January 3, 2011

The Best Hikes In Portland, Oregon

View of Portland and Mt. Hood

View of Portland and Mt. Hood (Photo: Martin Bravenboer)

Since I’m growing overly excited to move to Portland in a few weeks, here is a guest post that covers some of the best hikes in Portland, Oregon.

Portland is quickly become a popular destination for many people. It’s an urban wonderland scattered with forests, mountains and rivers. Students in travel and tourism schools and seasoned travel agents around the world are putting Portland on their list of “must sees.”. Portland has been said to be one of the most “green” or environmentally friendly cities in the world. The Willamette river runs right through the center of the city and Mount Tabor rises on it’s east side. Views of St Helen and Mount Hood make Portland’s cityscape one of the prettiest in the world. Portland is known for preserving it’s land, over 8,000 acres of natural land are protected from development. The weather is described as “Marine West Coast,” having warm dry summers and mild winters makes Portland a perfect place for hiking.

Portland Hiking Trails:

Hoyt Arboretum Loop

This trail travels through 185 acres of Portland Hoyt Arboretum tree museum. The trails takes you through a variety of forested land. Including a ponderosa pine forest, redwoods, a large grove of bamboo and an oak woodland. If you are looking to get in touch with nature this trail would be perfect for you. The trail is 1.8 miles long with an elevation level of 75ft. The trail is a loop and brings you back to your starting point. Walking the length of the trail takes roughly around one hour. This trail is open year round from 6:ooam to 10:00pm daily. The skill level for this trail is easy making this trail great for a relaxed stroll. Leashed dogs are welcome.

Lower Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion

This trail is a hilly forested trail taking you from Macleay park, through Balch Creek Canyon and then uphill in a forested wonderland to the historic Pittock Mansion. From the yard of the mansion you have a clear and breathtaking view of Mount St. Helen’s Mount Hood and downtown Portland. The trail is 3.8 miles long and has an elevation of 850ft. This is an out and back trail meaning you must turn around and walk back. Walking the length of the trail takes around three hours. The skill level is easy and leashed dogs are welcome.

Marquam Nature Park to Council Crest

This trail takes you through the Marquam Nature Park’s fern filled forest, down beneath a forested canyon, to the summit of Council Crest. From the top of the canyon you will have an amazing view of downtown Portland and the Cascade Volcanoes. The trail is approximately 3.2 miles long and the elevation gain is around 745ft. The skill level for this trail is easy. This is an out and back trail meaning you must turn around and walk back. Walking the trail in it’s entirety takes around 2 hours. This trail is open year round and leashed dogs are permitted.

Mount Tabor

This hike takes you to the top of a three-million-year-old volcano. The volcano is covered with a douglas fir and conifer forest. This is a 200 acre park covered with hiking trails, and breathtaking views. This park allows you to take an adventurous hike just outside of the city.. The trail to the top of Mount Tabor around 3 miles long. Walking the trail in its entirety takes a little over one hour and the highest elevation is 643ft. The trail is a loop and returns you to your starting point. The skill level for this trail is easy and leashed dogs are permitted. This park and it’s trails are open year-round.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls (Photo: neth_ra)

This hike takes you on Oregon’s tallest waterfall. It is one of Oregon’s most popular trails. Climbing up this beautiful waterfall to it’s two tiered plume. There is a 2.2 mile moderate hike with 700 ft of elevation and there is also a difficult 5.4 mile loop to Wahkeena Falls with an elevation gain of 1,600 ft. The trail is open year-round and requires no fees to hike. When you finish the two mile hike and just aren’t quite ready to turn back, continue on the five mile loop. This loop takes you to see the area’s other waterfalls. You will follow the Larch Mountain Trail up to Multnomah Creek. From there the trail continues on to the Wahkeena Trail and then descends to the beautiful Fairy Falls, and continues down to a beautiful bridge beneath Wahkeena falls. Remember this trail goes from moderate to difficult in skill level. These breathtaking trails make for an amazing hike only about 30 miles out of Portland.

Triple Falls

This is another beautiful hike with views of Middle Oneonta Falls, Horse Tail Falls, Triple Falls and Upper Oneonta falls.. This trail begins on Oneonta Trailhead and continues on to Triple Falls. This is an out and back trail with a length of around three miles round trip. The trail takes you up steep hills and down flats across the Oneonta Creek Bridge. The skill level for this hike is moderate and has an elevation gain of 610 ft. The trail has steep drop-offs but is a fairly wide trail. Triple Falls is a great turn around point however, the trail continues on for about a mile next to the creek. This is a more scenic than the upper trails and continues up to Larch Mountain. This trail is scenic and moderate in difficulty making it a wonderful trail for the family.

Each of these trails gives you a glimpse of the beauty within Oregon. This is only a very, very short list of the trails that zig-zag across Portland’s beautiful forests, volcanoes, waterfalls, canyons, mountains and protected parks. If you are looking for a place to hike Portland, Oregon is the place to be.

This is a guest post by Peter Puckett. He is a journalist hailing from Florida. When he is not traveling and writing, he is working for online universities, and spending time with his family.

18 thoughts on “The Best Hikes In Portland, Oregon

  1. Martijn Reintjes

    These sound really nice for a short break from work. Are there also any good multi-day hikes around Portland? Portland is high on my list to visit and I would love to relocate there for a while. Maybe even this year!

  2. pravakar

    In the park you can see a wide variety of flora and fauna that at times seem to be completely surrounding you for miles. It’s easy to forget that you are in the middle of a city of half-a-million people

  3. Anthony Michael

    I just fell in love with Oregon and all it took was that picture of Multnomah Falls. Wow, what a beauty. I didn’t know that region of this country had so much nature, I’m going to have to check it out in the near future. Continue keeping us updated with your travels, sir!

    The Walking Dead News

  4. Brooke Campbell

    Don’t forget about the Bull of the Woods Loop trail. It’s a long one at around 41 miles but is great for backpackers who want a taste some beautiful scenery through a rugged landscape. The loop goes through Opal Creek and the Bull of the Woods wilderness area.

  5. Jennifer Freeman

    All those hikes are absolutely gorgeous! Being an avid hiker in Oregon, Triple Falls is one of my favorites. Multnomah Falls is gorgeous all year round but tends to be extremely crowded.

  6. Jeff @ Digital Nomad Journey

    Don’t forget the Portland Japanese Gardens! I went there a couple months ago to scope out the city for a potential move in a couple years. That garden was stunning, as was the hike up through the woods to get there!

    I wrote about it here:

    I so wanted to checkout Multnomah Falls , but didn’t have time. It reminds me of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings! Next time…


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