The Best Spots For Hiking In & Around Portland, Oregon

Columbia River Gorge | © Bala/WikiCommons
Columbia River Gorge | © Bala/WikiCommons
Photo of Alexia Wulff
9 February 2017

Surrounded by the diverse wilderness of Oregon‘s many parks, mountain ranges, and rivers, Portland plays host to many hikes not only within the city’s boundaries but also just a short drive from downtown. Whether you’re an avid hiker on the lookout for rugged terrain, or just a casual nature lover looking for an escape from the city, read on to discover the best hikes in and around Portland.

Hikes Within Portland

Portland, a hustling and bustling city set within a stone’s throw from Mount Hood, is a city known for its beer scene, coffeehouses, and thriving cultural vibe. It’s also a nature lover’s town, with the Columbia and Willamette rivers winding through the city and numerous parks and wilderness areas perfect for even the most experienced of hikers.

Head to Tryon Creek, a state park located primarily within Portland, for views of urban forestlands and plenty of hiking trails. For an easier hike, make your way down the Inner Loop (1.9 miles), or opt for a more moderate hike on the Outer Loop, which circles around 5.7 miles of the park’s stunning oasis.

Powell Butte is Portland’s nature area filled with trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Here, take in the scenery of the city amongst the lush natural life while walking along the Powell Butte Loop, a hike around the park and along the vast grass area of the extinct volcano (4.3 miles).

For over 5,000 acres of wilderness, head to Portland’s most popular center for nature, Forest Park; fit with dozens of trails for hiking and biking, bird-watching, and large maple trees, Forest Park makes for a perfect escape from the city. Head down Maple Trail, one of the best hikes in the park, for a tree-filled walk (8.2 miles), or opt for a longer hike from Newton Road to Newberry Road, which heads to the most northern part of the park.

Trees in Forest Park, Portland, Oregon | © Adamneil/Good Free Photos

Marquam Nature Park boasts over 190 acres of wilderness and over five miles of scenic trails with stunning views of the city. Head up to Council Crest (3.3 miles) for panoramic mountain views, or take the Park Loop for a tranquil four-mile-long hike.

Mount Tabor, a 197-acre volcanic park, is home to a dormant volcano that has been extinct for over 300,000 years. Take a tour of the area, its reservoirs, and the summit of the volcano while hiking along the Blue Trail (3.3 miles), or opt for an easier hike down the Green Trail, which is less than two miles long.

The Pittock Mansion Hike is said to be one of the most memorable hikes in Portland. Head up the Wildwood Trail to the historic Pittock Mansion where you’ll find some of the most scenic views of Portland (five miles).

Portland, OR and Mount Hood from Pittock Mansion | © Steven Pavlov/Wikicommons

Hikes Near Portland

Sauvie Island is just a short ten-mile drive from Portland. Situated along the Columbia River, this 26,000-acre island is one of the largest river islands in the US, with many hikes through the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, like the Oak Island hike (2.8 miles) or the longer trek to Warrior Point (seven miles).

Mount Hood National Forest, located only 20 miles east of Portland, is one of Oregon’s most prized, and stunningly beautiful, forests. Spanning over 60 miles of mountains, lush wilderness, lakes, and streams, Mt. Hood makes for the perfect hiking destination. Head down the Tygh Creek Trail for a long, but easy, hike through pine trees (13.7 miles); check out Jackpot Meadows for a more strenuous mountainous hike through winding creeks (six miles); or go for a short five-mile hike to Umbrella Falls.

Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake, Oregon, USA | Public Domain/Wikicommons

Oxbow Regional Park is only a little over 20 miles from Portland, boasting over 1,000 acres of wilderness along the Sandy River. Here, find 12 miles of trails, including the Oxbow Loop, an abandoned logging route that traverses through the trees (5.4 miles).

Oxbow Park, Oregon | © Sam Beebe/Ecotrust/Wikicommons

Mount St. Helens – although it’s located out-of-state in neighboring Washington – is only 50 miles northeast of Portland. For breathtaking views of the active volcano, mountains, and vast meadows, head down the Butte Camp Trail for an unforgettable hiking experience (eight miles).

Mount St Helens | Public Domain/Wikicommons

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