Portland, Oregon offers some of the most unique and sought-after hiking experiences in America, with beautifully diverse scenery. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the stunning northwest in all its glory.
One of the best aspects about Portland is its proximity to a variety of hiking trails and outdoor adventures. In fact, an impressive number of adventures lie less than two hours outside of the city.
Whether it be historic mansions, stunning waterfalls or babbling creeks in impressive canyons, you can certainly find great hiking options for the whole family and enjoy the incredible natural beauty and diverse landscapes of this area.
Living in the city is no longer an excuse to avoid nature!
Hiking Trails Near Portland You Can’t Miss
Below is a list of the best hikes near Portland, so pick your journey and enjoy.
1. Wahclella Falls
2. Tamanawas Falls
3. Lower Macleay to Pittock Mountain
4. Tryon Creek Trail System
5. Eagle Creek Trails
6. Mount Tabor
7. Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain
8. Dog Mountain
Wahclella Falls Trail
Wahclella Falls Trail is a stunning family-friendly hike located in John B Yeon State Park, just under an hour’s drive from downtown Portland. This hike is perfect for those looking for a peaceful escape into nature without a strenuous workout.
The 2-mile round-trip hike gently follows the beautiful Tanner Creek, meandering through a magically lush forest with giant mossy boulders and leading to a breathtaking waterfall that seems straight out of a fantasy novel or movie set.
Due to its short length and easy terrain, this hike is extremely popular in the area and can be completed in under an hour. The trail is accessible year-round, except during or after a winter storm.
The Wahclella Falls Trail is not only a scenic hike but also a historic one. This area was originally inhabited by the Multnomah people who utilized the abundant resources and natural beauty of the gorge. Later, in the early 20th century, the area was used for logging until it was eventually designated as a state park to protect the unique landscape and diverse wildlife. Today, visitors can still see remnants of the old logging road that used to run through the area.
It’s important to note that although this hike is family-friendly, some areas of the trail can be slippery and steep. Visitors should wear sturdy shoes and exercise caution, especially near the waterfall. Additionally, dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Please note that parking can be challenging, but the stunning scenery and refreshing experience are worth the effort. So, if you’re looking for a quick escape into nature from Portland, Wahclella Falls Trail is a must-visit.
Tamanawas Falls Hike
Tamanawas Falls Hike is a stunning trail located at the eastern base of Mount Hood in the Cascade Mountains, approximately 86 miles from Portland. The trail runs along a babbling creek scattered with mini waterfalls as you make your way towards the incredible Tamanawas Falls.
This classic hike is a 3.6-mile round-trip, with an elevation gain of 630 feet. The trail is rated as moderate and can be hiked any time of year, although it is recommended that you wear snowshoes during the winter months as snow tends to get quite deep. The trailhead, Sherwood Trailhead, is easily accessible via Forest Road 1825.
In addition to the stunning waterfall, the trail offers breathtaking views of Mount Hood and the surrounding wilderness. Expect to spot a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and beavers. The trail is well-maintained and offers a great hiking experience for all skill levels.
Pro tip: Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction, bring plenty of water and snacks, and use caution near the waterfall as the rocks can be slippery. Please don’t forget to take with you all your rubbish to help preserve the area’s natural beauty.
The best time to hike Tamanawas Falls Trail is during the spring and summer when the weather is mild and the trail is less likely to be covered in snow. The waterfall is amazing during the spring when the snowmelt is at its peak.
Please note that the trail can be crowded during peak hiking season, so plan accordingly and arrive early to secure parking.
Lower Macleay to Pittock Mansion Trek
Lower Macleay to Pittock Mansion Trek is one of the most popular hikes in Portland, Oregon. This dog-friendly trail is well-maintained and features a gentle incline that makes it accessible to most people.
The hike is a 5-mile round-trip trip with an elevation gain of 800 feet. The hike takes an average of 2-3 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make along the way. The trail is suitable for hikers of all skill levels, making it a great option for families or those new to hiking.
The Lower Macleay Trailhead is located in the Northwest District, which is one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Portland. The trailhead is easily accessible by public transportation, so you don’t need to worry about parking or driving to the trailhead. The trail is also accessible by bike, so you can easily incorporate it into your cycling route.
The best time to hike the Lower Macleay is during the spring and autumn when the weather is mild and the trail is not too crowded. During the summer months, the trail can get quite busy, so it’s best to avoid hiking during peak hours. In the winter, the trail can be icy and slippery, so it’s important to wear appropriate footwear and use caution.
Pro tip: Bring plenty of water and snacks, wear sturdy hiking shoes with good traction, and pack a light jacket in case of unexpected weather changes. You can also take a detour on the Wildwood Trail, which runs through Forest Park and offers stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Tryon Creek Trail System
The Tryon Creek State Natural Area is located just minutes from downtown Portland and offers over 8 miles of trails that wind through an old-growth forest. The trails are easily accessible from the park’s main entrance on Terwilliger Boulevard and are open year-round.
The Tryon Creek Trail System is a popular destination for hikers, with over 300,000 visitors each year. The trails are well-maintained and marked, making it easy for hikers of all skill levels to navigate the park. There are several trail loops to choose from, ranging from 0.3 miles to 3.3 miles, with elevation gains of up to 400 feet. The trails are open year-round, but some areas may be closed during heavy rain or snow.
The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including owls, woodpeckers, and even coyotes. Here you can even learn more about the park’s flora and fauna by attending one of the many educational programs offered by the park’s interpretive centre. The centre also offers interactive exhibits and a gift shop.
Pro tip: Tryaon park can get crowded on weekends and holidays, so plan your visit accordingly. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, try visiting on a weekday or early in the morning. Additionally, the park offers guided hikes led by park rangers and volunteers, which can be a great way to learn more about the park and its history.
The best time to hike the Tryon Creek Trail System is in the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the forest is lush and green. The park can get busy during these seasons, but the beautiful scenery is worth it. In the summer, the park can get hot and crowded, so be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. In the winter, the park can be snowy and icy, so be sure to check the trail conditions before heading out.
Eagle Creek Trails
Eagle Creek Trails are located about an hour’s drive east of Portland, in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It is one of the most popular hiking destinations near Portland, attracting thousands of hikers every year.
Please note that it can get quite crowded, especially during the summer, so it is recommended to start early to beat the crowds. The trailhead for the Eagle Creek Trail is located off of I-84, and parking can be limited, so it is a good idea to arrive early or consider taking a shuttle.
Hikers should also be aware that the trail can be narrow and steep at times, with drop-offs and rocky terrain, so caution is necessary. Additionally, there are some areas where the trail has been affected by landslides and fallen trees, so be sure to watch for these hazards.
The 3.8-mile out-and-back trail offers hikers a short yet beautiful hike through an impossibly green wonderland to the oasis that is Punchbowl Falls, the basin of which forms a lovely swimming hole.
You will walk next to the river the entire time and pass many waterfalls including Metlako Falls amongst other smaller ones.
For a longer option, try out the hike to Tunnel Falls which is a 12-mile out-and-back trip of moderate difficulty. The trail boasts dozens of waterfalls, moss-covered verdant forest and towering basalt cliffs.
You will pass over footbridges, and talus slopes, traverse babbling creeks and a path carved into the cliff. There are also campsites along the way if you are looking to make it an overnight trip.
Pro tip: Pack plenty of water and snacks, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and dress in layers as weather conditions can change quickly in the Columbia River Gorge.
The best time to hike the Eagle Creek Trail is typically between May and October when the weather is warmer and the trail is less likely to be affected by winter snow and ice. However, you should still be prepared for changing weather conditions and bring appropriate gear, including rain gear and warm layers, even in the summer months.
Mount Tabor Trek
Mount Tabor is an extinct volcano located just 4.6 miles southeast of downtown Portland, making it an easily accessible hike. The park is dog-friendly and offers a variety of easy-to-moderate hiking options, including the popular 3-mile Blue Loop Trail that encircles the base of the mountain.
In addition to forested trails and open meadows, expect to also encounter several gorgeous reservoirs on the Blue Loop Trail. For those looking for a bit more of a challenge, add on an extra third of a mile to your hike and climb up Mount Tabor to the summit where you will be treated to views of Mt. Hood.
One of the best things about Mount Tabor is that it can be enjoyed year-round, though it is especially beautiful in the spring and autumn when wildflowers and changing leaves add bursts of colour to the landscape.
Please note that the park can get quite crowded during peak times, so plan accordingly and arrive early to secure a parking spot.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a quieter hike, consider visiting during the weekday or early morning hours. Additionally, the park is home to several events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals, so be sure to check the schedule to avoid any crowds.
If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider visiting Mount Tabor during the annual Portland Adult Soapbox Derby, where homemade soapbox racers zoom down the park’s winding roads. The event takes place every August and is a fun way to experience the park in a different way.
Fun fact: Mount Tabor Park is one of the only parks in the United States that has a volcano within city limits. The park covers 190 acres and was established in 1909.
Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain Hike via Mirror Lake
Leading to the summit of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain, this trail is 54-miles from Portland and is known for its picturesque views of Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson, as well as its sunny switchbacks dotted with fragrant evergreens and wildflowers.
The 5.8-mile trail is a classic, with sweeping vistas Of the Cascade Mountain Range in the distance and Mirror Lake below. There are also a few walk-up campsites near Mirror Lake if you fancy spending the night in the wilderness.
The trail can be hiked all year and it provides a great opportunity to wear your snowshoes in winter. Parking can be a hassle, but it is definitely worth waking up early to find a spot.
Interestingly, the origin of the name of the hike is not entirely clear, but it is believed to be derived from an old English nursery rhyme that goes: “Tom, Tom, the piper’s son, stole a pig and away he run; the pig was eat and Tom was beat, and Tom ran crying down the street.” The rhyme has nothing to do with the mountain, but the name may have been given to the peak by early settlers who were familiar with the nursery rhyme.
Another theory is that the mountain was named after three early settlers in the area named Tom, Dick, and Harry. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.
Dog Mountain Trail
Dog Mountain Trail is located in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, about an hour’s drive from Portland. The trail is known for its challenging hike and rewarding views. It is recommended to wear sturdy hiking boots and pack plenty of water and snacks for the journey.
The trail is 6.9 miles long and has an elevation gain of 2800ft. Don’t let its difficulty scare you, once at the top you will be rewarded with some of THE most stunning views.
The trailhead starts at an elevation of 100 feet and climbs steadily uphill through a forested area, eventually opening up to a series of switchbacks that take you to the summit. Along the way, hikers will encounter rocky terrain, steep inclines, and narrow ridges. It is important to be cautious and stay on the trail, as the terrain can be dangerous.
At the summit, hikers will be treated to breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge and surrounding mountains. The trail offers a great opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the region. Hiking poles are recommended to aid in balance and to take some of the weight off your legs during the descent.
Dog Mountain Trail is also known for its wildflower displays in the spring, particularly during the months of May and June. Hikers will have the chance to see a variety of wildflowers in full bloom, including balsamroot, lupine, and Indian paintbrush.
It is important to note that this trail can get crowded, especially on weekends and during peak wildflower season. It is recommended to arrive early in the morning or on weekdays to avoid crowds. Additionally, hikers should be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is exposed and weather can change quickly.
Overall, Dog Mountain Trail is a challenging and rewarding hike for experienced hikers looking for a strenuous workout and stunning views. The best time to hike this trail is in the spring for wildflower displays or during the summer and fall for clear views of the surrounding area.