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Shortly I'm planning a drive from central Oregon up to Seattle. It's a longer drive than I want to do without stopping, but I have all day to do it. My plan therefore was to stop at several points along the way, and go do a short hike (eg 0.5-2 hours) at each pause.

What I'm struggling with is working out where to stop along the way. In the UK, I'd stalk along my proposed route with Ordnance Survey 1:50k maps, looking for likely carparks just off the route with walking trails and/or lookouts nearby.

For this trip, I'm using google maps, but even when zoomed in I can't spot anything equivalent. Even for a place I passed on the way here which I know has a trail-head carpark and several walks of varying length. Around cities it seems pretty good (eg looking at some of the areas around Portland), but out in the countryside I'm struggling.

Are there any good resources for finding shortish (less than half a day) walks, with marked trails (no maps or similar required, so beginner / family friendly) starting from near major roads (interstates, US routes, bigger state routes) in the Pacific North West? With all the mountains and all the driving round here, I'd hope there is, just need help finding it!

  • There's a lot of central Oregon. Can you be more specific? Also, are you sure you have enough time for this? Just Portland to Seattle can take three hours in light traffic. – Michael Hampton Jul 26 '15 at 3:48
  • @MichaelHampton Google Maps thinks 5 hours, I'm planning to take 10ish, so that's a fair bit of walking :) I figured that asking for specific trails would be too specific, while finding out how to find my own migh tbe more useful to others in future – Gagravarr Jul 26 '15 at 4:07
  • Since you couldn't be more specific, I just assumed Bend, Oregon, and went searching. It looks pretty bleak... – Michael Hampton Jul 26 '15 at 4:13
  • How did you get on? – Michael Hampton Sep 12 '15 at 5:36
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Google Maps actually can be a good resource for this, though you'll have to do some manual searching. The key is to look for light green spaces in the map view (not the earth view...and this could be a problem if you're colorblind). When you zoom in sufficiently, in most of these the name of that area will appear. You can then click on the name to get more information.

Seminary Hill Natural Area

(I did take a look myself, and there really isn't that much directly next to the route; most places that look like they might be worth stopping at will be at least a few miles out of the way.)

If a name doesn't appear in such an area, it's either private land and not open to the public, a large state or national area of some sort, or Google knows nothing about it for some other reason.

For instance, this route passes through Mt. Hood National Forest, which has its own web site listing hiking trails and providing its own topo maps. From there I can see that you will pass by or near numerous trailheads. I also saw on the website that some trailheads require fees to park your car, so that's something you will want to check in advance.

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