14 Incredible Hikes near Portland, Oregon for All Levels
By Guest Contributor
FYI: Some of our posts include affiliate links. When you make a purchase from one of these links, Urban Outdoors may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
Updated June 24, 2021
Hiking near Portland, Oregon is an incredibly easy feat, thanks to the dozens of parks, national forests, and recreation areas that surround the city. Whether you are into skiing, kayaking, or hiking, this city has everything for outdoor lovers. The hikes near Portland range in difficulty from short 1-milers through the city park, to epic mountain summits, offering a wide range of options for everybody. Check out our list of some of the best hikes near Portland, Oregon!
Easy Hikes near Portland
Hoyt Arboretum Trail
Distance: 1.3 mile loop
Location: Hoyt Arboretum
A free park located a couple of minutes from downtown, the Hoyt Arboretum is a sanctuary for trees. The trail is short and sweet, but can be combined with the multitude of other nearby trails to lengthen it (including the epic, nearby wildwood trail). You’ll see magnificent redwoods, spruce, and fir trees along the path. Situated so close to the city, every Portlander should check out this beautiful park.
Springwater on the Willamette
Location: Eastern bank of the Willamette River
This paved riverfront trail will give you lost of options for an urban adventure. Commonly used by bikers and runners, the trail offers sights of the gorgeous Willamette river and the downtown Portland area. The trail is open all year round and is pet friendly. You can extend your trek into the nearby North Woodland and Bluff trails to circle back around Oaks Bottom Lake and catch some ospreys nesting nearby.
Trillium Lake Loop
Distance: 2 miles
Location: Mt Hood National Forest
Trillium Lake is a classic PNW experience. The lake offers scenic views of nearby Mt. Hood and is easily accessible by car. The lake loop is an excellent hike for beginners and families. The path is made of gravel but is well marked. It will take you through the edge of the woods surrounding Trillium lake, offering a different perspective of this iconic body of water. The area costs $5 to enter, or you can get in with your NW Forest Pass.
Haystack Rock Trail
Distance: 8.2 miles
Location: Cannon Beach
You’ve probably seen it in pictures before: Haystack Rock is a series of rocky, tall islands located right off the coastline that look imposing and bold up close. Although there are several of these types of rocky islands along Oregon’s coast, the rock near Cannon Beach is the most accessible one. You won’t need to hike the whole 8 mile trail to see the rock. The trail is on the beach, so ensure you have the proper footwear. Birdwatchers should bring their binoculars on them as the area is a bird and wildlife reservation.
Tamolitch Blue Pool
Distance: 3.7 miles
Location: Willamette National Forest
This gentle trail will take you through old fir trees to a beautiful turquoise colored lake. This trail is actually the site of some interesting geological formations. The Blue Pool is formed from a river that descends into a submerged lava tube. At the beginning of the trail, you’ll see the source of the pool, the McKenzie River. If you hike this trail after a particularly rainy season (or after heavy snow-melt), the submerged river will overflow over the lava tube and created a waterfall that flows into the Blue Pool. This is a great option for beginner level hiking near Portland, Oregon!
Moderate Hikes near Portland
Ramona Falls Loop
Distance: 8.2 miles
Location: Mt. Hood National Forest
Ramona Falls is a gentle 120 ft tall waterfall near Mt. Hood. The waterfall is unique in that the water trails off and cascades into a hundred different fingers over basalt columns. The trails leading up to it is lollipop shaped and moderate in difficulty. The path is relatively well maintained, but does require a stream crossing over logs. You’ll start and end your trek at the base of the towering Mt. Hood, and it’s one of the most spectacular outdoor day trips from Portland that you can find!
Distance: 3.3 miles
Location: Mt. Hood National Forest
The Tamanawas Falls trail will take you a short distance into the woods to find a large waterfall covering a dry alcove. The trail is technically an easy hike in terms of difficulty, but ice and rain can make the rocks very slippery. If you are going in the cold, crampons/spikes are a must if you want to avoid injury. Despite this, the most magical time to go is winter as the snow and iced over waterfall will give the whole place a fairy-tale-like atmosphere (plus the crowds tend to be smaller).
Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain
Distance: 9 miles round trip
Location: Mt Hood
Take a walk up a mountain to get breathtaking views of Mt. Hood at the Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain trail. This hike will have you ascend 1,700 ft through moderately steep terrain. Somewhere near the halfway point, you’ll encounter Mirror Lake, a tranquil alpine lake that offers a good place to rest. Depending on the climate and snowfall levels, snowshoes or spikes may be required after the lake. Northwest Forest Passes are needed to access the trail during the summer time. Be sure to buy this in advance as you cannot buy them at the trailhead.
Distance: 4.7 miles round trip
Location: Cape Lookout State Park
If you’re looking for jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean, this is the place to go. This moderate hike will take you out on the cliffs of a peninsula overlooking the sea. The trail has a few moderate ascents and descents, and it will take you through a wooded scene on top of a 400 foot tall cliff in some parts. The views at the end of the trail are gorgeous, however, and the sunset on a clear day is something that’s unrivaled anywhere else. If you’re lucky, you’ll see whales and sea lions below, making this one of the most unique experiences you can get hiking near Portland!
Tryon Creek Loop
Distance: 3.5 miles
Location: Tryon Creek State Natural Area
Inside a suburban park south of Portland, the Tyron Creek loop will take you on a short adventure inside a lush PNW rainforest. You’ll cross several small bridges that offer great views and great picture spots. The highlight of the trek is a green suspension bridge located in the Lewis and Clark Loop within the park. Trail-finding can be a little difficult here, so we recommend using either a GPS or obtaining a trail map at the information center.
Difficult Hikes near Portland
Distance: 12.5 mile round trip
Location: Clatsop State Forest
A trail for those seeking hikes that are truly off-the-beaten path, the Salmonberry Trail is a secluded trek deep within the Clatsop State Forest. Most of the hike follows an old abandoned railroad track, full of wild overgrowth. Make sure to wear long-sleeves and pants on this hike as you’ll constantly be rubbing up against thick bushes and plants. Some would even recommend a machete to chop your way through the dense bush.
The trail has a steep elevation gain of 1,600 feet over 6 miles. The path will take you through tunnels and over truss bridges. The abandoned nature of the tracks along with the dense foliage adds a spooky feel to the whole experience.
If you’re planning on doing this trek, drive up to the eastern trailhead off of Cochran rd and NOT the Beaver Slide road trailhead. The road on Beaver Slide is narrow, steep, and full of potholes. Low clearance cars without 4WD may get stuck.
Distance: 29.6 miles
Location: Trailheads near Oregon zoo and Newberry road at the edge of Linnton Park
You don’t have to go far at all to get multi-day hiking near Portland. The Wildwood trail is an almost 30 mile path that zig-zags its way through Forest Park. Most runners and beginner hikers will stay within the first few miles of the trailhead near the zoo and arboretum. Most of the northern part of the trail is relatively flat. The difficulty progressively picks up the further south you go, with most of the elevation gain happening in the 5 miles closest to the arboretum. Near the southern trailhead, there is an optional quarter mile detour to the Pittock Mansion. Visitors can tour the mansion for a small fee. The rest of the trail is mostly dense redwoods, without many other epic sights. What the trail offers, however, is tranquility and peacefulness in an extremely close location to the city. This is a superb option for urban hiking near Portland.
Distance: 6 mile loop
Location: Columbia River Gorge
Easily accessible right off Highway 14, Dog Mountain summit offers a scenic overlook of the Columbia River and is well known for its wildflower blooms during Spring. This is a very popular hike and the parking lot can sometimes fill up. Be sure to arrive early and bring $5 cash to pay for passes per hiker. There’s a fork in the path a little less than a mile in where the trail splits into two paths that converge at a later point. The left is labeled “More difficult” and the right “Less difficult.” We recommend sticking to the “Less difficult” route as it is better maintained, less steep, and offers great views of the valley below. Be prepared to work out the calves; you’ll climb over 2,800 feet during this trek, making this one of the more difficult hikes near Portland.
Distance: Varies depending on route
Location: Mt. Hood National Forest
Mt. Hood is the pinnacle of hiking in Oregon (sorry, I couldn’t resist). There are several approaches to the summit, but all, obviously, require quite a bit of training and endurance. Be prepared for unpredictable weather and snow. One of the shorter approaches is a the Timberline route from the south side. This is a 7 mile trek that ascends over 5,200 feet to reach the summit at 11,240 feet. Hikers must obtain a wilderness pass; the US Forest Service has some important information on their website for anyone attempting the climb. The views at the top are unparalleled and you’ll forever have bragging rights for having climbed the tallest peak in Oregon.
Additional Resources for Hikes near Portland, Oregon
Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to wear a sweat-wicking shirt and breathable pants, like these Patagonia hiking shorts for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers for men and women, a down puffer jacket for men and women, and a Northface waterproof outer shell for men and women (a must for hiking in Seattle). And don’t forget a pair of the best women’s and men’s hiking socks!
Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we suggest throwing them in your car just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond Trail Ergo cork trekking poles, which are lightweight, easy to transport, and durable.
Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To limit disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask water bottles because they keep water cold for hours.
Sunscreen and bug spray – Sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects. Our favorite kind of sunscreen is Sun Bum, as it is free of harsh chemicals and safe for marine life, including coral reefs.
A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or capfor day hikes in the sunshine.
Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend the Osprey Tempest 20 or the Talon 22 day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes. For more information, check out our best day packs for any terrain guide.
Urban Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY
We’re building a community platform so you can meet other outdoor adventurers in your city. Sign up so you’re the first to know when we come to your city: