Guidebook

Escape into Nature: 10 Best Hikes near Portland, OR

The wet, misty rainforests of the Pacific Northwest are home to thousands of miles of fantastic hiking trails!

Greg Heil

Description

The Pacific Northwest is unlike any place in the world. Towering trees dominate the landscape, and above their vaulted canopy rise glaciated volcanoes visible from hundreds of miles around. The understory of the rainforest is covered in brilliant-green ferns, moss-covered logs, and singletrack trails soggy from the constant rain. Drizzle and mist filter down through the forest canopy, and walking through the fog, ferns, and trees can feel like a trip back in time to a prehistoric era.

The city of Portland is renowned as the gloomiest city in the Lower 48, with 222 gloomy days, according to Move.Org. It's second only to Anchorage, with 239 gloomy days per year. While the amount of rain and cloud cover may seem to be a deterrent from heading outside, the city of Portland serves as a gateway to an absolutely world-class outdoor mecca in the greater Mount Hood region. Local residents aren't content to stay indoors, and the population is fit, active, and adventurous. The region offers world-class opportunities for downhill skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking, kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, trail running, and of course, hiking.

While the climate may be wet, the Pacific Ocean moderates the temperature dramatically in the lower elevations. Even in the depths of winter, it's exceedingly rare for Portland to receive snow, and temps generally hover in the low 40s. Consequently, hiking and trail-based sports are true year-round activities in the PNW. Many of the hikes in this guidebook are accessible without snowshoes all year, while some of the higher elevation hikes can easily receive over 20 feet of snow per year.

If you're looking to escape the press of civilization and the rat race of suburbia, dive into this guidebook for a roundup of 10 of the best hikes in the greater Portland area.

Some of the hikes listed here, like Tamanawas Falls, will require a bit of a drive to reach them. Others, like Willalatin Ridge, can be found right in town in Forest Park. At over 5,100 acres, Forest Park is one of the largest urban forest reserves in the country. (Source)

Standout trails on this list include the Trail of Ten Falls, which passes 10 thundering waterfalls in less than 8 miles of hiking. Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon, measuring 620 feet tall. For views of Oregon's favorite mountain (Mount Hood), head to either the peak of Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain or simply walk the easy loop around Trillium Lake.

The Pacific Northwest is filled with thousands of miles of trails to explore! Whet your appetite on these highlights near Portland, then go forth and explore the rest of this magical corner of the USA!

Trail of Ten Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Trail of Ten Falls

3 - 4 hrs
12.2 km
440 m
440 m
One of the top hikes in the Pacific Northwest!
Moderate
Private
Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain

4 - 5 hrs
13.5 km
547 m
547 m
A popular hike to gain incredible views of Mount Hood.
Moderate
Private
Multnomah Falls Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Multnomah Falls Loop

3 - 4 hrs
8.0 km
578 m
578 m
Get beyond the crowds on this 5.4-mile loop hike that visits 6 waterfalls - one of them "secret" - and tops out above 620' Multnomah Falls, the 2nd-highest year-round waterfall in the U.S.
Difficult
Private
Tamanawas Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tamanawas Falls

1 - 2 hrs
5.2 km
161 m
161 m
A beautiful hike through a narrow stream valley leads to a picture-perfect waterfall.
Moderate
Private
Wildwood Trail Point-to-Point
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Wildwood Trail Point-to-Point

46.4 km
1,562 m
1,578 m
"The longest soft-surface hiking trail" within an urban boundary in the USA.
Moderate
Private
Trillium Lake Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Trillium Lake Loop

0 - 1 hrs
3.0 km
17 m
17 m
The classic easy lake hike for reflective views of Mount Hood.
Easy
Private
Portland, OR: Wahclella Falls

Portland, OR: Wahclella Falls

1 - 2 hrs
3.2 km
186 m
186 m
This picturesque 2-mile lollipop loop visits a thundering, multi-tiered waterfall at the back of a narrow canyon in the Columbia River Gorge.
Difficult
Private
Portland, OR: Willalatin Ridge

Portland, OR: Willalatin Ridge

2 - 3 hrs
7.2 km
284 m
284 m
Use a lesser-traveled access route to this 4.4-mile lollipop loop in Forest Park, and sample some of the park's more popular trails.
Difficult
Private
Portland, OR: Eagle Creek to Twister Falls

Portland, OR: Eagle Creek to Twister Falls

3 - 4 hrs
10.6 km
752 m
437 m
Get your fill of breathtaking waterfalls on this 13.1-mile out-and-back in the Columbia River Gorge that visits Punchbowl Falls, Tunnel Falls, and Twister Falls.
Difficult
Private
Portland: Cape Falcon

Portland: Cape Falcon

0 - 1 hrs
3.2 km
133 m
120 m
Sea cliffs, wildflower meadows, secret waterfalls, and little elevation gain make this coastal old-growth 4-miler a sweet dayhike at any time of year.
Difficult
Private