The Pacific Northwest draws visitors from all over, enticed by the scenic coastline, verdant valleys and breathtaking mountains. With easy access to the great outdoors, Portland is a perfect destination for hikers. Enjoy urban walks and hiking trails in forested parks and lush gardens scattered throughout the city, or take a short drive to explore alpine lake hikes near Mount Hood and waterfall trails in the Columbia River Gorge.
Things to Know About Hiking Around Portland
Is Portland good for hiking?
What are some easy hikes in Portland?
What are some difficult hikes in Portland?
What are the best hikes in Forest Park?
What are the best hikes with a dog in Portland?
What are the best short hikes near Portland?
North of downtown on Sauvie Island, you’ll find many short-but-sweet walks, like Oak Island Nature Trail or Wapato Access Greenway Trail.
What are the best hikes within an hour of Portland?
Where to Hike in Portland
Portland is a walker’s paradise. The wide sidewalks (and short blocks) of downtown make for pleasant strolling. The many trails and natural spaces throughout the city provide a quick escape from the attractions that fill Portland’s neighborhoods. From the stairways hidden in the Alameda neighborhood, to historic homes near Laurelhurst Park, to the walk to the top of Mt. Tabor Park or Council Crest, you’ll be surprised how easy Portland makes it to walk, hike or bird your way around the area.
At 5,100 acres (2,064 ha), Forest Park boasts more than 80 miles (129 km) of paths and is one of the largest urban forests in the United States. On any given day, you’ll find trail runners, dog walkers, families and outdoor enthusiasts enjoying every inch of Forest Park. With clearly marked trails and paths in every direction, you can explore this urban oasis from any of its 40 access points.
A National Recreation Trail, Forest Park’s Wildwood Trail stretches for more than 30 miles (48.3 km) through the Tualatin Hills (also known as the West Hills) from the Newberry Road Trailhead to the north and the Wildwood Trailhead near the Oregon Zoo. The Wildwood Trail’s highest point is at the historic Pittock Mansion, and the southern part of the trail passes through Washington Park and Hoyt Arboretum.
From the fields of Macleay Park in Northwest Portland, it’s less than a mile (1.6 km) to the Wildwood Trail. Once you pass the Stone House, known to Portlanders as the “Witch’s House,” you can ascend to Pittock Mansion or explore one of the seven loop trails of varying lengths that will take you into the forest and through neighborhood streets.
If you start at Macleay Park, the nearly 6-mile (9.6 km) out-and-back hike up to the Pittock Mansion is rated “moderate” and has a 950-foot (290 m) elevation gain. This route follows the Wildwood Trail through the Bird Alliance of Oregon (formerly Portland Audubon). For a shorter trek with no switchbacks, try a 4-mile (6.4 km) out-and-back from Washington Park that offers many undisturbed views of the city and Mount Hood.
Hoyt Arboretum showcases 2,000 species of trees and shrubs on 189 acres (76.5 ha) of hilly terrain within Washington Park. An interpretive center at this “living museum” offers restrooms and a gift shop, plus maps and brochures. The arboretum’s 21 trails cover 12 miles (19.3 km); of these, 2 miles (3.2 km) of trail are suitable for wheelchairs, strollers and visitors who appreciate firm footing.
The 4T Trail is a self-guided tour that lets you explore the city — and see some of the best views — without a car. Instead, you’ll rely on the 4 T’s: trail, tram, trolley and train. The tour takes about four hours, five dollars and a bit of leg power. The route is well marked with signs and involves about 2.5 miles (4 km) of walking.
Hoyt Arboretum: Portland’s Museum of Trees
Hoyt Arboretum is Portland’s “living museum of trees” — and is home to 2,300 species of trees and shrubs, as well as 12 miles (19.3 km) of hiking trails in Washington Park near downtown Portland.
Exploring Portland’s Extinct Volcanoes
Portland is home to four extinct volcanoes — some dating back millions of years. Here’s how to enjoy hiking, shooting hoops, picnicking and more on these natural wonders.
Mount Tabor Park
Mount Tabor Park, a century-old public space, is known for its open-air reservoirs, forested hiking trails, sunset picnics, epic city views, its annual Adult Soapbox Derby, and, yes, its volcanic cinder cone.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area
Spend a day walking a lush, flower-filled canyon in Oregon’s only urban state park.
Just north of Portland's Belmont neighborhood sits Laurelhurst Park, one of the city's most scenic escapes with over 300 trees, a duck pond and an array of free public events.
World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
Tree- and forest-lovers of all ages can learn about the importance of sustainability and experience a Portland icon at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, with exhibits on local and global forests.
The 4T trail is a self-guided tour that lets you explore the city — and see some of the best views — without a car.
Mt. Tabor Park
Located east of the shops and restaurants of Southeast Hawthorne, Mt. Tabor Park offers paved and natural-surface trails that wind through evergreen forest and to the top of a 636-foot (194 m) extinct cinder cone volcano, where you’ll enjoy great views of the city skyline. Pack a picnic, challenge yourself with some reps up the stairs near Southeast 69th Avenue or circle the picturesque reservoirs on the park’s west side.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Minutes from downtown Portland, between the Willamette River and Sellwood-Moreland, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a haven for birds and walkers. The park’s Bluff Trail connects to the Springwater Corridor on the Willamette for a 2.3-mile (3.7 km) loop that offers views of marshland favored by scores of great blue herons, as well as the vintage rides of Oaks Amusement Park.
Powell Butte Nature Park
The views from Powell Butte, another extinct cinder cone volcano, will not disappoint. On a clear day, you can see five peaks in the Cascade Range, from Mount Rainier in the north to Mount Jefferson in the south, and is a stunning park for a sunrise hike. These 611 acres (247.3 ha) of meadowland and forest — home to birds of prey, gray foxes, skunks, bats and mule deer — offer over 9 miles (14.5 km) of trails for mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders as well as a 0.6-mile (1 km), paved accessible trail. This park is gated, so be sure to check the seasonal hours before you hit the trail.
Kelley Point Park
Kelley Point Park is at the very tip of North Portland, where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers converge. For a scenic sunrise, take the Kelley Point Loop trail. Mount Saint Helens and Mount Hood make cameo appearances at points along the 1.7-mile (2.7 km) loop through a cottonwood grove. Keep your eyes open for seabirds, and settle down by the water’s edge.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area
Along Portland’s southwest border lies Tryon Creek State Park, a 670-acre (271.1 ha) forest featuring 8 miles (12.9 km) of hiking trails, a 0.3-mile (0.5 km) accessible trail and a nature center. Tryon Creek wends through the park, with many wooden bridges offering views from above.
Willamette River Walks
For more urban ambles, enjoy the sculptures, fountains and gardens along the riverside Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, South Waterfront Park, Willamette Park and Sellwood Riverfront Park. Many of these areas include crossings over the bridges of Portland.
Hiking the Columbia River Gorge
If you love hiking, it’s almost impossible to imagine a visit to Portland without a jaunt to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The iconic and accessible Multnomah Falls is just the start. The gorge offers multiple trails to some of the most beautiful waterfall hikes near Portland, including Latourell, Wahclella, Shepperd’s Dell, Bridal Veil, Horsetail and Elowah. In some places, the falls can be viewed mere yards from the parking areas. In others, enjoy a hike first — some up to 6 miles (9.6 km) or more. Closer to Portland, the Eagle Creek Trailhead offers trails to more waterfalls, like Tunnel and Punchbowl Falls.
The trails to the waterfalls can often be crowded, but there are plenty of breathtaking views to find. Choose the moderate, nearly 5-mile (8 km) round-trip trek to Angel’s Rest, the over 7 mile (11 km) loop trail at Cape Horn with stunning views of the river, or the 1.8-mile (2.9 km) trail exploring Beacon Rock. Use the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website to help plan your trip.
Rowena Plateau has it all: flowers, wildlife and gorgeous Columbia River Gorge views, and a memorable sunrise for the early risers. Clocking in at a little over 2 miles (3.2 km) out and back, this plateau hike is ideal for those seeking minimal exertion while reaping maximum sunrise rewards. It’s a doable hike for families; unfortunately, your furry friends will have to stay home for this one.
Dog Mountain is an enduring favorite of Portlanders despite its Washington state locale. While the full length of the hike stretches 7 miles (11 km), for a hike this early, we recommend stopping off at the lower viewpoint 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in to watch the sunrise from an elevation of 1,600 feet (488 m). Marvel at the Columbia River glittering below and the blooms during wildflower season. In addition to the Northwest Forest parking pass required to leave your car near the trailhead, each hiker must purchase a $1.50 permit on the weekends between March 31 and July 1.
Mount Hood Hikes
The slopes of Mount Hood are famous for great wintertime sports. Mt. Hood National Forest’s wooded splendor makes the mountain a top-notch spot for all-season hikes as well. If your family is looking for some crisp mountain air, try the loop trail around Lost Lake while taking in Mount Hood’s mesmerizing reflection. Avoid the usual summertime crowds by making the extra early; you’ll be rewarded with front row seats to the rosy rays of dawn creeping over Mount Hood and reflecting on the 245-acre (99 hectare) lake below. This 3.2-mile (5 km) loop is easy enough that even sleepy kiddos will be impressed
See some remaining old-growth trees along the Salmon River Trail, with multiple access points allowing for hikes as short as 1 mile (1.6 km) or as long as 8 miles (12.9 km). From more great paths among old-growth forests, try the Wildwood Recreation Area, which is open from spring to fall and connects to several trailheads with hikes from 4 miles (6.4 km) to 10 miles (16 km) in length.
Mount Hood offers scenic recreation ranging from camping, hiking and fishing to nearly year-round skiing.
With an emerald backdrop and riverside paths, outdoor adventure awaits.
Famous for its abundance of picturesque waterfalls, Silver Falls State Park is the largest state park in Oregon at 9,200 acres (3723 hectares) and one of the most popular.
More Hikes Near Portland
Head 70 miles (113 km) northwest of Portland for eye-popping 360º views from Saddle Mountain’s 3,290-foot (1,003 m) summit. Although steep at times, the 2.5-mile (4 km) hike to the top promises majestic views of the Pacific Ocean’s blue expanse, Washington’s Mount Rainer and everything in between.
Silver Falls State Park is the largest state park in Oregon, located 54 miles (86.9 km) south of Portland. The park includes two day-use areas, a campground and scenic waterfalls. To see them all, hike the Trail of Ten Falls, a moderate 8-mile (13 km) loop. This roughly three-hour hike is a designated National Recreation Trail and allows visitors to walk directly behind four different waterfalls.
Soft Hiking in Portland
A collection of accessible soft hikes perfect for leisurely strolls, low-impact exercise and lots of meandering dilly-dallying.
Accessible Trails in and Near Portland
Portland and the Columbia River Gorge are filled with hiking opportunities for everybody, many of which have Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible trails.
Spring Hikes Near Portland
There’s something special about the first spring hike of the year. Enjoy wildflowers, bird watching and breathtaking scenery on these springtime rambles.
Best Spots for Spring Flowers
Find your favorite blooms, from roses to rhododendrons and tulips to trilliums, with our guide to spring flowers in Portland.
Bird-Watching in Portland
Catch sight of 200+ types of birds at the Portland area's dozens of prime bird watching destinations, including sanctuaries, refuges and urban parks.
Fall Hikes Near Portland
These fall hikes near Portland prove that autumn is an ideal time to explore Oregon wilderness, admire seasonal flora and fauna, and visit nearby farms.
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