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9 Best Mountains to Climb in Oregon

Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. From Mount Hood (11,249′) just an hour from Portland to Mount Thielsen, a shattered volcanic spire in the Central Oregon desert.

On this list, we'll explore 9 of the best mountains to climb in Oregon. None of the peaks on this list are suited for beginners, but all see many ascents a year.

Use caution in where and when you choose to climb as mountains like Jefferson and Hood may seem tame from afar but have claimed tens of lives.

Best Mountains to Climb in Oregon Map

Use our interactive map to find a mountain close to you and navigate to your destination!

9. Mount Bailey (Youxlokes)

Location: Idleyld Park

Height: 8,375′

Popular Summit Trail: Mount Bailey Trail

Difficulty: 5/10

One of the shortest mountains on this list, Mount Bailey requires a 10-mile out and back trip.

Central Oregon landscape near Mount Bailey
A view of the Central Oregon landscape near Mount Bailey

It's a young shield volcano in Central Oregon that's located across Diamond Lake from Mount Thielsen. It's a great first Cascade peak if the taller, snowier mountains in Oregon feel too intimidating. Prior to European colonization and mountaineering, the Native people of the region summited the peak and held ceremonies, feasts, and vigils on the summit.

8. Mount McLoughlin (M'laiksini Yaina)

Location: Butte Falls

Height: 9,493′

Popular Summit Trail: Mount McLoughlin Trail

Difficulty: 5/10

While not the grandest peak on this list, Mount McLoughlin is a Cascade volcano in its own right. It's over 9,000 feet tall, dormant, and an easy summit for someone looking to tick their way through the major Cascade peaks in Oregon. It requires a nearly 11-mile round trip but gains around 4,000 feet in elevation.

Mountains of the World

7. North Sister

Location: Lane and Deschutes counties

Height: 10,085′

Popular Summit Trail: Summit via Obsidian Trailhead

Difficulty: 7/10

Middle and North Sister from South Sister
Middle and North Sister from South Sister

The North Sister is the farthest north of the Three Sisters in Central Oregon.

In summer, it's common to see the mountain entirely without snow. But in the winter, it's a very different peak. The steep, often loose sides make it a rare summit for most hikers and mountaineers in the area. But, ascents do happen throughout the season (as do ski descents!).

There are several routes to the summit, but the easiest ones are the only ones that see regular ascents. Most ascents actually happen in the winter and are generally considered to be safer (due to less loose rock).

6. South Sister

Location: Lane and Deschutes counties

Height: 10,358 ft

Popular Summit Trail: South Sister Summit Trail

Difficulty: 6/10

Looking at South Sister from the summit of Broken Top
Looking at South Sister from the summit of Broken Top

The South Sister climb is a PNW classic. With only 4,900 feet of gain and a long season, South Sister sees hundreds of summits a year.

It's a gorgeous trail though, with fantastic views of Broken Top and the other central Oregon peaks all the way up. Plus, the view from the top is near-unbeatable for Oregon. With the other two sisters right in front of you, it's truly impressive.

It takes about 9 hours to finish the whole summit, so, much faster than several other mountains on this list. Plus, it's one of the closest mountains to Bend, Oregon, and one of the best mountains to climb in Oregon in the winter.

5. Broken Top

Location: Deschutes County

Height: 9,177′

Popular Summit Trail: Broken Top Summit Trail

Difficulty: 6/10

Broken Top is sometimes overlooked on lists of Oregon peaks, but it deserves a high spot on a list of the best Oregon mounts to climb!

Probably because it's nestled in the shadow of the Three Sisters, Broken Top sees far fewer ascents than its taller neighbor. Broken Top is a shattered volcanic remnant that requires a not-too-long approach and a very exposed scramble along a ridgeline. Some parties choose to rope up for a few class 5 (or high 4) moves towards the top.

4. Diamond Peak

Location: Klamath and Lane Counties

Height: 8,748′

Popular Summit Trail: Diamond Peak via Pacific Crest Trail

Difficulty: 4/10

View from the top of Diamond Peak early in the morning
View from the top of Diamond Peak early in the morning

Diamond Peak is an 8,748' peak in Central Oregon.

It is a simple mountain climb from a forest service road. It uses sections of the PCT and only has a few sections where hikers need to be mindful of conditions.

3. Mount Jefferson (Seekseekqua)

Location: Jefferson, Linn, and Marion Counties, Oregon

Height: 10,502 ft

Popular Summit Trail: Whitewater Glacier

Difficulty: 9/10

Mt. Jefferson
A stunning view of Mt. Jefferson

Mount Jefferson is a Central Oregon stratovolcano and the second-highest mountain in Oregon after Mt. Hood.

It last erupted in 950 AD. The mountain's slopes are popular with tourists and locals alike. But, successful summit climbs are much rarer.

Mount Jefferson has a reputation for being dangerous, unpredictable, and covered in loose rock. Near the top, mountaineers are faced with a steep traverse through a "no fall" zone, where rock fall is widespread, before facing the final challenge of the summit block.

2. Mount Thielsen (Big Cowhorn)

Location: Douglas and Klamath Counties, Oregon

Height: 9,184 ft

Popular Summit Trail: Mt. Thielsen Summit Trail

Difficulty: 5/10

View of Mount Thielsen from the road
View of Mount Thielsen from the road

Mount Thielsen is an extinct volcano in Central Oregon.

Its unusual shape and easy scramble route attract hikers and climbers from around the Pacific Northwest. The well-maintained first part of the trail meets the Pacific Crest Trail along the upper slopes of Mount Thielsen before heading straight up through a scree field.

Hikers should be aware that a Class 3 or 4 scramble up an 80-foot rock spire is required to reach the true summit. Despite this, the trail can be quite crowded in the summer.

Recently, scientists have determined that the Thielsen Glacier has completely disappeared (due to rising yearly temperatures).

1. Mount Hood (Wy'east)

Location: Clackamas/Hood River Counties

Height: 11,249 feet

Popular Summit Trail: Southside from Timberline Lodge

Difficulty: 7/10

Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon and the most prominent for residents of Portland, Vancouver (Washington), and the towns along the Columbia River Gorge.

Scientists believe the volcano is "potentially" active but do not think an eruption is going to happen anytime soon. In fact, Mount Hood is known as a prime skiing destination, offering locals and tourists incredible views of the Pacific Northwest from the Timberline Lodge.

It's also at the Lodge that most summit climbs begin. Mount Hood is considered to be a straightforward glacier climb that's best completed in the late spring and early summer. Later or early conditions may mean mountaineers are faced with sheets of steep ice, up to 50 degrees, or loose, dangerous rockfall.


What is the tallest mountain in Oregon?

The tallest mountain in Oregon is Mount Hood. It is 11,240 feet tall. But, it pales in comparison to the tallest peaks in the Cascades, like Mount Rainier, which hits an amazing 14,411 feet.

What is the easiest mountain to climb in Oregon?

There are many easy mountains to climb in Oregon. Some in the Columbia River Gorge include Hamilton Mountain, Dog Mountain, and Larch Mountain. The Elk to King's Mountain Loop is also popular with hikers looking to bag two easy peaks for the price of one.

What is the hardest mountain to climb in Oregon?

The hardest mountain to climb in Oregon is Mount Jefferson. It is likely followed close behind by North Sister. Both require plenty of technical skills to complete safety.

Can a beginner climb Mt. Adams?

Mt. Adams requires little to no technical knowledge. So, a beginner with crampons, an ice ax, and hopefully a helmet at least on hand can climb the mountain successfully and safely.

What is the most beautiful mountain in Oregon?

We think the most beautiful mountain in Oregon is Mount Thielsen, due primarily to how incredibly unusual it's among the large, glaciated peaks of the Cascades.

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