The 10 Best Hikes In Portland

Published by: Bounce30 March, 2022

Rolling into Portland Union Station? Portland, affectionally known as the City of Roses, is the largest city in Oregon and also known to be America's best beer city and one of the best places for coffee. If you are a fan of the Simpson's, then you might recognize some of the city street names, since many of the characters are named after them because the show's creator, Matt Groening, grew up here.

The city of Portland is beautiful and located off of the Willamette and Columbia River with areas of lush forest and mountains. Ranked as the 9th greenest city in America, anyone would be lucky to hike around Portland. It is home to both the smallest park in the world as well as one of the country's largest urban forests, so whether you are up for a huge hike or just a small walk, this town has you covered. In fact, there is even a volcano located in the city! Before you go out to explore the wilderness in the city's national parks, leave everything that you don't need behind at a suitcase locker in Portland.

Marquam Trail and Council Crest Park

Head just south of the Downtown Portland area to reach Marquam Park. While you are here you should take the Marquam Trail which leads up the forest hills and to an elevation of 650 feet. You will then find a network of dirt trails that can bring you in a loop or to other parks and neighborhood streets. The trails all lead somewhere different so make sure to keep track of where you are and where you want to go.

At the end of the Marquam Trail, you will find yourself by a street just across the road from Council Crest Park. This is another great spot for walking and hiking trails, and if you are up for it you can visit both places in one day. This park is popular because of its stunning views of Downtown Portland and the Cascade Mountains in the distance. Build up your appetite and then head back into the city for terrific Portland street food!

Lower Macleay Park and Pittock Mansion

One of Portland's best hikes begins at the Lower Macleay Trailhead. This urban hike will bring you on an adventure through the city streets of Portland for a five mile long stroll. You will get to spend time in the beautiful Forest Park and also get to see one of the city's top landmarks; the Pittock Mansion which was built back in 1914.

If you are interested in learning about Henry Pittock and his wife you can take a guided tour of the house. Take a detour on your route to stop by the Portland Audubon Society which rehabilitates wildlife animals.

Clackamas River Trail

The Clackamas River Trail stands as one of the most beautiful hikes in Portland and is definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in the city. In total, the trail spans 8.2 miles between the Fish Creek Trailhead and the Indian Henry Trailhead. The path follows alongside the river and passes by some photo-worthy areas including a waterfall called the Pup Creek Falls.

Make sure to pack a bathing suit in case you want to go swimming in The Narrows which is a popular swimming hole and also home to some pretty cool rock formations. You can choose to either do an out-and-back hike or bring a tent to camp on the grassy patch near The Narrows. To get to the scenic waterfalls mentioned above you will have to continue along the path which can get hilly, so be prepared. You will gain a total of 1600 feet in elevation before reaching the falls which are definitely worth the trek.

Washington Park Loop

One of the city's most beautiful greenspaces is Washington Park. It is home to several attractions including the Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Garden and the Hoyt Arboretum which is also a fantastic place to go on a hike. The park spans 400 acres and has several trails for you to explore, like the Wildwood Trail which is over 30 miles long.

The beginning of the trail passes by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which is worth stopping by before continuing. Eventually, you will end up at Washington Park's Portland Japanese Gardens. You will then need to leave the Wildwoods Trail to complete the loop of the park, which in total is about 4 miles long. If you have the time and energy it is definitely recommended to continue along the trail and see what else the park has to offer, which includes a museum, archery range and many memorial statues.

Blue Loop Trail in the Mount Tabor Park

This Portland hike is unique as you will be climbing the city's very own extinct cinder cone volcano. Mount Tabor Park is a popular spot for all sorts of outdoor activities like picnicking, biking, sports and, of course, hiking. The area isn't too big at just under 200 acres but is large enough to spend a couple of hours exploring.

We recommend trying out the Blue Loop Trail which is about three miles long and easy to navigate. The trail circles around the park and passes by the two water reservoirs as well as a staircase that can take you to the summit of the mountain. There are also Red and Green Loop Trails that don't go to the summit and can be a bit easier to hike. You can see some incredible views of the city from the top of the volcano as well as the iconic bronze statue of Harvey W. Scott at the base.

Powell Butte Loop Trail

This hiking trail located in the Powell Butte Nature Park will bring you up to an elevation of at least 1,000 feet from the starting point but rewards you with amazing views of Portland and the surrounding mountains. Although that seems like a lot, the trek will be easier than it sounds since it is not too steep. Instead, plan to walk for longer but with a less intense elevation gain.

The trail is about 6.2 miles long making it worthy for a day trip. The nature park is well kept and not too complicated to navigate so you don't have to worry about getting lost. This hike is located almost three hours away from the city center but is worth the drive if you want to make a day excursion out of it.

Springwater Corridor on the Willamette River

If you are looking for an easy and picturesque hike, the Springwater Corridor Trail on the Willamette River is perfect for you. The paved trail is not too difficult to navigate and spans for 21 miles so you have more than enough paths to keep you satisfied. The trailhead begins just past the Oaks Amusement Park by the Sellwood Waterfront Park.

Continue along the paved path and eventually, you will end up in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. This is a nice place to stop by to see some wild animals, but if you want to keep your trek short you can turn around and head back the way that you came. The whole Springwater trail is about 6 miles long.

The Maple Trail Loop in Forest Park

Forest Park is a huge green expanse in Portland that encompasses about 5,000 acres of space within the city limits making it easily accessible from anywhere in Portland. Here you will find close to 80 miles worth of walking trails, forest roads and other paths that can get you out into nature and away from the busy city streets. This park is connected to the Wildwood Trail so if you want to continue on from Washington Park you will end up here.

To see some of the tallest and most impressive trees in the reserve we recommend you take a walk along the Maple Trail. It is also connected to other pathways and forested parks so you can make your walk as long or as short as you like. Depending on which trails you choose to follow you can experience an elevation gain of up to 1,000 feet. Since you will be walking through a dense forest it can be a good idea to bring a map and compass in case you lose sight of the signs and trail markers.

Silver Falls State Park

This park is a bit further away than some of the others mentioned above and will take a bit over an hour to reach, but it stands as one of the best hikes near Portland and one of Oregon's Natural Wonders. It is one of the best waterfall hikes in the city and a great place to start outdoor adventures. On-site you will find a conference area, day-use spot and a campground surrounded by many trails just waiting to be discovered.

By far one of the best paths to follow is the Trail of Ten Falls loop that will take you past several gorgeous waterfalls. You will hike up to 1,200 feet in elevation but the views are worth every step. On this 7.6 mile hike, you will pass by ten different waterfalls including the Twin Falls, Winter Falls, Silver Falls and Drake Falls. This scenic route combines both the Ridge Trails and the Canyon Trail.

Tryon Creek Natural Area

Tryon Creek is one of the favorite hiking spots in Portland and has been a popular spot for spending quality time in nature for a while now. There are about 8 miles worth of paths by this lovely creek and since it is located close to the city center it makes for a great local hiking spot. Some of the favorite trails include the Middle Creek, Old Main and Cedar trails which create a two mile loop that can be nice and quick.

If you want to go biking or horseback riding here you can, as this area has several miles of dedicated trails. The park is also dog friendly so if you are traveling with your four-legged family members bring them along! If you are interested in learning more about nature, the local geography, wildlife and history of the area then you can stop by the visitor center located inside the park.

Easy Hikes in Portland

Powell Butte Loop Trail

A good hike to start off with is the Powell Butte Loop Trail. This park has well maintained dirt paths and trails that are not too difficult to traverse and make for an easy and enjoyable hike. A great activity for kids, this trek will give them a nice taste of Portland's wilderness.

Washington Park Loop

The Washington Park is connected to a whole network of trails with varying difficulty although many of them are short and easy. If you want to challenge yourself more you can continue for longer or stick to some shorter ones if you want to keep it easy.

Intermediate Hikes in Portland

Lower Macleay Park and Pittock Mansion

This intermediate hike is great for beginners who want a challenge and for experienced hikers that want to take it easy.

Tryon Creek Natural Area

The paths at the Tryon Creek Natural Area is also a great intermediate hike that has several trails for you to choose from so you can pick a trail that suits your challenge level.

Difficult Hikes in Portland

Silver Falls State Park

The trails at Silver Falls State Park are challenging and will bring you up to a higher elevation but the extra effort is definitely worth it as you will be rewarded with incredible views and scenic waterfalls.

Marquam Trail and Council Crest

If you want to challenge yourself without going too far outside of the city then the Marquam Trail and Council Crest is a good option for you. Visit and see if the trails are challenging enough!

Take Off on an Outdoor Adventure in Portland

There are so many gorgeous hiking trails located within the city limits that can be reached in just a few minutes as well as nature reserves found in the surrounding mountains outside of Portland. Some parks have paved paths and interpretive signs that can teach you about local wildlife while you hike, while other greenspaces are more difficult and will take you on an outdoor adventure off of the beaten path. So what are you waiting for? Grab your trekking poles and head out on a Portland hike!

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