By Joan Eberhardt
Summer is coming to a close, which is a bummer for cold-blooded types who can’t get enough of the heat. But for those who thrive on fall colors, the outdoors and layers, there is no better time of year. If you’re lucky enough to live in a state with a legal recreational market, there is no finer place to be than soaking up nature, with a spliff or a vaporizer.
To celebrate the gorgeous foliage, and celebrate Oregon’s newly-minted recreational laws, here are five hikes to consider taking if you happen to find yourself in that corner of the nation.
Ecola State Park – Cannon Beach
Easily, one of the most photographed sites in Oregon, but for very good reason. The sweeping coastline views overlook amazing geological formation and the park is open year round. There is a space for camping, and a six-mile long coastline hiking trail that leads down to a beach popular among surfers. Rainfall becomes abundant starting in October, so be prepared for damp weather.
Umpqua Hot Springs – Idleyld Park
Ideal for a colder fall day, the Umpqua Hot Springs are open year round, and just a short .3 mile hike from the trailhead. A view of Surprise Falls awaits visitors who sit in the 3.5 x 2.5 x 5’ tub, which is located 150 feet above the North Umpqua River. The hike may be short, but it isn’t the easiest to get to, but they are located under a covered shelter.
The McKenzie River National Recreation Trail offers 26 miles of river-adjacent natural woodland. Popular among bikers, hikers and runners, this trail is an accessible, path suitable for all skill levels.
Columbia River Gorge’s Eagle Creek Trail – Portland
The Eagle Creek Trail offers the opportunity to view Punch Bowl Falls from a 100 drop. Easily one the region’s most beautiful hiking trails, park authorities emphasize that dogs must remain on leashes and jumping is strictly prohibited.
Smith Rock State Park – Deschutes County
Known as the birthplace of rock climbing as a sport, Smith Rock State Park also offers hiking trails with beautiful views of sheer cliffs and open water. Deep river canyons, scenic vistas and even fishing await visitors.