January by Matt Reeder

1. Ecola State Park

2. Bayocean Spit

3. Mount Tabor

4. Oxbow Regional Park

5. Moulton Falls

6. Latourell, Shepperds Dell and Bridal Veil Falls

7. Mosier Twin Tunnels

8. Stacker Butte

9. Deschutes River: Heritage Landing and Ferry Springs

10. Deschutes River Trail

It’s January. The days are short, the nights are long, and it’s rainy and cold most days. After the holidays you just want to get out and hike, and start working yourself back into shape for spring. You’ll even deal with rain just to get a good hike in. Fear not - these ten hikes are excellent ways to spend a January day! With short days and low snow levels, these hikes are the best of what is out there this time of year.

There are a few things you need to know about hiking in January. As always, you need to be prepared for conditions wherever you end up going. This means the ten essentials, a full tank of gas and a charged phone. If it’s been very cold recently, stay out of the Gorge - the roads and trails will be dangerously icy. This of course is an excellent time to go to the Coast. I’m going to tell you a secret: in the winter, it is often warmer on the Coast than it is in the Valley. Watch weather forecasts closely, as every now and then you can catch a random 65 degree day on the Coast. Such days are the sustenance that will help get you through another Oregon winter. It is worth driving home in the dark after a glorious day at Ecola State Park or Bayocean Spit (or other nearby destinations, which you can find inother chapters).

Last but not least, the eastern end of the Gorge is an excellent escape in January. While most of the hikes in this area can be found in other chapters (primarily March and April, during peak wildflower season), the mouth of the Deschutes River makes for an excellent winter escape. The first time I visited the area, it was 48 degrees and rainy in Portland, but 65 degrees and sunny along the Deschutes River. Located in what is essentially desert, the weather is cold but often sunny in winter. Plan on a trip out there at some point in January, where you’ll find hikes from 4 to 40 miles.

Wherever you go, you’ll be sure to have an excellent time provided you took the time to prepare for whatever you might encounter in January. You should always be prepared!