The secret is out: Oregon’s spectacularly beautiful scenery delivers some of the nation’s best hiking. Beat the onslaught of fellow trekkers by hitting the road extra early to embark on a breathtaking sunrise hike. (Safety tip: If you are hiking before daybreak, arrive prepared with headlamps and any other necessary equipment.)
Powell Butte Nature Park
Witnessing the sunrise from an extinct cinder cone volcano (that lies conveniently within Portland’s city limits) is definitely one for the memory books. The 611 acres (247 hectares)of Powell Butte Nature Park are crisscrossed by several different trails, allowing you to design your perfect hike. Climb 600 feet (183 m) to the butte’s highest point to see Mount Hood and other peaks; the mountain finder on Summit Lane will assist with any identification debates. The park opens at 5 a.m., just in time to catch those first golden rays.
Kelley Point Loop
If a beach towel sounds like your ideal sunrise vantage point, head to Kelley Point Park at the very tip of North Portland, where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers converge. 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 as you settle down by the water’s edge for a front row seat to nature’s morning show. Stay a while to take advantage of the cool water on a scorching summer day.
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.
From the fishing city of Astoria to the tide pools of Yachats, the Oregon Coast is a rugged, unspoiled treasure that begins 90 minutes from Portland.
Mount Hood offers scenic recreation ranging from camping, hiking and fishing to nearly year-round skiing.
Starting just 30 miles east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers amazing vistas, trails and more than 90 waterfalls.
Only 90 minutes from Portland by car, Rowena Plateau has it all: flowers, wildlife and gorgeous Columbia River Gorge views. 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, so hustle the whole gang out the door and watch in awe as the sun illuminates the gorge below. Unfortunately, your furry friends will have to stay home for this one.
Also 90 minutes east of the city, 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.
Lost Lake Loop
It’s difficult to imagine a better place to watch the sun rise than along the perimeter of Lost Lake Loop. The drive from Portland is just under two hours, leading travelers through the Gorge before dipping into Mt. Hood National Forest’s wooded splendor. Avoid the usual summertime crowds by making the drive to Lost Lake 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.
Favorite Hiking Spots in Portland
Put on some comfortable shoes and start walking — you’ll be surprised how easy Portland makes it.
Accessible Trails in and Near Portland
Portland and the Columbia River Gorge are filled with hiking opportunities, many of which have Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible portions.
Portland has numerous kid-friendly hiking spots with trails under 4 miles (6 km) close to the city and bursting with natural beauty.
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.
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.
First Caturday is a day to reclaim the glory of the outdoors for our feline friends. It is a day for delightful outdoor cat-napping and socializing, and where cat owners can freely exchange information, friendship and joy to help make their cats happy and healthy. Some cats actually like leash walks; others like stroller walks…
Up to 20,000 gray whales migrate along Oregon’s coast every winter and spring. Spot them from these four locations.
At the 35th Festival of Balloons in Tigard, the hot air balloons are definitely the featured attraction, but it’s more than balloons! The Festival of Balloons is a place for families and friends to gather, play and relax. Join up in the pre-dawn hours as approximately 20 hot air balloons launch into the morning sky…
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.
Offered by Wildwood Adventures. Upon departure from downtown Portland, the Gateway to the Gorge is where the real beauty begins. From earth-shaking landslides to enormous glacial flooding, the formation of the area has left us with breathtaking sights to behold. As you traverse from a temperate rainforest in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area to…
Offered by Wildwood Adventures. Species seen nowhere else in the world, dramatic basalt lava flows nearly a mile deep and some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls are a few of the sights that await you on this tour. Come experience the grandeur of the Columbia River Gorge, one of the United States’ most photographed…
Offered by Wildwood Adventures. With the Willamette River down the center and the Columbia River above, Portland is often more wildly known by its nicknames such as “Bridgetown,” “Brewtopia,” and “City of Roses.” Nestled at the base of a volcano and bundled snugly by old growth forests, this city boasts a landscape beyond a basic…
Offered by Wildwood Adventures. World-famous Pinot Noirs, crisp Chardonnays and sweet Rieslings are just a taste of the dozens of wines that Oregon has to offer. On this adventure through the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley, you’ll visit three carefully selected vineyards. Guests will partake in tasting flights and experience a behind-the-scenes view of…
The driver covers all tasting fees with charcuterie plates ($150 value for full day, $90 value for half day). Experience the best of Willamette Valley wine country on an all-inclusive, guided wine-tasting tour from Portland. Be chauffeured in a luxury SUV with a small group of fellow wine lovers and spend a half day or…
Join up for a morning walking tour that’ll go around, across, under and inside the unique and storied spans that shape the lives in Portland. Strolling along the waterfront, this tour will plan to cross several bridges, pausing at the Morrison Bridge to meet the bridge operator and to see the view from the control…
One of Portland’s favorite winter races, the Holiday Half helps get you in the holiday spirit with gingerbread cookie aid stations and carolers serenading you along the course. Taking place on Swan Island in North Portland, the race offers runners scenic views of the Willamette River (along with photo opportunities with the race’s mascot, Freddi…
The smell of western red cedar, the sounds of wind and the crunch of maple leaves below your feet. Immerse yourself in a guided Forest Therapy Workshop at Columbia Springs! Experience a series of slow, mindful activities designed to open and engage the senses and connect you with nature in a way that invites healing…
Join up Valentine’s Day weekend at Lee Farms in Tualatin Oregon as couples, families and friends escape the cliche and get down and dirty at the My Muddy Valentine 5k mud/obstacle run. Runners come dressed head to toe in hearts, tutus and even a few group costumes, ready to take on the muddy terrain. The…
Get your St. Paddy’s day weekend started by joining up for some rompin’ good fun around Lee Farms. After some mud, guts and glory, stick around and have a beer or two before heading out on the town. Don’t miss out on all the fun — participation is capped at 1500.
The Foundation for Tigard Tualatin Schools presents their Ninth Annual Twilight Run, in partnership with RunSignUp and the Tigard Festival of Balloons. The 5K Twilight Run follows a flat and fast course along the beautiful bike trails. As you race towards the sunset, you will be surrounded by the wonders of the park and excitement…