Outdoors

Portland is the perfect launchpad for outdoor activities and adventure.

Home to a sprawling urban forest, dozens of verdant public parks, gorgeous gardens and a sparkling river running through the middle of the city, there’s never a shortage of ways to explore Portland’s outdoors. Whether you’re a fan of flowers, tranquil gardens, urban hikes or just looking to get some fresh air, Portland has something for every kind of outdoor enthusiast covered. Read on for our guides to getting outside, then head to our events calendar to find even more things to do outdoors in Portland.

Know Before You Go

As of June 30, 2021, COVID restrictions have been lifted in Portland and the state of Oregon. While events are now allowed, some events may still be canceled, postponed or held virtually. Please check the event website for the most up-to-date information.

Parks and Gardens

Known as "The City of Roses," Portland is home to over 275 public parks and gardens.

Where to Walk

In addition to Portland’s many pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, your feet can take you to some fantastic places around town.

Hiking in Portland

Get out and explore the many trails and nature areas within and near the city.

Top 5

Urban Walking Spots

Explore these verdant strolling destinations throughout the city.

  • Mt. Tabor Park

    This popular park features expansive views, picnic areas, natural-surface and paved paths, a dog off-leash area, a playground and a performance stage, plus tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

  • Laurelhurst Park

    Surrounding a scenic lake, Laurelhurst Park was the first city park named to the National Register of Historic Places. It offers picnic and play areas, a dog off-leash area and a horseshoe pit, plus basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.

  • Washington Park

    Washington Park is one of the oldest, most popular parks in Portland. It features 15 miles of trails and more than 400 acres of trees, gardens, playgrounds and attractions.

  • Forest Park

    Portland’s 5,200-acre urban forest, just minutes from the central city, stretches seven miles in length and contains more than 80 miles of trails.

  • The Grotto

    This clifftop site features 62 acres of lush gardens and dozens of intricately carved shrines. Built as a Catholic sanctuary in 1924, the Grotto welcomes over 300,000 visitors of all faiths each year and hosts an iconic Christmas celebration.

Seasonal Outdoor Fun

All four seasons in Portland offer their own unique set of fun events and experiences.

Making the Outdoors Accessible to All

These five fantastic local organizations are helping people of every culture, race and ethnicity experience the Pacific Northwest's natural beauty.

Camping in and Near Portland

Immerse yourself in nature with a camping trip near the city.

Yurt Camping Near Portland

Yurt camping near Portland offers a midway point between primitive camping and glamping with electricity, heating, windows and wooden floors.

Camping Near Portland

To truly appreciate the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, spend a memorable night under the stars at these scenic campsites located within an easy drive from the city.

RV Parks in and Near Portland

This guide to RV parks near Portland offers comfortable and convenient locations to park, whether you’re craving a woodland adventure, an urban exploration or just a great roadside view as you travel cross-country.

Explore Local Wildlife

Discover these wildlife natural areas and activities in Portland.

Wildlife Preserves

Experience nature not far from the city's hustle and bustle at these wildlife preserves.

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.

Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary

The Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary is a great starting place for hiking Forest Park and (of course) bird-watching.

Water Sports and Adventure

From waterfalls to the Willamette River, Portland offers endless opportunities for aquatic adventure.

Nearby

Columbia County

Bird-watch on Scappoose Bay, cruise around on a path or exploring the historic community of St. Helens – Columbia County offers countless family-friendly activities.

Upcoming Outdoor Events

Editor's Pick
Pedalpalooza
Ongoing

Pedalpalooza

Multiple locations Free

Portland’s cycling culture peaks during summer’s multi-week Pedalpalooza, featuring 200+ local-led, themed rides, all open to the public.

Editor's Pick
Biking
Events
Festivals
Outdoors
Summer
Weird
Editor's Pick
Bridge Pedal
Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021

Bridge Pedal

Multiple locations $35-$70

The Bridge Pedal is scheduled to return Aug. 8, 2021. Please visit the event website for current information. Portland’s annual Bridge Pedal is a community celebration of the city’s iconic bridges and biking culture. Join your friends and neighbors for the one opportunity each year to bike or walk on Portland’s car-free streets and bridges…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Hood to Coast
Aug. 27–28, 2021

Hood to Coast

Timberline Lodge

Hood to Coast is the world’s largest running relay race, stretching 200 miles from the top of Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside. The overnight event culminates in the West Coast’s largest beach party and draws more than 12,000 runners and walkers annually. The race fills up months in advance, but there’s no…

Editor's Pick
Health & Wellness
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Portland Paseo
Aug. 27–28, 2021

Portland Paseo

Midtown and South Park Blocks, from Director Park to SW Columbia St Free

Portland Paseo is an afternoon/evening community gathering over two days, August 28 and 29. Inspired by the Spanish custom of the evening walk that reawakens the city, it is a linear celebration of artists, music, performances, visual art, street food, and artisan markets honoring and amplifying the amazing work of our BIPOC communities and the…

Editor's Pick
Nightlife
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
The Corn Maize at the Pumpkin Patch
Ongoing

The Corn Maize at the Pumpkin Patch

Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch $6-8

The Corn Maize, located on Sauvie Island north of Portland, offers visitors eight acres of physical and mental challenges in a cornfield.

Editor's Pick
Attractions
Fall
For Kids
Halloween
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Chapman Swift Watch
Sept. 1–30, 2021

Chapman Swift Watch

Chapman Elementary School

Every September, spectators gather to see the world’s largest roost of Vaux’s swifts swarm and spiral into the chimney of a Northwest Portland school.

Editor's Pick
Attractions
Fall
Outdoors
Weird
Editor's Pick
Water Lantern Festival
Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021

Water Lantern Festival

Laurelhurst Park Varies

Portland’s annual Water Lantern Festival is a beautiful experience where you’ll witness the magic of lanterns as they light up the water at Laurelhurst Park. This family-friendly event includes food trucks, pre-made floating lantern kits, markers, ascavenger hunt and more.

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Portland Marathon
Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021

Portland Marathon

Tom McCall Waterfront Park $99-$165

Taking runners along a loop of Portland along the east and west sides of the city’s Willamette River, the Portland Marathon is an excellent way to see a lot of Portland in one great run. The race starts and finishes at Waterfront Park, crossing four bridges and passing by some of the city’s most iconic…

Editor's Pick
Outdoors
Sports
Editor's Pick
West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021

West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

Lake of the Commons Free

This annual race series consists of paddlers piloting a gaggle of gigantic gourds through a watercourse.

Editor's Pick
Events
Fall
For Kids
Halloween
Weird
Editor's Pick
The Big Float
Saturday, July 9, 2022

The Big Float

Tom McCall Waterfront Park $5-$175

Every summer since 2011, thousands of people swim and float in the Willamette River for the annual Big Float event.

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Summer

High-Flying Fun West of Portland

This aerial obstacle course combines the childhood thrill of tree climbing with zip lines, rope and tire swings, trapezes, ladders and tightropes.