8 stunning hiking trails to check out around Portland

Nov 19 2020, 10:52 am

Yes, lots of indoor activities are off-limits for a while in Portland, but there is one thing that’s essential for both your mental and physical health that’ll get you through the next few weeks with a smile: get outside. Safely.

In fact, in her remarks last week announcing the “freeze,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown actually encouraged outdoor activity.

“We strongly encourage outdoor recreation and camping, and as such, our parks and playgrounds are staying open. Breathing fresh, if not chilly air, will help us all,” she said, as she announced the news restrictions on the state.

Well, let’s be good samaritans then: from challenging hikes two hours from the city to misty forests just 10 minutes away from downtown PDX, here’s a list of 10 awesome hikes near Portland where you can take in the lush greenery, use trees as canopies from the rain, and get all the fresh air you need.

Of course, as with all winter hikes, do make sure to bring boots, and be extra careful as some trails may be slippery or even have a bit of snow.

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The Trail of Ten Falls

 

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This drop-dead gorgeous hike is just an hour drive from Portland in Silver Falls State Park and will take you through — yes, you guessed it — 10 beautiful cascading waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, ranging from 27 feet to the pinnacle waterfall of the hike at a whopping height of 178 feet. The designated National Recreation Trail is about seven miles long, well-maintained and safe; just be extra cautious in the winter as the path may be slippery. And don’t forget to purchase your $5.00 day-use fee or a State Park Pass. The trail is about an hour from Portland at the South Falls Lodge Trailhead, off Route 214.

Tamanawas Falls

If you’re not all fall-ed out from The Trail of Ten Falls, you won’t regret visiting this stunning 100-foot high and 40-foot wide waterfall on the east slope of Mount Hood, where you’ll walk along Cold Spring Creek shaded by massive Douglas fir and cedar trees. Make sure to buy a recreation pass from the Mt. Hood National Forest. The trail is about 1.5 hours from Portland at the Tamanawas Falls Trailhead. The south access and parking area are on the West side of Highway 35.

Lost Lake Loop

 

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Family-friendly and great for kids, the 3.2 miles Lost Lake Loop is a scenic stroll, much of which is on a boardwalk, meandering around Lost Lake with incredible views of the wondrous Mount Hood canopied through stands of old-growth cedars, Douglas firs and Hemlock trees. The trail is only about 2 hours from Portland. The parking lot is at the end of Lost Lake Viewpoint Road, at the north end of the lake. 

Cape Falcon Hike

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About 1.5 hours from Portland, this 4.8 mile Cape Falcon hike will take you to a section of the scenic Oregon Coast Trail, where you’ll start by hearing the wind through the trails followed by the thunder of Pacific Ocean waves, plus a scenic waterfall, all the way to Cape Falcon, where you’ll see beautiful vistas of the ocean. The trail is about 1.5 hours drive from Portland at the Cape Falcon Trailhead, off Highway 101 in Oswald West State Park.

Wildwood Trail

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If you’re not looking to stray too far from the city, the Wildwood Trail starts near the Oregon Zoo and will have you walking through lush greenery just steps away from the heart of the city. As a 30-mile point-to-point trail, you can walk this one for as long as you want before turning back the way you came.

Angel’s Rest

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About 30 minutes drive from Downtown Portland, this trail is best to do on a dry day as it’s a bit of a climb, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Portland. It climbs uphill for about half a mile before reaching the top of Coopey Falls, a 150-175 foot waterfall. Make sure to be extremely cautious at the steep cliff edge at the end of the trail while enjoying the gorgeous view. You can find the trailhead at the Historic Columbia River Highway and East Bridal Veil Road junction.

Tryon Creek 

You’ll have no shortage of hiking trails to choose from at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. With gorgeous forests all around you, and 8 miles of hiking trails, including bridges and boardwalks, for those of all ages to enjoy, you’ll likely forget that you’re just 15 minutes away from Portland.

Marquam Trail 

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Just a few short miles away from Portland, another great well-maintained and family-friendly hike is the 3-mile Marquam Trail. Similar to the Wildwood Trail, you’ll walk through some gorgeous greenery, rewarded with beautiful views of Portland, Mount Hood and Mount Adams.

Be safe out there, and follow trails at all times.

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