destination.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Crater Lake National Park:

  • Spectacular Scenery: Explore the breathtaking landscapes of the park, including the stunning Crater Lake with its vibrant blue waters, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and ancient forests.
  • Pristine Wilderness: Immerse yourself in a true wilderness experience, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and connect with nature in its purest form.
  • Hiking Adventures: Discover a plethora of well-marked hiking trails, catering to all skill levels, offering opportunities to witness diverse flora and fauna along the way.
  • Photographer’s Paradise: Capture unforgettable moments with your camera, as the park provides a myriad of picture-perfect vistas and incredible sunrises/sunsets over the lake.
  • Stargazer’s Delight: Experience unparalleled stargazing opportunities due to the park’s remote location, where you can marvel at the dazzling night sky away from light pollution.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Filter, Camera, Binoculars, Tent, Layered Clothing


Three Sisters Wilderness

Three Sisters Wilderness beckons adventurers with its untamed beauty. This vast and rugged wilderness area, nestled in the heart of Oregon’s Cascade Range, offers a mesmerizing playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Three majestic volcanic peaks, aptly named North Sister, Middle Sister, and South Sister, dominate the skyline, while dense forests, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes provide a diverse landscape for hiking, camping, and immersing in nature’s splendor. Embark on a journey of exploration in this captivating wilderness sanctuary.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness:

  • Spectacular Mountain Views: Experience awe-inspiring vistas of the three volcanic peaks and surrounding mountain ranges, creating a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.
  • Abundant Outdoor Activities: Enjoy a wide range of activities such as hiking, backpacking, fishing, and wildlife spotting, ensuring an adventure-filled experience.
  • Pristine Wilderness: Immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty of nature, surrounded by dense forests, crystal-clear lakes, and wildflower-strewn meadows.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Escape the crowds and revel in the tranquility of the wilderness, finding peace and solace in the vast expanse of the backcountry.
  • Challenging Trails: Embark on rewarding backpacking journeys with diverse trail options, catering to both seasoned backpackers and those seeking a thrilling challenge.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, Camping Stove, Map/Compass


Eagle Cap Wilderness

Eagle Cap Wilderness awaits adventurers with its untouched allure. This expansive wilderness area, nestled within the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, promises a captivating escape into the heart of nature. Towering peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and lush meadows create a scenic wonderland for hikers and backpackers seeking serenity. The rugged trails and abundant wildlife offer a perfect setting to immerse oneself in the wilderness and embark on unforgettable backcountry journeys.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness:

  • Breathtaking Scenery: Explore the stunning vistas of the Wallowa Mountains, including picturesque alpine lakes and majestic peaks, making it a paradise for landscape enthusiasts and photographers.
  • Solitude and Tranquility: Experience a sense of remoteness and seclusion in the vast wilderness, providing an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter diverse wildlife, from marmots and deer to elusive mountain goats, offering thrilling opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts.
  • Unmatched Hiking Trails: Discover an extensive network of well-maintained trails catering to all levels of backpackers, offering a variety of terrain and scenic beauty.
  • Wildflower-Filled Meadows: Witness a vibrant display of wildflowers during the summer months, adding splashes of color to the already picturesque landscape.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, Camping Stove, First Aid Kit


Mount Hood Wilderness

Mount Hood Wilderness beckons adventurers with its rugged charm. This enchanting wilderness area, encompassing the iconic Mount Hood in Oregon’s Cascade Range, promises an unforgettable escape into nature’s grandeur. Towering over the landscape, Mount Hood’s snow-capped peak offers a stunning backdrop for hikers, climbers, and photographers. Amidst lush forests, alpine meadows, and cascading streams, visitors can revel in the pristine beauty of this captivating wilderness sanctuary. Embark on an exploration of Mount Hood’s majestic allure and immerse yourself in its wild wonders.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Mount Hood Wilderness:

  • Iconic Mount Hood: Experience the thrill of hiking around the majestic Mount Hood, an iconic volcanic peak and Oregon’s highest point.
  • Diverse Trails: Explore a wide range of trails, catering to various skill levels, offering breathtaking views of valleys, glaciers, and alpine meadows.
  • Photographer’s Dream: Capture stunning landscape shots, from the reflection of Mount Hood in mirror-like lakes to vibrant sunrises and sunsets over the mountains.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter diverse wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species, adding to the allure of the wilderness experience.
  • Backcountry Camping: Camp under starlit skies, surrounded by the peaceful serenity of nature, and awaken to the sounds of the wilderness each morning.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Bottle/Snacks, Map/Compass, Headlamp/Flashlight


Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area enthralls visitors with its breathtaking beauty. Carved by the mighty Columbia River, this remarkable landscape straddles the borders of Oregon and Washington. Towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests create a picturesque tableau. Hikers, nature enthusiasts, and photographers are drawn to its diverse trails and scenic viewpoints, offering a captivating journey through this natural wonderland.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area:

  • Spectacular Waterfalls: Explore a plethora of stunning waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, offering captivating sights and serene spots to rest and rejuvenate.
  • Scenic Hiking Trails: Embark on diverse hiking trails, showcasing breathtaking views of the Columbia River, towering cliffs, and lush canyons.
  • Rich Biodiversity: Encounter a wide variety of plant and animal species, making it a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
  • Photographer’s Paradise: Capture postcard-worthy shots of dramatic landscapes, waterfalls, and panoramic vistas from the many viewpoints and scenic spots.
  • Cultural and Historical Sites: Discover remnants of Native American cultures and historical landmarks, adding a unique dimension to the backpacking experience.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Camera, Binoculars, Lightweight Rain Jacket, Trail Map/Compass


Wallowa Mountains

The Wallowa Mountains beckon adventurers with their untamed allure. Rising majestically in northeastern Oregon, this rugged mountain range offers an enchanting escape into the heart of the wilderness. Towering peaks, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes paint a mesmerizing landscape for hikers, backpackers, and nature enthusiasts. Rich in Native American history and abundant wildlife, the Wallowa Mountains promise an unforgettable journey through a remote and awe-inspiring natural sanctuary.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Wallowa Mountains:

  • Spectacular Alpine Scenery: Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of rugged peaks, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes.
  • Remote Wilderness: Experience a sense of seclusion and solitude in this less-visited and unspoiled wilderness area.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter diverse wildlife, including elk, deer, and various bird species, enhancing the wilderness experience.
  • Challenging Hiking Trails: Explore a network of challenging trails, catering to both experienced hikers and those seeking thrilling adventures.
  • Cultural Heritage: Discover the rich Native American history and heritage of the region, adding a unique cultural aspect to your backpacking journey.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, Trekking Poles, Map/Compass


Oregon Coast Trail

The Oregon Coast Trail invites explorers to embark on a captivating journey along the rugged and picturesque coastline of Oregon. Stretching for over 400 miles, this trail weaves through dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches, quaint coastal towns, and lush forests. Hikers can relish in the sound of crashing waves, encounter diverse wildlife, and savor breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. The Oregon Coast Trail promises an unforgettable coastal adventure.

Reasons To Go Backpacking on the Oregon Coast Trail:

  • Stunning Coastal Scenery: Experience breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean, sandy beaches, and dramatic cliffs throughout the trail.
  • Diverse Ecosystems: Encounter diverse ecosystems, including coastal forests, wetlands, and marine life, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.
  • Quaint Coastal Towns: Discover charming coastal towns along the way, offering opportunities to rest, refuel, and experience local culture.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Spot a variety of wildlife, from sea birds and marine mammals to tidepool creatures and migrating whales.
  • Unparalleled Sunsets: Witness mesmerizing sunsets over the ocean horizon, providing unforgettable moments during your backpacking journey.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Sleeping Bag, Lightweight Rain Jacket, Water Filter, Binoculars, Tent


Mount Jefferson Wilderness

Mount Jefferson Wilderness captivates adventurers with its rugged allure. This untamed wilderness, cradled within the Oregon Cascades, boasts the soaring peak of Mount Jefferson as its centerpiece. Towering over the landscape, this active stratovolcano is surrounded by pristine alpine lakes, lush forests, and wildflower-strewn meadows. Backpackers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts are drawn to explore its diverse trails and experience the raw beauty of this enchanting natural sanctuary.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness:

  • Spectacular Mountain Scenery: Marvel at the awe-inspiring vistas of Mount Jefferson and the surrounding volcanic peaks, creating a picturesque backdrop for your backpacking journey.
  • Remote Wilderness: Escape into a secluded and less-visited wilderness area, immersing in nature’s tranquility and pristine beauty.
  • Varied Hiking Trails: Explore a diverse network of trails, ranging from challenging alpine routes to leisurely paths through serene meadows.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a variety of wildlife, including marmots, deer, and the occasional glimpse of elusive black bears.
  • Alpine Lakes and Wildflowers: Discover crystal-clear alpine lakes reflecting the mountains and vibrant wildflowers adorning the meadows, making each step a visual delight.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Map/Compass, Water/Snacks, Portable Stove


Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area beckons adventurers with its rugged grandeur. Carved by the Snake River, this dramatic landscape straddles the borders of Oregon and Idaho. Towering cliffs, deep canyons, and wild river rapids form a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers, campers, and nature lovers are drawn to its diverse terrain, abundant wildlife, and opportunities for thrilling river adventures. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area promises an unforgettable escape into the heart of the wilderness.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area:

  • Spectacular Canyon Views: Experience awe-inspiring vistas of Hells Canyon, one of the deepest gorges in North America, offering unparalleled scenic beauty.
  • Remote Wilderness: Escape into a vast and less-visited wilderness area, providing a sense of seclusion and serenity.
  • River Adventures: Embark on thrilling river rafting or kayaking expeditions, encountering exciting rapids and pristine river stretches.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Witness a diverse range of wildlife, from bighorn sheep and mule deer to various bird species, enriching the backpacking experience.
  • Varied Hiking Trails: Explore a variety of trails, catering to different skill levels, showcasing the diverse terrain and unique features of the canyon.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, River Rafting/Kayaking Gear, Map/Compass


Rogue River Trail

The Rogue River Trail beckons nature enthusiasts with its captivating allure. Winding through the rugged landscapes of southern Oregon, this scenic trail follows the meandering path of the Rogue River. Lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and emerald-green pools adorn the picturesque journey, offering a delightful experience for hikers, backpackers, and wildlife observers alike. The Rogue River Trail promises an unforgettable adventure amidst the untouched beauty of the river’s wilderness.

Reasons To Go Backpacking on the Rogue River Trail:

  • Breathtaking River Views: Revel in stunning vistas of the Rogue River, flanked by lush forests and dramatic canyons throughout the trail.
  • Abundance of Wildlife: Encounter diverse wildlife, including black bears, deer, and numerous bird species, enriching the wilderness experience.
  • Serene Waterfalls: Discover enchanting waterfalls, such as Rainie Falls and Natural Bridge, providing picturesque spots to rest and admire the surroundings.
  • Riverside Camping: Enjoy peaceful nights camping alongside the river, lulled by the gentle sound of flowing water.
  • Rich History and Culture: Learn about the area’s Native American heritage and early settlers, adding a unique historical perspective to your backpacking journey.

Recommended Gear: Trekking Poles, Insect Repellent, Camping Chairs, Quick-Drying Towel, Multi-Tool, Water Bottle, Camping Stove


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