Top Hikes in Central Oregon in 2023
Spring and Summer are ideal times for hiking in Central Oregon and often the best time to plan for those bucket-list hikes, like the hike to the summit of South Sister. Central Oregon is an ideal vacation destination for hiking enthusiasts of all skill levels.
Meredith Lodging vacation rentals in Bend, Mt. Bachelor Village, Sunriver, and Sisters will put you near all the action and provide you a cozy respite after a day of outdoor adventures.
Many hikes in Central Oregon require a day-use permit (for the specific day you will be hiking). These Central cascades Wilderness Day Use passes cost $1 per adult and $1 per child (there are also Equestrian passes for adults and children at the same price).
Passes are limited in number and the most popular trails sell out quickly, so you will want to reserve ahead of time. Permits went on sale in early April and sell up to six weeks in advance for the 2023 season, which runs from May 28 – September 24, 2023. Some dates are selling out already, so you will want to reserve soon for you and your hiking crew. Access all the info you need about hiking permits in the Central Oregon Wilderness area at Recreation.gov
Ready to start planning your Central Oregon hiking trip? We have put together a list of some of our favorite hikes and the information you need to plan the perfect outing.
South Sister (Permit Required)
South Sister is the third tallest mountain in Oregon and the tallest of the Three Sisters. This trail is on many a hiker’s bucket list, and it is easy to see why. At just over 12 miles in length with an elevation gain of nearly 5,000 feet, this trek is recommended for experienced hikers only. Best used from June to October, and dogs are allowed to join you in this hike but must be kept on leash. A long, straightforward climb that offers spectacular views from the summit of Middle Sister, North Sister, Three Fingered Jack, and views all the way to Mt. Hood and Mt. Washington on a clear day. To the South of the summit, you will see gorgeous views of Mt Bachelor and Broken Top. A must-do for summit-seekers!
Three Sisters Green Lake Trailhead (Permit Required)
Alpine lake lovers will love this trail! This hike is located near Sunriver, Oregon and is best used from June to October. It is a 9.1 mile long out and back and has an elevation gain of 1187 ft. Along the way you will be richly rewarded with water views almost the entire length of the trail – including picturesque small waterfalls and gorgeous Green Lake views. Dogs are allowed whenever the trail is open but must be on leash during summer months.
Broken Top Trailhead to No Name Lake (Permit Required)
This hike is labeled as difficult mostly due to the length of the trail (13.2 miles). There is a shorter loop but be aware it requires a high clearance vehicle and accessing the trailhead requires driving some rough road!
On the 13.2-mile route, the elevation gain is gradual, and the only truly difficult part is when you have to scramble up the creek bed for a bit. Please note when the waters are likely to be rougher (late July and August), this can be tricky, so it is recommended to do this hike later in the season (September and October would be better than mid-summer).
No matter when you hike, you will be treated to expansive views of emerald-green No Name Lake and the crown of Broken Top. The trail sees moderate to heavy usage and most of the trail does not have tree cover, so remember to bring your hats and sunscreen when you tackle this stunning climb.
Tumalo Falls Hike ($5/vehicle, payable onsite)
This picturesque loop trail is 6.8 miles long, heavily trafficked, and popular due to its gorgeous waterfall views. The hike is considered moderate and is accessible year-round (though it can get lots of snow and ice in the winter, so please do your research). This route is popular for hiking and bird watching, so bring your binoculars! Dogs are only allowed on the first part of this trail and not inside the watershed. The 97-foot Tumalo Falls waterfall is one of the tallest and most beautiful in Central Oregon and certainly worth the trip!
Proxy Falls Loop Trail ($5/vehicle, payable onsite)
Looking for a short, family-friendly (think 2-mile loop, 100 ft. elevation gain) hike with breathtaking views? Look no further than the Proxy Falls Loop Trail! Part of the stunning McKenzie Pass wilderness area, Proxy Falls is considered a good hike for all skill levels and best enjoyed from March to November. Dogs are welcome to join you but must be kept on leash.
After a day of trail time, you will be ready to rest-up a bit…may we suggest a Meredith Lodging Bend or Sunriver vacation rental with a private hot tub? A soak under a sky full of stars will have you rested and ready to do it all over again the next day. A stay at a Mt. Bachelor Village vacation rental will have the family-friendly Deschutes River Trail right outside your door! View our entire Central Oregon and Mt. Bachelor Village collection at MeredithLodging.com.