Portland has many nicknames: the City of Roses, Rip City, Bridge City, and Stumptown, to name a few. If we could add one more name to the list, it would be City of 1000 Hikes. Portland loves the outdoors, and nature loves Portland back. Between the Gorge, Forest Park, the Willamette River, and the Cascades, there really may be 1000 hikes near Portland to choose from.
We’re only going to cover a tiny bit of all the hikes out there today, but it’s certainly enough to get you going for a while. Here are 19 awesome hikes near Portland that are waiting to be explored by you.
19+ Awesome Hikes Near Portland
3 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 3 miles
The Marquam Trail winds around Marquam Park which is just south of downtown. This main trail takes you through a forest and up about 650 in elevation. There are a number of trails in this park, but there’s only a couple of loop trails. Most trails end up in other parts of the surrounding neighborhood, so just keep track of where you turn if you want to explore more of the area.
If you continue past the end of the Marquam trail (by just crossing the street where it ends) you’ll end up in Council Crest Park. Council Crest has an amazing view of downtown Portland. On clear days, you can even see four mountains in the Cascade range: Hood, Adams, Ranier, and St. Helens. There is an off-leash area just adjacent to this viewpoint as well, which is awesome. However, dogs need to be leashed up when on the trails.
Hoyt Arboretum: One of the Most Educational Hikes Near Portland
4 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 1.3 miles
Portlanders love going to the Hoyt Arboretum. It’s close to the city but far enough to have massive trees. It’s also well-maintained and has many great spots for picnics and bird watching. Hoyt Arboretum’s mission is to foster endangered plant species and educate the public. Over 2,300 species of trees and shrubs currently reside in the park, and there are some fantastic ones to look at.
One of the most striking areas has to be the redwood deck. This is a raised deck that gives you a woodpecker’s eye view of some enormous redwood trees. There are also a few benches in that spot so you won’t lose your balance while staring straight up.
Hoyt Arboretum has 12 miles of hikes in total. Many trails loop back on themselves, so you could really spend hours walking around in the park. One popular loop is made from the Overlook, Wildwood, Hawthorn, Maple, Wildwood, and Holly Trails (tip: park near the Visitor Center where you can snag a trail map). This 1.3-mile route takes about two hours to do.
If you want more of a guided experience, you can join a group walk on a Saturday or Sunday from April through October. The guided tours leave at 11 and 1 and have a suggested donation of $3 for non-members. The Arboretum is open from 5 am to 10 pm daily, while the Visitor Center is open from 9 am to 4 pm during the week (10 am to 4 pm on weekends).
Springwater on the Willamette
4 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 3 miles
Springwater on the Willamette is a paved path that goes right along the Willamette River. The path is part of the Springwater Corridor, a 21-mile long paved path that winds along an old railway route. The section we’ll talk about today is a great option for people with disabilities or anyone who wants to take it easy for a bit.
You can find the Springwater path at the Sellwood waterfront park just south of Oaks Amusement Park. Next, follow the path north and you’ll soon be in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. The path continues right along the Willamette for a number of miles, and you can even take it all the way to OMSI. To make it a 3-mile out-and-back, just turn around when the path starts to curve to the left with the river. Taking the path all the way to OMSI and back will make it a 6-mile trek, but it will also give you some great views of Downtown Portland on the river.
Mount Tabor Blue Loop Trail: One of the Hikes Near Portland with Awesome Views
6 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 3.3 miles
Mount Tabor is another gem within the Portland metro area. When you start this trail, it can seem like you teleport from the city to the forest within just a few minutes. Mount Tabor offers a few hiking trails, but there really isn’t any chance for you to get lost. That’s because all the trails circle around the top of the mountain, so it’s pretty easy to keep your bearings.
Also, there are three main loop trails marked with colored signs: red, green, and blue. The green and red trails are a bit shorter and easier to do. However, if you have the time, the 3.3-mile blue loop trail is the one to do. The loop trail takes a couple of hours to do at a moderate pace and offers quite a few awesome viewpoints.
Just start at the kiosk by the main parking area and follow the blue arrows at junctions. If you take this path, you’ll go around three turquoise reservoirs and take the scenic route up the mountain. From the top, you can see expansive views of the city as well as Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens. If you time it right, you can see the stars and the city lights come out at the same time.
Tryon Creek: One of Our Favorite Hikes Near Portland
6 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 2 miles
The Tryon Creek natural area has been one of Portland’s favorite hiking spots for years. About 15 minutes from Portland, a handful of trails give you 8 miles of hiking terrain. There’s a popular 2-mile loop on the Middle Creek, Cedar, and Old Main trails, though you can cut that in half if you stay on Middle Creek and go straight to Old Main.
Hikes at Tryon Creek are fairly easy with elevation gains under 300 feet. The park is dog-friendly (on leash). Tryon Creek also has 3.5 miles of horse trails and 3 miles of paved bike trails. The icing on the cake is a fantastic nature center located just off the main parking lot: it has exhibits on wildlife, geography, and history of the area. There are no fees to park at Tryon Creek, and the park is open year-round just with shorter hours in the winter.
Iron Mountain Trail
8 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 2.1 miles
This is another great little hike near Portland, tucked away from the town. Iron Mountain Trail is your standard out-and-back trail, though there is a fork in the road. From the parking area on Fairway, choose the left path when you reach the junction. This will give you the full 2.1 miles on the hike.
The hike takes you over a babbling brook and through a dense forest. In other words, it’s a land of fairies. You may spot some wildflowers or small animals scurrying about. It’s a great chance to see if you can name some of the local flora. Your dog will love the easy walk too, just be sure to keep him on a leash.
Forest Park: Ridge, Wildwood, Northwest Oil Line Loop
10 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 3.1 miles
No list of hikes around Portland would be complete without mentioning Forest Park. At 5,100 acres, it’s the largest city park in the lower 48 states that is totally enclosed by a city. The park is about 10 minutes from downtown and is open year-round. It offers over 80 miles of hiking trails and some supreme vistas of the city.
Of course, you don’t have rack up mileage in the double digits to enjoy Forest Park. The hike we’re talking about is a great loop trail that has less traffic and is deep in the forest. You can do this loop by starting at the end of NW Springville Road and continuing on Firelane 7.
From there, take a left on Ridge Trail, a right on Wildwood Trail, and a right on Northwest Oil Line. This is a relatively easy 3.1-mile route that takes you up and down 331 feet. Since the forest is so dense, you’ll probably be able to spot some wildlife when you’re on the trail. You can learn more about Forest Park’s vast offerings at the Forest Park Conservancy.
Mary S. Young Park: Riverside Loop Trail
11 miles from Downtown Portland
Mary S. Young is a state park in West Linn that stretches from Highway 43 to the Willamette River, and it’s located about 20 minutes from Portland. There are about 8 miles of trails in the park, but we’ll focus on the beginner Riverside Loop Trail here. This loop trail is 0.8 miles long and open to dogs as well.
Dog lovers will enjoy this park for two special areas: Mary S. Young has a large off-leash field adjacent to the parking lot and also allows dogs to roam free on the bank of the river. Just make sure to keep your pooch on the leash while you hike the trails. Much of the Riverside Loop Trail is actually paved, making this a great trail for people who need firm ground.
However, once you get close to the river, the pavement ends. Depending on the time of year, you may encounter some large spots of mud, so keep an eye out for that. The trail comes out at the river’s edge to some sandy beaches and big boulders, great spots for a picnic. To head back, you can find the other entrance back into the trees and make your way uphill to the parking lot.
For a bit more of a challenge, you can take the Trillium trail back in the direction of the street for about half a mile. Next, take a right on Heron Creek loop trail, and then follow that all the way down to the river. After you hit the river, you can follow the path south and turn back into the forest on the Heron Creek loop trail. That will wind back up to the parking area, giving you a good 3-mile hike.
Powell Butte Loop Trail
11 miles from Downtown Portland
Powell Butte is a little like Mount Tabor: you can always tell where you are. If you ever get turned around, just check to see which way the incline goes. Also, it helps that the city maintains signposts throughout the park to help you find your way. This loop trail covers most of the hiking mileage on Powell Butte. Since it’s 6.2 miles, it’s a great trail for a whole day excursion.
However, be prepared to climb almost 1000 cumulative feet from the parking lot. It’s a lot of elevation, but it’s worth it. That’s because this hike also gives you some great views of the surrounding city and mountains. In other words, you’re going to run out of space on your phone before you’re done with these hikes. Moreover, you’re climbing the elevation over a long distance. In other words, the path isn’t that steep. In contrast, it would be much steeper if you climbed 1000 feet over 1 mile.
Camassia Preserve Loop Trail
13 miles from Downtown Portland
The Camassia Preserve is a 26 acre woodland in the heart of West Linn. It’s just off of both Highway 43 and I-205 which makes it easy to get to. Highlights of this hike include a scenic plateau, numerous bird species, and local wildflowers. The springtime is an especially great time to see an array of wildflowers on this trail.
It’s an easy lollipop-shaped loop trail and only takes an hour or two at a slow pace. Be aware, there are a couple of places that may be a bit dangerous for small children or seniors. These spots have great views, but the trail drops off on one side without any guardrail. Once you’re done with your hike, you’re only a couple of blocks away from a variety of restaurants in West Linn for your post-hike meal.
Mount Talbert Nature Park
14 miles from Downtown Portland
Mount Talbert is an extinct lava dome located right off I-205 in Happy Valley. This is a great trail to take your kids on since it’s only a bit hilly and not very hard. It’s a 2.9-mile loop trail that winds through the forest up to the top of the dome. You do gain about 600 feet in elevation, but the grade is pretty easy. However, this is one mountain hike on our list that doesn’t actually have a spectacular view from the top. With that said, it’s still a lush and beautiful trek and will make you forget that you’re in a city.
The trail is well-maintained and it even has signage to inform you about the local plant and animal life. Like many hikes around Portland, it can get muddy in the winter. However, as long as you’re prepared with some good hiking boots, the winter months can be just as beautiful.
Mount Scott Nature Trail Loop: One of the Easiest Hikes Near Portland
15 miles from Downtown Portland
This trail is another one of our easy hikes near Portland. The loop is just under a mile which makes it a great addition to a day of exploring Portland. You could even do Mount Scott and Mount Talbert together since they are pretty close to one another.
You’ll see some more wildflowers on this wooded trail, and you might even spot an old clunker. Yes, there’s actually a decrepit truck that looks like it’s from the 50s just sitting out there in the wilderness. Covered in moss and hollowed out, it’s enough to make you think you’re on the set of Lost.
The ease of this hike makes it great for young families as well as seniors—you don’t climb much more than 100 feet in elevation.
Molalla River State Park Trail
25 miles from Downtown Portland
This is an out-and-back trail that starts along the Willamette River and continues up the Molalla River, one of its tributaries. Since it’s right along the river, there’s not much to speak of in terms of elevation. However, be aware that this trail isn’t the best maintained on our list of hikes near Portland. There are a couple of spots that are blocked by branches and overgrowth, and the end of the trail is also overgrown.
It could be better when you venture out there, but the lack of maintenance has been reported for the past few years. We rated this as moderate difficulty because of the lack of maintenance. Looking at it another way, it could be the perfect hike for you. It’s a little off the beaten path and it’s sure to make you feel like you’re in the wilderness.
Northern Gales Creek Trail
43 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 5.8 miles
If you’re looking for a tough workout, this is the trail for you. The Northern Gales Creek Trail starts at the Reecher’s Camp near Timber, OR. Be aware, the road leading to the campsite turns to gravel for last mile and a half. Once you start on the hike, just keep on trucking. You’ll steadily climb almost 1500 feet to the turnaround point on this trail, so be sure to bring enough water and snacks along the way.
The trail is densely forested the whole way up. Unfortunately, there isn’t a scenic viewpoint at the top. You may get some views off the mountainside through the trees, though. Even with no viewpoint, the area is extremely gorgeous. This trail is off the beaten path and doesn’t see a lot of traffic. Turn around when you hit Bell Camp Road to make this a 5.8-mile hike. Gales Creek Trail continues on for another 6 miles and ends at Gales Creek campground off of highway 6.
Clackamas River Trail: One of the Best Hikes Near Portland with Swimming Hole Access
50 miles from Downtown Portland
Distance: 8.7 miles
These last four hikes are a bit further than the other hikes near Portland. We’ve included them because of their tremendous beauty, and they are all showstoppers—including the Clackamas River Trail. The whole trail is 8.2 miles long and it sits right alongside the Clackamas River. The north end is the Fish Creek trailhead, and the south end is the Indian Henry trailhead. Between these points are two areas of interest: The Narrows and Pup Creek Falls.
If you have one car, you can do this trail as an 8.7-mile out-and-back between the Indian Henry trailhead and Pup Creek Falls. Starting at Indian Henry will take you past The Narrows. This area is a popular swimming hole and has some great rock formations. At this spot, the river gets narrower, deeper, and a little faster. It’s a great place to camp overnight since there’s a grassy area next to the river.
As you continue on, you’ll turn off the main trail and follow signs to Pup Creek Falls. Be prepared, this trail goes up and down quite a bit. Cumulatively, you’ll gain about 1600 feet in elevation, and 300 of that is right before the falls. Once you get up there, the pristine waterfall scene is fantastic. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could continue on from Pup Creek Falls to the Fish Creek trailhead. If you do this as an out-and-back, it becomes a 16-mile hike. The secret is to bring two cars if you want to experience the whole Clackamas River Trail without doubling back.
Silver Falls State Park: Trail of Ten Falls
53 miles from Downtown Portland
Silver Falls State Park is one of Oregon’s natural wonders. The area includes a campground, many miles of hikes, a day-use area, conference area, and more. It is a bit farther from Portland, but it’s definitely worth the trip. To get the best experience at Silver Falls, we recommend doing the Trail of Ten Falls loop. This trail does gain about 1200 feet in elevation and is moderately difficult, but once you start you won’t want to turn back.
The Trail of Ten Falls is made up of the Ridge Trail and the Canyon Trail. Be aware, pets are only allowed on the Ridge Trail. The Canyon Trail has some narrow areas and the park disallows animals on that path to keep everyone safe (there’s an off-leash spot near the day-use area). As you go along, you’ll come across ten different waterfalls throughout the 7.6-mile hike including Winter Falls, Twin Falls, and Drake Falls. The trail even goes behind a few of these waterfalls to give you a truly majestic view.
60 miles from Downtown Portland
This is a great trail to do when you’re on your way to or from Astoria. It’s located in Clatskanie just off of Highway 30, and it’s about an hour and fifteen minutes from Portland. This trail is a great addition to a day of exploration: it’s a short 0.6-mile out-and-back and can be done in half an hour (though you may want to stay longer).
There’s no parking fee and dogs are allowed on leash. Even though it’s short, it’s no less breathtaking. Beaver Falls is the star here, and it’s gorgeous during any time of year. The length of this trail makes it doable even in cold or dreary weather, and it’s an easy route with less than 100 feet in elevation. However, since it’s so short, people tend to bring their snacks and cigarettes and leave garbage at the waterfall, which is a shame.
Soapstone Lake Trail: Most Secluded of our Hikes Near Portland
70 miles from Downtown Portland
Our penultimate entry on this list of awesome hikes near Portland is Soapstone Lake Trail. It clocks in at about an hour and twenty minutes from downtown, but the drive is certainly worth it. Soapstone Lake is a tiny, pristine lake in the Tillamook State Forest located just a few minutes off of Highway 26. Saddle Mountain is close by and tends to attract most of the hikers in the area, making the experience at Soapstone a little more intimate.
The parking area is only large enough for a few cars, and there’s just the one trail leading off from it. It’s a 2.7-mile loop trail that is fairly easy and only gains 360 feet in elevation. You’re already deep in the woods when you park so you can enjoy the trees for the entire hike. Once you make it to the lake, you’ll see why it’s on our list.
It’s really the size of a large pond: 2/10 of a mile long and 1/10 wide. You can walk around it in about 30 minutes, or you can stay by the fork in the trail and hang out at the water’s edge. This trail is open year-round, requires no fee, and allows dogs on a leash.
Saddle Mountain Trail
72 miles from Downtown Portland
In many ways, we’ve saved the best for last. Saddle Mountain offers panoramic views of the surrounding area, great foliage, and exhilarating hiking experience. It’s called Saddle Mountain for a reason, though. You’ll climb 1791 feet on this hike, and it starts right from the parking lot.
As you climb, you’ll notice changes in the foliage with the altitude. Springtime is a great time to see wildflowers and succulents growing along the upper portions of the trail. When you near the top, the foliage thins out and you really feel like you’re on a mountain. The first major viewpoint is on the lower part of the saddle (the top of the mountain is in a saddle shape). You can walk out to the edge of this lower saddle and get a great view of the peak.
The trail from the lower to the upper saddle gets a bit dangerous, and we don’t recommend doing this part in snow or heavy rain. There are metal grates and guardrails to keep you on the mountain and if you persevere, all your effort will pay off. When you get to the peak you’ll experience one of the best views in Oregon. You can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Columbia River and Astoria to the north, and the Tillamook State Forest on the surrounding sides. If you have one day to explore hikes near Portland, this is the one to do.
Mount Hood Hikes Near Portland
You’ve seen Mount Hood in the distance while in the city and it’s close enough to head out for the city for the day or even the weekend and get those trail shoes worn in a bit more.
There are tons of hikes outside of Portland in Mount Hood and you’d certainly need multiple trips to catch them all. If you’re up for chasing waterfalls or a jaunt around a lake, the Mount Hood Wildness if for you.
You can even do a bit of a combo adventure where you hike and kayak or SUP on the lake. There are a few lakes with incredible views of Mount Hood looming in the distance, take a walk around Trillium or Lost Lake and then paddle or wade your around the shimmering lake later to cool off.
Waterfall Hikes Around Portland
With the Columbia River Gorge to the east of Portland, there’s a magical playground of treks leading to incredible views over the Gorge and to fantasy-like waterfalls hidden in the forest.
Surely Multhoma Falls rings a bell as the State’s most popular waterfall, it’s so easy, you barely have to leave the parking lot to enjoy its roar. There’s a vine of trails around this waterfall that lead to even more spectacular falls, like Fairy Falls and Wakeenha Falls.
Latourell Falls is a relatively easy hike near Portland as well featuring two stunning waterfalls. Dry Creek Falls is rarely crowded and is usually gushing over crazy basalt cliffs despite its name.
Brogan is a jazz guitarist and freelance content writer living in Portland, OR. His favorite spot in nature is Soapstone Lake. When he can’t get outside to go hiking, he enjoys watching Anime and cooking.