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. Read on for our guides to getting outside, then head to our events calendar to find even more things to do outdoors in Portland.
Portland International Rose Test Garden
The oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States, the Portland International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park features more than 10,000 roses, great views of the skyline and the Cascades.
Mount Tabor Park
Mt. Tabor Park, a century-old public space 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.
Beyond picnics and verdant strolls, Washington Park offers up a zoo, two museums, a spectacular rose garden, an arboretum, one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in the world, all lined by one of the largest urban forests, Forest Park.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
This year-round wonder taking up an entire city block houses an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden built by Suzhou artisans. Lan Su Chinese Garden offers a peaceful escape in Portland's historic Chinatown district.
Portland Japanese Garden
A haven of meticulously maintained, tranquil beauty, proclaimed one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden offers meandering streams, intimate walkways and an unsurpassed view of Mount Hood.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Round out your floral explorations of the Rose City with a visit to Southeast Portland’s lush Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. The park boasts more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, with blooms from late February -June.
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.
Portland has numerous kid-friendly hiking spots with trails under 4 miles (6 km) close to the city and bursting with natural beauty.
Sunrise Hikes Near Portland
The secret is out: Oregon’s delivers some of the nation’s best hiking. Beat the crowds by heading out extra early to embark on a breathtaking sunrise hike.
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.
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.
Experience nature not far from the city's hustle and bustle at these wildlife preserves.
Catch sight of 200+ types of birds at the Portland area's dozens of prime bird watching destinations, including sanctuaries, refuges and urban parks.
The Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary is a great starting place for hiking Forest Park and (of course) bird-watching.
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.
Spend Spring Break in Portland
Plan an epic spring break in Portland with our list of activities for families, friends, couples and solo travelers.
Portland Picnic Guide
Nothing beats spreading out a picnic blanket on a sunny day, and Portland has no shortage of scenic spots where you can feast on local eats.
Portland’s Best Spots for Fall Color
Autumnal beauty abounds in Portland, and there are plenty of prime places to revel in leaf-crunching relaxation.
Apple Picking Near Portland
Freshly-picked Pacific Northwest apples are a local favorite, and many Portland-area orchards allow visitors to pluck the fruit right off the branch.
Snowshoeing on Mount Hood
Snowshoeing is a peaceful way to enjoy Mount Hood with friends and minimal gear and expense.
Where to Stand-Up Paddleboard Around Portland
Find out where to stand-up paddleboard in Portland, as well as where to find SUP lessons, paddleboard rentals, guided lake tours and SUP yoga classes.
Kayaking in and Around Portland
When the weather heats up, folks flock to the water. For paddlers, that typically means hitting one the many rivers in and near Portland.
Make a Splash in the Willamette River
When summertime heats up in Portland, cooling off is as easy as heading to one of the city's many riverfront beaches or docks for a refreshing dip or getting the gear for water sports such as kayaking, or SUP.
Whitewater Rafting Near Portland
Conquer rapids, spot wildlife and experience nature in a new way at these favorite spots for whitewater rafting near Portland.
Swimming Holes Near Portland
Stay cool all summer long at these serene swimming spots, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest — and all less than an hour away from Portland.
Waterfalls Near Portland
Some of the most picturesque waterfalls line the Columbia River Gorge, just a short drive from Portland. But these cascading natural wonders are even closer to Portland from the Willamette River to the Cascade Mountain Range.
Family-owned Topaz Farm on Sauvie Island has a stunning corn maze by graphic design icon Aaron Draplin. Spread over seven acres, the corn maze has two entrances. The first entrance is ideal for parents of younger kids or people looking for a shorter stroll. The second entrance provides a truly challenging puzzle. Inside the maze…
The Corn Maize, located on Sauvie Island north of Portland, offers visitors eight acres of physical and mental challenges in a cornfield.
Founded in 1979, the Shamrock Run Portland is the largest running and walking event in Oregon and is the third-largest running event in the western United States.
The Hippie Chick half marathon, quarter marathon, 5k and kid’s half-mile race returns for Mother’s Day weekend. This female-focused event is designed to celebrate how amazing women are. Grab your mom, your sister, your friend, or your co-worker and register to run through Oregon’s scenic countryside. The route finishes back at Ron Tonkin Field with…
The annual Harefest music festival in Canby presents the Northwest’s best tribute bands performing on three stages over two days. The Harefest experience has been described by many attendees and performers as “adult summer camp” not only for the fun-loving, good-natured attendees but also because of its rustic location and tent camping around the festival…
Every summer since 2011, thousands of people swim and float in the Willamette River for the annual Big Float event.
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…
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