Portland is one of the most popular hiking destinations in North America. It features a great collection of natural parks, forests, gardens, and trails, which are ideal for hiking and shedding off those extra calories. Rose gardens, historic mansions, and stunning waterfalls can all be accessed from different hiking trailheads in Portland, thus making it easy for outdoor enthusiasts to lose themselves in nature and enjoy some quiet, relaxed time, away from the city. But with so many great hiking trails in Portland, it can be overwhelming to choose the one that you should hit this summer. Fortunately, we have done the heavy lifting for you. Here are the top 10 hiking trails in Portland.
Covering more than 5,000 acres, Forest Park is a green space located on the northwest side of Portland. It features over 70 miles of trails, forest roads, and fire lanes, making it ideal for trail running and hiking. Renowned as one of the most defining features of the city, this park supports more than 60 mammal and 112 bird species. It also acts as a natural purifier for Portland and the surrounding areas. The Wildwood Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in this park. It cuts across the entire length of the park, connecting it to the Washington Park, and the Audubon Society Sanctuary. There is also the Pittock Mansion route, which provides some great views across the city. The Lower Macleay Trail is the most convenient entry point for this park. At the trailhead, you will find some restrooms and a small parking lot. Also, the trailhead is fairly easy and flat, making it easy for kids and casual hikers.
Tryon Creek State National Area
If you will be hiking with your kids, then the Tyron Creek State National Area is a great option. It features approximately 8 miles of hiking. And of those eight, 3 are well paved. There is an educational program for children on-site, as well as guided hikes for different difficulty levels. You will also have an opportunity to learn about the area’s flora and fauna. You can get to the trailhead via light rail, bus or train. You can also visit Mt. Tabor Blue trail when you are still in the area. It will take you through miles of forests, 3 reservoirs, and picturesque mountain views. Make sure you get a map at the visitor center since this hiking trail connects with numerous others. And if you don’t know the place well, then you might easily find yourself wandering endlessly throughout the park. The Mt Tabor Blue Trail is rated average since it includes lots of stairs and hills. If you would like a more challenging and adventurous hike, then you should trek to the mountain’s summit via the Blue trail. Apart from the various hiking trails, there is also a dog park, a playground as well as various sports courts in this park, making it perfect for the whole family.
Washington Park Loop Hike
The Washington Park Loop is a moderately-trafficked hiking trail, which is located near Portland, Oregon. It’s mainly used for nature trips, walking, hiking, as well as mountain biking. It features some of the best attractions in Portland such as the International Rose Test Garden, Hoyt Arboretum and the Oregon Zoo. If you want to experience the best of what this park offers, then you should follow the Wildwood trail. It starts near the Oregon Zoo and then takes you past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It will then take you past Hoyt Arboretum, and then continues to the Portland Japanese Gardens. Approximately 4 miles long, this trail has plenty to offer including tennis courts, a children’s museum, an archery range as well as plenty of statues and memorials.
Four T Trail
Are you looking for a refreshing way to spend your Saturday? Well, the 4T trail offers just the right opportunity. It incorporates the tram, trolley, train and hiking trails, thus the name 4T. This self-guided hiking trip will take you through some of the best sights that Portland has to offer. It’s designed for residents and tourists alike. It starts at the Pioneer Courthouse Square, where you board the MAX light rail which takes you to the Oregon Zoo. You need to buy an all-day pass here that goes for only $5. You will then use the pass to board both the tram and the train. From the Oregon Zoo, you will then hike around 1.3 miles along the Marquam Trail, which will lead you to Council Crest. From there, you will hike to the Oregon Health and Science University campus, where the Portland Aerial Tram will take you all the way to Willamette River.
Powell Butte Nature Park
Located on the east side of Portland city, the Powell Butte Nature Park is a 600-acre forest park, which is open to horse riders, cyclists and hikers. The Mountain View Trail is one of the best trails to explore in this park. It starts at the visitor center, where the trail takes you up to the ridgeline, and then flattens out to give you great views of the surrounding areas. If you are lucky enough, you will catch a few peaks of some prominent mountains in the area such as Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens. This hiking trail connects to multiple other trails in the park.
Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop Hiking Trail
The Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop is a 5-mile hiking trail, which encompasses at least six official waterfalls as well as countless random falls and cascades. Spring is usually the best time to hike this trail so that you can have unobstructed views of the waterfalls. You can complete this look in either direction. However, starting your journey at the Multnomah Falls is highly recommended, since it will help you to get past crowds of casual hikers. After a steep ascent of around 1 mile, you will reach the Multnomah Falls viewpoint, where you can shoot some great photos of the falls and the Benson Bridge. Due to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, this hiking trail has some hazardous conditions such as debris flows, falling trees, and limbs, loose rocks as well as blocked trails. Therefore, if you are not a seasoned hiker, then you should opt for other trails. Also, hikers with small children and dogs should consider other safer hiking trails.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge Hiking Trail
Located along the Willamette River and close to the Sellwood Bridge, the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is perfect for people who are looking for a hiking trail that is close to the city center. You can run or bike there from downtown, thanks to its proximity to the city. The Bluff trail is the main hiking trail in this park. It starts at Sellwood park and ends at S.E Milwaukie Avenue. It’s highly advisable to avoid the main parking lot since it’s always crowded. This trail si easy to walk, even if you’ve never hiked before. It’s lined with various types of trees like maples, white alders, cottonwoods as well as cedars. It also has over 185 species of birds.
Sauvie Island Hiking Trail
While it’s renowned for pumpkin picking, berry foraging, and summer festivals, this island also offers plenty of picturesque views for hikers. If you just want a short-distance hike, then you can opt for the Oak Island Loop, which runs for 2.8 miles. This loop is open to hikers from April to September. It will take you through green, and serene trails, while giving you an opportunity to eat freshly-picked berries and see local wildlife. And if you are looking for something longer, then you should opt for Warrior Point Hike, which runs 7 miles.
Dog Mountain Hiking Trail
The Dog Mountain loop is one of the most popular hiking trails in Portland. Its popularity is driven by its beautiful views, its easy access as well as a relatively short distance from the city center. While it might appear like an easy trail, it’s quite a challenging one. It’s steep, strenuous and difficult to accomplish. But if you manage to reach the top, then the views are worth the effort. Make sure you carry some good hiking shoes, enough snacks, a camera, sunscreen and plenty of water. You have two options for ascending the hill. You can either opt for the shorter but steeper or the longer one that is less strenuous. At the top, you will be rewarded with surrounding mountain views, glorious rolling hills, the Bridge of the Gods and plenty of colored flowers and lush greenery.
Dry Creek Falls Hiking Trail
With a span of 4.4 miles and an elevation gain of only 725 feet, the Dry Creek Falls hiking trail is a popular destination for residents and visitors looking for short, easy hike. As much as large sections of this trail were affected by the Eagle Creek Fire, most of the forest’s canopy is still intact. It’s highly advisable to visit the trail during spring so that you can catch a glimpse of colorful displays of the falls and blooming forest wildflowers. Also, the trail is lined with various types of ferns, nestled under a big leaf, Douglas fir as well as vine maples. Apart from its beauty, it’s also one of the least crowded hikes along the Colombia River Gorge, which means you will have ample space and time to immerse yourself in its beauty.
Whether you are a veteran mountaineer looking for your next peak or you are simply a day hiker who wants to spend some time in the woods, Portland has a lot to offer. The area has exciting trails, for people of all hiking skills. Form desert and prairies to alpine forests and mountain landscapes, there is no shortage of hiking trails in Portland. Whichever hiking trail you choose, you can rest assured that you will have a memorable hiking adventure in Portland.