Mt. Hood National Forest
Up and down and around you go during 41 miles of hiking and nearly 18,000 feet of vertical gain and loss on one of the most famous hikes in the Northwest. The Timberline Trail encircles Oregon's highest peak, 11,239-foot Mt. Hood, and each of the mountain's four compass points offers a distinct perspective. On weekends, the trail is populated with dayhikers who gain access via numerous side trails. Stream crossings can be difficult in warm-weather melt-off.
Contact: Mt. Hood National Forest, (503) 622-7674; www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood.
Three Sisters Loop
Fifty-five miles will only whet your appetite for volcanic landscapes as you weave around the Three Sisters and their extended family (The Husband, The Wife, Little Brother...). These are rounded volcanoes with limited glacier activity (highest point: 10,358 feet), but the meadows, forests, lakes, and streams explode with unbounded beauty.
Contact: Deschutes National Forest, (541) 549-7700; www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon.
Wallowa River Loop
Wrinkled into the northeast corner of Oregon are the Wallowa Mountains, more reminiscent of the Sierra than the Northwest, with granite crags projecting above open pine forests and alpine cirques. A 35-mile loop up the East Fork Wallowa River and down the West Fork in the Eagle Cap Wilderness offers unrelenting scenery.
Contact: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, (541) 426-4978; www.fs.fed.us/r6/w-w.