As warmer weather and sunny days begin to frequent the Pacific Northwest, the need to adventure into the outdoors is heightened. Travel restrictions are beginning to be lifted for parks and trails in Oregon and Idaho, it’s the perfect time to cure that cabin fever.
Across Oregon and Idaho, city, county, state and national parks are subject to various orders governing when they can open and under what conditions. This network of parks and green spaces, overseen by many government agencies, are in various stages of phasing in public-opening schedules. Plus, those plans are subject to day-to-day changes, depending on a number of factors — including weather, park conditions and crowding issues.
Check Park & Trail Status
Before you start planning for your next hiking adventure, its is a good idea to check with your local Parks & Recreation websites to confirm the location is open and for any travel advisory updates.
Hiking in the Pacific Northwest
Sweet Creek Falls Trail – Oregon
(Near Mapleton/Central Coast)
The next time you’re driving the Oregon Coast Scenic Highway and want to take a side trip with the kids, follow the Siuslaw River near Florence to Sweet Creek Falls. The trailhead is easy to find, and the trail is mostly flat. We love this trail because of its numerous waterfalls. Kids of all ages will be impressed with waterfalls around every bend. In the summer, take off your shoes and wade in the cool water. This is a kid favorite!
Watchman Peak Trail – Oregon
(Crater Lake National Park, Southern Oregon)
Everyone’s bucket list should include Crater Lake. If you’re a hiker and want to find one of the best views in the park, follow the Watchman Peak Trail to the top. The trail is steep but not terribly long, and there are places to rest along the way. At the top of trail, you’ll find an active fire lookout tower and a spectacular view of the lake.
McKenzie River Trail – Oregon
This isn’t just the best waterfall hike — this is the best hike for ancient lava flows, crystal clear water, hot springs, natural wonders… From hikers to mountain bikers, every person on this trail comes across as friendly. It is the iconic forest trail. It’s one of the most popular trails in Oregon, yet it’s never crowded. Just west of Clear Lake is Sahalie Falls, a stunning waterfall with a wheelchair-accessible viewing platform just off the parking lot. Those who are up for hiking can venture down the 1-mile-loop trail to Koosah Falls.
Swan Falls Dam and Park | Idaho
Swan Falls offers many places to explore along the south side of the Snake River. No matter which designated campsite you choose to post up at, you’re sure to get outstanding canyon views. Be sure to bring your fishing rod (and fishing license) on this particular hike, small mouth bass can be found in the calmer waters along the banks of the river.
Ridge to Rivers Trail System | Idaho
Explore over 190 miles of expansive, interconnected trails in the Boise Foothills. You could spend days hiking or biking the Ridge to Rivers Trail System and never hit the same trail twice. No matter which route you choose, you’re bound to find adventure and amazing views around every corner.
Practice Safe Social Distancing
According to the National Recreation and Park Association, it is important to continue social distancing while using parks and trails. They advise that all users should follow these recommendations:
- Refrain from using parks or trails if they are exhibiting symptoms.
- Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails.
- Prepare for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains.
- While on trails, warn other users of their presence and as they pass, and step aside to let others pass.
- Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings including outdoor picnicking, pick-up sports and other group hangouts, and maintain proper physical distance at all times.
- Observe CDC’s minimum recommended physical distancing of 6 feet from other individuals at all times. If this is not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart that space.
- Consult their local and state ordinances and guidelines for the most up to date recommendations on park and trail use.