Hikes are listed (at the menu along the top of the page) as ‘Central Oregon Hikes’ which are hikes accessible with only short drives (usually less than an hour) from Central Oregon; and, ‘Day Trips’ that may involve some drive time.
These are some of the current hikes you can read about:
Central Oregon Hikes
- Rimrock Springs WMA
- Metolius II
- Patjens Lakes Loop
- Tam-a-lau Trail at Cove Palisades
- Chimney Rock along the Lower Crooked River
- Badlands Wilderness Area – Flatiron Trail
- Alder Springs Trail – Near Sisters
- Steins Pillar Hiking Trail – Ochoco National Forest
New Day Trips:
- Blue Basin Overlook Trail – John Day Fossil Beds
- Fort Rock – Lake County
- Clear Lake Loop Trail
- McKenzie River Falls Loop Trail
All photos on this website are provided by photographer and writer Dhyana Kearly unless otherwise indicated. New stories and photos are being added on a daily basis and please feel free to email suggestions for trails not yet listed here – keeping in mind that our goal is to present relatively accessible hiking trails that are hiker-dog friendly too.
According to the BLM, hikers can reach ‘the heart’ of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness by travelling the remote Tumulus Trail which winds around large lava blisters littered with dark hidden alcoves, dry moats and wide open juniper woodlands. BLM is quick to point out that it’s easy to get lost in the Badlands desert – and this trail in particular – so sufficient navigation skills are highly recommended.
Keeping your bearings is an important consideration when hiking just about any Badlands trail. They are all very dry and dusty treks along lonely stretches of juniper and lava strewn landscapes, and even if you are on a designated trail there will be tons of intersecting trails, pathways, roadways and unmarked turnouts along the way. Also, pack lots of water, wear a hat and keep an eye out for wildlife. Getting there is only half the battle. Surviving the experience will make you a seasoned Badlands badass hiker. Seriously. Just ask that eight-year-old. Read more ….
Blue Basin Trail Formations
The Blue Basin Overlook Trail is one of the most colorful spots in Central Oregon. Seriously. It’s blue. Managed by the National Park Service, Blue Basin Overlook Trail is part of the John Day Fossil Beds – Sheep Rock Unit. This 3-mile loop trail is strenuous in spots, hot in the summer and beautiful to behold. Dogs are meant to be kept on leashes for this hike, and packing water and a poop bag is recommended. Read more …
Flatiron Trail is a true grit trail. If you didn’t have it when you left on this hike, you certainly do have it when you return … between your teeth, in your ears, under your nails, all over your shoes …. and somehow, between your toes.
Sign pointing to Flatiron Trail
I sometimes forget how beautiful the juniper forest really is, surrounded by it as we are, everywhere we go. But a day out in the Badlands Wilderness Area will turn you on to the beauty of the desert and the time-worn gnarly grace of the most ancient junipers in Oregon. Read more …
My trusty hiking dog and I have been frequent visitors to Rimrock Springs Wildlife Management Area for many years, and as a result we’ve witnessed a lot of change over time – some good, some horrifying and some curious. The good was back when the National Grassland and Forest
folks started paying attention to the site … more …