Looking for the most beautiful mountains in Oregon? Today we’re sharing the top 20 peaks you won’t want to miss!
Oregon is a state of great natural beauty, with stunning landscapes that include rugged coastlines, lush forests, and towering peaks. Among these natural wonders, the mountains of Oregon stand out as some of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
From the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Range to the rugged terrain of the Wallowa Mountains, there is no shortage of majestic mountains to explore in Oregon.
In this post, we will take a closer look at the 20 most beautiful mountains in Oregon, each with its own unique features and stunning vistas that are sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor.
So grab your hiking boots and get ready to discover the beauty of Oregon’s mountains!
20. Mount Thielsen
Nestled in the Southern Oregon Cascades, Mount Thielsen is a stunning peak that boasts a distinctive horn-like shape. Situated just north of Crater Lake, the mountain’s most striking feature is its nearly vertical 2200-foot north and east sides, which give it the appearance of a great spire rising dramatically from the surrounding terrain. At the summit of Mount Thielsen, this unique characteristic is particularly pronounced, making it an irresistible destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts alike.
As the most often hit High Cascade peak, Mount Thielsen has earned the name “the lightning rod of the Cascades” for the spectacular spire form it has, as well as its prominence among the region’s other mountains and the unpredictable weather it experiences.
Mount Thielsen, despite its fearsome look, is a relatively easy climb. The West Ridge is a thrilling route that isn’t too difficult but has just enough exposure to get your heart racing. At the summit, a spectacular spire soars majestically into the sky.
Atop the mountain, you feel as if you’re floating over the lush woods of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, which seem to fall out in every direction. Mount Shasta is visible to the south on a clear day, while the Three Sisters are evident to the north. The only site outside of Crater Lake National Park where you can view the waters of Crater Lake is Mount Thielsen.
The Mount Thielsen Trail is the most popular trail to Mount Thielsen’s summit. It is 4 miles from the PCT intersection, where you can begin your West Ridge hike. After 5 miles, you’ll arrive at the summit.
19. South Sister
There is another equally gorgeous approach to Moraine Lake halfway up the mountain. Mount McLoughlin is visible from this lower route. You can view half of the state from the peak, a broad, snowy crater with a lake. Sometimes, the peak creates a small snowstorm and a cloud of whiteouts.
It’s truly magnificent!
The trail to the summit of Oregon’s third-tallest mountain, South Sister (also known as Charity), is open to the public. South Sister’s trek to its 10,358-foot summit can be strenuous, but it’s also one of Central Oregon’s most popular hikes because of its spectacular views.
The hike to South Sister’s peak climbs 4,900 feet in six miles, making it one of the most demanding in the world. The difficulty in breathing that comes with such a high elevation rise isn’t what made South Sister the most challenging; instead, it is the exceedingly rough terrain.
The course is challenging because of its rock and sand composition. Sand and pebbles of various shapes and sizes, from tennis balls to gumballs, are strewn throughout the ground. Then there are the hastily positioned big stones that can collapse at any time with only a shove or a misstep.
18. Smith Rock Group
In the distance from Terrebonne, you can see the Smith Rock Group, a large, free-standing rock “island.” Its most prominent rocky summits are Smith Summit (the highest spire), The Platform, and The Arrowpoint.
This formation is encircled on three sides by the Crooked River: east, south, and west. When comparing elevations, asterisk Pass is just north of Smith Rock Group and Christian Brothers. The Smith Rock Group has considerable sections of excellent grade rock; however, most are choss. Seeing the structure from the east rather than the west makes it seem considerably more intimidating.
It is possible to climb to the top from the east side, although most routes meet weak rock for at least one pitch. It’s rare to find a ‘walk-up’ route to any higher peaks on the west side, but East Smith Summit is an exception since it’s only accessible through the East Wall 5.8 X.
Summer and winter are too hot and snowy respectively to climb the Smith Rock Group, making spring and fall the best seasons to visit. However, some routes may be closed during the breeding season due to falcon nests. Despite the challenges, the Smith Rock Group is a must-visit destination for any adventurer looking to explore the mountains in Oregon.
17. Brandy Peak
It is one of Oregon’s lesser-known coastal mountain summits, situated between the Pacific Ocean and I-5, its primary north-south route. Despite this, this peak attracts more than just residents and hunters. Do you want to know why?
Among the 73 Oregon Prominence Peaks, Brandy is the ninth-highest point in the state’s coastal region. During the summer months, hikers can enjoy breathtaking landscapes of wildflowers and animals along Bear Camp Ridge.
Squirrel Camp, located under Brandy Peak, is accessible through a 4-mile hike. Hikers and climbers who reach the peak of Brandy Peak will discover a red can in which to place their names.
To get through, take Interstate 5 north to Merlin Exit 61, then follow Merlin / Galice Road to Galice Creek Access Road 34-8-36 from Grants Pass, OR. Continue up this road for another 21 miles to the trailhead at Forest Roads 2300 and 2308. Roughly 4.0 miles down Forest Road 2308 lies the Brandy Peak trailhead.
16. Fort Rock
In Oregon, visitors won’t discover much in ancient history. The oldest structures are from the 1850s; thus, no ancient temples or Neolithic homes exist.
But there is Fort Rock, a temple-like structure created by nature and its collection of human relics.
For a rock structure in central Oregon’s high desert that rises to almost 200 feet in height and spreads to about 4,500 feet in circumference, the appellation “Fort Rock” seems appropriate. However, the rock’s formation is considerably more intriguing than a fort’s construction.
Fort Rock is a relic of a Pleistocene volcano that Fort Rock Lake formerly surrounded. Thousands of years ago, there was once a Paiute resting site at the peak, but it has since been lost to history.
An easy ascent to this location is made possible by the low altitude. In the spring, avoid climbing Fort Rock due to nesting holes. Hikers can reach the top trailhead by heading west from the parking lot and then north on the route that leads there. The average hike is about 2 miles long.
Fort Rock Cave, a National Heritage Site, is another attraction site near Fort Rock. You can enjoy guided tours of this National Heritage Site.
15. Alvord Peak
Alvord Peak, the southernmost summit of the Steens Range, rises out of the arid wastelands of Southeast Oregon. The 7132-foot peak of this basaltic mountain is reached via a steady ascent from Long Hollow and Road Canyon in the west, followed by a 3000-foot drop into the desolate Alvord Desert in the east.
Like Steens Mountain, Alvord Peak is a “Basin and Range” terrane feature, a fault block upthrust along the same rim as Steens and Pueblo Mountains. On the western edge of the now-dry Catlow Valley, the Catlow Rim marks the former coast of an inland sea.
If you appreciate wooded wilderness, this may not be the top for you. This area lost most of its sagebrush cover during the 2006 wildfires, leaving many mountains looking desolate and lifeless. There are no trees on Alvord Peak; not even Junipers can be seen within a few hundred feet of the peak.
If you summit Alvord Peak during the summer months, make sure to pack water, there are no water sources in the region. At 7132 feet, Rattlesnakes can be a problem; thus, the best time to trek Alvord Peak is in the winter to avoid encountering one.
Alvord Peak is between Steens and Pueblo Mountains. From Frenchglen, take Highway 205 south for 42 miles to Long Hollow Summit at 5608 feet. On the north side of the roadway is a rock pit; park and start your trek if no one is around.
14. Crane Mountain
Over 8,000 feet, Crane Mountain is one of 80 peaks in Oregon that are so tall. Among the 73 Oregon Prominence Peaks, it ranks 39th. On a clear day, you can see Mount McLoughlin and Mount Shasta in the distance, as well as Goose Lake.
Only cars with high clearance and four-wheel drive can approach the Crane Mountain trailhead at the end of a difficult road. Before you reach Crane Mountain Lookout, you’ll start to see the path. Between the trailhead and the trail’s highest point, which is not the mountain’s summit, it’s a 4-mile round trip hike.
The lowest half of Crane Mountain’s trails are challenging, no matter which path one chooses. Camping at Crane Mountain Pond’s campgrounds makes it possible to extend your climb up Crane Mountain into a more extended adventure. You can hike the path leisurely, even with minor children, but keep in mind some steep portions and challenging rock scrambles.
Route 8 in Johnsburg leads to Garnet Lake Road, which becomes a gravel road and then leads to the hiking route. After a T-intersection, turn left into Putnam Cross Road and immediately take a left onto Ski Hi Road. Take the second right after Ski Hi Road to get to the trailhead.
13. West Pueblo Ridge
The Pueblo Mountains in Southeast Oregon conceal one of the region’s natural high-altitude treasures. The vast majority of the Pueblo Mountain Range is comprised of the significantly westward-inclined escarpment known as the West Pueblo Ridge.
One of Oregon’s 100 tallest peaks, and the fourth-highest point in Southeast Oregon, this peak has a prominence of more than 1500 feet at an elevation of 8420 feet. The Desert Trail Association publishes a guide to the weakly designated path that spans the range from south to north and runs along the West Pueblo Ridge. The mountain’s east and west ridge walks are 2nd-class, while the east scramble is 3rd-class.
In addition to the Steens Basalt covering much of Southeast Oregon, the Pueblo Mountain Range has vast quantities of much older metamorphic rock that can be seen along the east-facing escarpment and as pinnacles cutting from ridgelines in the Pueblo Range.
A comparatively small fault tilt like the Pueblo Range, slanted higher than the significant tilts like Steens Mountain and Abert Rim, accounts for its 8000+ altitudes.
12. Marys Peak
With 4,097 feet, Marys Peak is the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range and the most visible peak west of Corvallis. On a clear day, you can spot the Pacific Ocean to the west and several of the Cascade peaks to the east all over the Willamette Valley from Marys Mountain Day Use at the summit of the mount.
Meadowedge Trail, East Ridge Trail, North Ridge Trail, Summit Trail, and Tie Trail are hiking alternatives. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and other non-motorized winter activity are possible when there is snow. The route to the day-use zone, on the other hand, is not maintained for winter vehicles, so use caution.
Marys Peak has been declared a Scenic Botanical Area because of its rich, distinctive landscape and vegetation. A rare Noble fir forest surrounds Marys Peak’s lush, undulating meadows. In the spring and summer, the open fields provide a haven for a wide variety of wildflowers. The wildflower displays in the meadow and rock gardens alter late spring and summer.
In 2015, the Siuslaw National Forest initiated a meadow restoration effort on Marys Peak. They carefully remove trees and replace them with native species as part of their continuous endeavor to restore gorgeous views and historic meadows.
11. Mount Jefferson
Mount Jefferson is the second-highest mountain in Oregon. Because its top pinnacle needs Class 4 climbing on highly steep, generally ice-encrusted rock, some regard it as the most challenging higher volcanoes (over 10,000′).
Mount Jefferson is one of the 57 ultra-prominent summits in the continental United States, with a prominence of over 5,777 feet, and is one of only four peaks on this list from Oregon. Mount Hood, Sacajawea Peak, and South Sister are the other three, with 7,679, 6,388, and 5,588 feet, respectively.
Along with its prominent location, Mount Jefferson lies on the Jefferson-Linn county line and serves as the county highpoint for both counties, making it a “Two-Fer” county highpoint.
Mount Jefferson is an almost undoubtedly extinct stratovolcano that erupted between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago. It can be accessible from Oregon State Highway 22 through U.S. Forest Service roads and trails.
Depending on the path to be climbed, there are two major approaches. You can reach them through the Pamelia Lake and Jefferson Park routes. However, the Whitewater Trail is the most direct way to Jefferson Park. Start at the Pamelia Lake Trailhead if you plan either the South Ridge or Southwest Ridge routes.
10. Grass Mountain
It is one of Oregon’s 73 prominence peaks with a height of 2163 feet, placing it at the 56th spot on the list. However, the mountain has a site where individuals were seen smoking some. As someone who enjoys prominence peak chasing, you’ll find the material here to be of great use.
Don’t forget to pack some snowshoes if you’re planning to snowshoe in late winter or early spring.
You can locate Grass Mountain in the coastal mountains southwest of Corvallis, not far from Mary’s Peak. It’s not a challenging climb, but it’s around 6 miles long and gains about a thousand feet in elevation, making it suitable for your kid’s first hiking experience.
For the most part, you’ll be hiking through dense forests, with a bit of respite to enjoy a view of a grassy area at the top of the mountain. A lookout initially maintained watch over the region, but trees now obscure the view in all but one direction.
You can still see concrete footings here. The highest point is a rock located just north of the concrete foundations.
Humbug Mountain is Oregon’s highest peak on the Pacific Coast.
Coastal mountain climbs are among the most popular in the area. It boasts a marine environment with mild temperatures due to its position.
Summer is the driest season, yet it seldom gets too hot. Temperatures drop significantly during the winter months, even at the highest altitudes. With its old-growth forest and steep terrain, the mountain’s north side offers access through Brush Creek Drainage, which makes cross-country hiking difficult. There are treacherous, slick, and steep slopes on the mountain’s ocean side.
From the parking lot, it’s easy to find the trailhead.
You can reach Humbug Mountain’s 1,765-foot top via a 5.5-mile climb that gives views of the ocean to the south. Additionally, the park is also home to the Oregon Coast Trail.
Hikers can enjoy incredible ocean views along this worn, paved path that has been restricted to automobiles for a long time.
In addition to Table Rock and Monument Rock, Bullrun Rock Monument is one of three glacially sculpted mountains that make up Monument Rock Wilderness. At just around 7,900 feet, Bullrun Rock is the tallest mountain and has the most fabulous views of the three.
Many subalpine and Douglas-fir trees dot the landscape, and many rock outcroppings are ideal for bouldering and rock climbing. Because of their rarity, these peaks provide a tranquil atmosphere to those who ascend them. To reach Bullrun from Bullrun Creek, climbers can follow a trail that starts there. It’s about a 2-mile hike.
You can reach Bullrun Rock through a short but strenuous ascent up the southwest face of the rock, which leads to a small summit ridge and a 150-foot sheer cliff on the other side. The sagebrush desert and Ironside Mountain’s blackened summit cone are visible toward the southeast.
The trek to Bullrun Rock is 2 miles across the top meadow, indicated by a faint and sometimes absent track.
Inexperienced climbers can have a satisfying alpine experience on the Middle Sister, the lowest of the Three Sisters (North Sister and South Sister). In addition to the Pole Creek Trailhead, the peak can be accessible by crossing Hayden Glacier from the east. From this vantage point, you’ll get panoramic views of the surrounding Cascades.
In 2012, Pole Creek Trailhead was the starting point of a massive forest fire, and the area remains dangerous. Taking this route will take you past a stretch of the burn where the vegetation is just starting to recover, and there is minimal shelter.
Hayden Glacier is the shortest and most direct way up the mountain for experienced glacier explorers. Follow the North Sister path up to Collier Glacier’s summit, then climb around Prouty Point and into the saddle where Hayden and Renfrew’s glaciers meet. To reach the top, you’ll have to negotiate a series of rocky scrambles.
Depending on the time of year you choose to climb this mountain, the circumstances might vary drastically. As late as mid-August, crampons and an ice ax are essential for climbing the mountain’s harder upper reaches.
It is possible to summit without crampons and an ice ax between mid-August and October. The last steep stretch of the Middle Sister, on the other hand, is made up of precarious rock, making the ascent to the summit somewhat perilous. Slow down and pay attention to your balance.
6. Odell Butte
If you’re driving through Oregon’s Eastern Cascades, you may not even see this conical summit that is thickly wooded since it lacks any notable features.
The lookout placed atop the mountain is visible from Route 58, and what’s more, it’s still an operational lookout that’s manned and maintained. In the minds of many who “collect,” this is one of the essential lookouts to find in good condition.
This mountain, situated south of Bend, Oregon, is not challenging, but it is significant to those actively attempting to climb all of Oregon’s 75 prominence peaks. Odell Butte is on the #53 on the prominence list, having a prominence of 2192 feet, despite only 73 of the list’s summits having the required 2000 feet of prominence. It is one of the several volcanic cones that dot this region of Oregon.
A road connects to the peak, but it is gated at the top, necessitating a mile-long climb to the top to claim this one. Getting to the highest point requires a little scrambling through some rocks near the viewpoint, which features a benchmark. Aim for the highpoint without utilizing the lookout structure unless the lookout gives permission.
Carpenter’s prominence of 2,029 feet makes it one of 73 mountains on the list of Oregon Prominence Peaks. It has an active lookout, much like Odell Butte. Visitors should park along the Carpenter Peak Trail to access the trail leading to the top.
A magnificent one-mile path with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet awaits them from there. During the last 600 feet of the route, which is steep and rocky, the course becomes moderately challenging. Located atop a volcanic pinnacle, the Carpenter Mountain Lookout provides breathtaking views of Cascade Crest, Wolf Rock, Three Fingered Jack, the Three Sisters, Mount Jefferson, and the Mount Washington Range.
Short yet spectacular rock formations amaze tourists every time they see them on the trail.
You cannot use the lookout during the fire season.
4. Indian Creek Butte
Indian Creek Butte, located on Strawberry Mountain’s west face, rises to 7886 feet above sea level and is the highest point in the Strawberry Mountain series that runs east to west. When seen from the south on the way in, Indian Creek Butte forms a striking skyline at just 1300 feet shorter than its eastern neighbor.
There are elk, pine martins, and peregrine falcons in plenty on the south face of the Strawberry Wilderness, covered with high-altitude wood. The Pine Creek track follows the mountain’s ridge until it reaches the summit block, making it the best option for anyone seeking to reach the peak.
In places, if you look down into the Indian Creek drainage, you can see young ponderosa pine trees emerging from what seems to be a burned-out wasteland on the northern face. You can view a little meadow of wild onions near the head of Indian Creek, unaffected by forest fires if you take the alternate path up Indian creek.
The Pine Creek Trail, which crosses the Strawberry Mountain Range, is the best way to get to Indian Creek Butte. There are two ways to get to this trail: from the south or north side mountain range. The Pine Creek Trail is the quickest and most accessible path, even if many additional options, such as the Table Mountain or Indian Creek Trails. Both routes have a one-way distance of around 5.5 miles; alternative paths are somewhat longer.
3. Prairie Mountain
Prairie Mountain is the 47th most prominent peak in Oregon, with 3,426 feet. The Grass Mountain, situated across a valley from Alsea and its river, is visible from the summit of this mountain. The OPP has Grass Mountain on their radar as well.
There are two summits on Prairie Mountain, one on the east and one on the west. If you want to be sure that you’ve climbed both of these peaks and reached the highest point, many people recommend that you go up both. Hiking both in one day is recommended by many peak baggers since they are both tough yet doable. Both trails are more than four miles long.
It is a half-day family-friendly trek located about 45 minutes from downtown Calgary. Trek over this fantastic outdoor area with steep, gradual climbs and huge grassland and mountain scenic sights.
Add birding in the summer or snowshoeing in the winter to your trip.
Pearsoll Peak is one of the 73 Oregon Prominence Peaks and is ranked 28th on the state’s list. Hiking up Pearsoll Peak is best done in the spring or fall when the weather is mild. Windy weather conditions and high summer heat make reaching the peak almost tricky. There are many routes to the trailhead, but the McCaleb Ranch path is the most popular.
Clear days allow hikers to view the Pacific Ocean, California’s border, and Mount McLaughlin on a clear day from the top of the mountain. You can lease the peak’s highest lookout, Pearsoll Lookout, for overnight stays by making a reservation in advance. The vista from the summit of Pearsoll Peak is definitely worth the climb.
The trailhead at Chetco Pass leads to a network of rugged mining roads, all of which are currently closed to vehicles due to a wooden barrier that surrounds the region. To go around the fence, you’ll have to walk around the end of it. Taking a northern path from the pass is your goal.
As the road climbs north, keep following it. After taking a right turn, the route ascends steeply to the left before taking a switchback turn back right. In June, wildflowers bloom in this region.
1. Eagle Cap
Hikers go to Eagle Cap in northeastern Oregon because it’s one of the state’s best climbing spots. Eagle Cap Wilderness is known as its “crown treasure in the Wallowa Mountains.” Lake Basin, a popular photographing location in the state, is only a short distance from the peak, which offers stunning views of the mountain and its reflection.
Getting to the Wallowa Mountains’ central summit is not for the faint of heart.
Eagle Cap, the Wallowa Mountains’ rock node at 9,572 feet, gives rise to eight valleys extending outward. Despite its lack of height, Eagle Cap’s 360-degree vista is unparalleled, and a well-graded route rises to the top from the East Lostine River meadows.
Many hikers choose to spend the night on the trail, allowing them to savor the experience fully. The best time to hike Eagle Cap is from July through October.
A two-day excursion is necessary if your objective is to reach the top. Spend the day in the Lostine Meadows or Mirror Lake to better look at the cliff-edged summit.
On the trails and in the campsites, groups must not exceed 12. At least 100 feet away from lake coastlines, horses must be grazed at least 200 feet away, and campfires are prohibited within a quarter-mile of Mirror Lake.
The 14.8-mile round-trip climb to Mirror Lake rises 2,020 feet in elevation, making it challenging to complete in a single day. If you’re going to Eagle Camp, you’ll need at least two days to cover the 19.8-mile trek, which raises 4,000 feet in altitude.
Tips for a Safe Mountain Adventure
So, if you’re planning a vacation to the mountains, here are some things to consider:
- First, Check the Weather. Ascertain your destination since weather conditions in mountainous areas can change rapidly.
- Dress Appropriately: If you’ve checked the forecast for the weather, you’ll also know what clothing and shoes to wear to be warm and comfortable. In general, sturdy shoes, thermals, and a lightweight down feather jacket should work unless you’re traveling to an icy location.
- Use Cash Instead of Your Credit Card: ATMs may not operate in distant regions such as mountain communities. Remember that many tiny eateries and shops only take cash, so bring enough with you if you want to visit any local eateries or shops to pick up some souvenirs (which you should!).
- Take Just What You Need and Plan: You’ll have to lug around whatever you’ve packed into your luggage all by yourself. So, you must pack just the clothes and equipment you need for your journey.
- Obtain Basic Health Insurance: Even if you don’t go out of your way to take risks, any mountain journey is a pretty risky business. We hope it doesn’t happen, but some hazards include – sprains, joint pains, fractures, breathing problems (due to higher altitudes), or even just food poisoning from something you ate.
- Enough Food and Water: You must remain hydrated and eat enough food to maintain your energy level. Include protein bars, dried fruits, and ready-to-eat snacks in your pack. Additionally, you should bring a refillable water bottle to ensure that you have adequate water. Carry plenty but not too much, since you need to travel light.
- Bring Some Handy Essentials: You will need a few necessities to have a flawless and delightful mountain adventure experience. It contains essentials such as hygiene, sunglasses, sunscreen, a power bank, and maybe a torch and a map (to avoid draining your phone’s battery!).
The Oregon mountains offer a wealth of natural beauty and adventure for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors. From the rugged terrain of the Wallowa Mountains to the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Range, there is no shortage of stunning landscapes to discover. Each mountain range in Oregon has its own unique features and attractions, making it easy to find the perfect destination for any type of outdoor enthusiast.
Whether you’re an experienced climber looking to tackle challenging routes or a casual hiker seeking a scenic stroll, the Oregon mountains have something for everyone. With miles of trails to explore, breathtaking vistas to admire, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, it’s no wonder why the mountains in Oregon are such a popular destination for adventurers and nature lovers alike.
But the beauty of the Oregon mountains goes beyond their physical features. These mountains are also home to diverse ecosystems and wildlife, providing a vital habitat for many species. From the lush forests that blanket the slopes to the crystal-clear streams that flow through the valleys, the natural wonders of the Oregon mountains are truly awe-inspiring.
In addition to their natural beauty and ecological significance, the Oregon mountains also hold a special place in the hearts of many people. For generations, these mountains have inspired artists, writers, and adventurers alike, and continue to capture the imaginations of people from all walks of life.
In short, the Oregon mountains are a true treasure, offering endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. So whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a first-time hiker, be sure to add the mountains in Oregon to your list of must-visit destinations. You won’t be disappointed!