The number of backpacking trips one could embark on in Oregon is staggering. Though Oregon often gets overlooked by many backpackers who head to Washington for their trips, there are plenty of breathtaking landscapes right here in Oregon. The amount of landscape diversity contributes to the number of very different backpack trips that one can take. We’ve curated our favorite backpacking trips, whether you decide to forgo the AirBnB and trek into the wilderness for a weekend or you’re a seasoned backpacker looking for something new, there is a trip here for you.
Three Sisters Loop – 35 to 50 miles, 3-7 days to complete
Arguably the most beautiful area in Oregon, the Three Sisters (composed of the North, Middle, and South) area continues to impress backpackers, decade after decade. This loop trail takes you all over the area, past lakes and rivers, and with stunning views of the Three Sisters the entire time. It’s a very customizable trail, and we’d recommend it only for seasoned backpackers. You can throw in a South Sister Summit if you’d like, and there are plenty of places to wanders that aren’t necessarily marked on the map.
Bring a good GPS with you (check out our favorites here) and enjoy! This trip can take up to a week, depending which route you take and how much ground you cover each day.
Round trip: 35 to 50 miles, depending on the route
Elevation gain: Nearly 5,000 feet.
Driving distance from Bend (nearest city): 45 minutes
Ice Lake and the Matterhorn – 16 miles, 2-4 days to complete
The Eagle Cap Wilderness, located in and around the Wallowa Mountain range in the northeastern part of the state, is one of the best places to go backpacking in Oregon. The scenery is unique and different than the rest of Oregon; the Wilderness, with its peaks and lakes, is reminiscent of Washington, Montana, and other states with more dramatic scenery. It doesn’t give off a strong Oregon vibe, replacing the dense forests and rain with tall peaks and thunderstorms.
The Ice Lake and Matterhorn Peak backpacking trip is arguably the best way to experience this miraculous area. It’s only 16 miles round trip, and can definitely be completed in one night. The biggest caveat, however, is that the elevation gain nearly approaches 6 thousand feet. That makes for an incredibly difficult hike up, and some may have to plan an entire day to make it to the top. In events like these, we recommend the HydroFlask. Keeping your water cold is a necessity for staying refreshed on these long hikes, and there’s no better tool than the Hydroflask to do that job.
Round trip: 16 miles
Elevation gain: 5,500 feet
Driving distance from Portland: About 7 hours. No major cities nearby.
Green Lakes – 9 miles, two days to complete
We’ve mentioned this one before in an article about some of the best hikes near Bend, but we’re bringing it up again for this one. Green Lakes is a great contrast to the extremely strenuous and time-consuming trips that we’ve listed above, and is a great overnight backpacking trip for the casual hiker looking to enjoy the scenery rather than conquer a difficult hike.
At just over four and a half miles each way, Green Lakes is a leisurely and scenic hike that we recommend for virtually anyone. It’s situated in between Broken Top and South Sister, two of the iconic mountains that can be seen from Bend.
Round trip: 9 miles
Elevation gain: 1,200 feet
Driving distance from Bend (nearest city): 30 to 45 minutes
Oregon has plenty more backpacking adventures to explore, and we’ll be writing about some of those in upcoming articles, so keep an eye out for that. If you’re interested in receiving some exclusive, lesser-known adventures delivered right to your e-mail, be sure to sign up by clicking the green box at the bottom of this page! We won’t spam you, and you’ll only get a couple emails a month from us (at the most).
If you’ve got any particular favorite Oregon backpacking adventures that you’d like to share, let us know in the comments below!