Portland is one of North America’s premier outdoors destinations. The brave and adventurous journey to the city year-round to experience the Pacific Northwest’s rich topography, striking natural beauty and challenging hikes.
Regardless of whether you’re a day-tripper looking to add a little pep to your weekend or you’re a seasoned mountaineer searching for your next peak, there’s no shortage of exciting hikes for people of all skill levels within the greater Portland area.
The Pacific Northwest boasts scenery for every palate—deserts and prairies in the east give way to striking mountain landscapes and alpine forests, which eventually turn into rainforests and beautiful coastlines. Regardless of the type of landscape that you’d like to explore, you can likely find it within a few hours’ drive of Portland.
Hikes in Portland
Here are just some of the best hiking trails in the greater Portland area:
If you’re looking for a day trip to remember, venture east from the city, deep into the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, and ascend Dog Mountain. Located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, Dog Mountain offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding escarpments. There are also plenty of campervan-friendly campgrounds nearby to settle in for the night. Permits are required in the springtime, so be sure to plan ahead.
The Timberline Trail, which crowns the top of Mount Hood, is not for the faint of heart. Stretching more than 40 miles, hikers can either tackle this exciting loop in its entirety, or just a segment at a time. The Timberline Trail covers glacial ravines, wildflower meadows, volcanic deserts and alpine forests. It’s common to see snowpack as late as July in some areas of the trail.
Another permit-only trail, the Mount Margaret Backcountry loops around the northeastern side of Mount St. Helens, traveling through areas devastated by the volcano’s 1980 eruption. The Mount Margaret Backcountry is one of the most isolated, exciting areas to hike in the greater Portland area, if you can secure a permit.
Situated between Portland and the Oregon Coast, Saddle Mountain is a heavily trafficked trail that offers beautiful views of the Oregon Coast Range, alpine meadows and redwood forests. There are a number of hike-in campsites on Saddle Mountain, meaning that you can spend the night and visit Astoria or your favorite coastal town the following day with ease.
In 1980, the eruption of Mount St. Helens shocked the world. Today, thousands of brave hikers ascend the volcano’s south face each year and gaze down into its smoldering crater. If you’re looking for one of the most iconic, exciting and exhausting Northwestern adventures, consider hiking up the top of Mount St. Helens. Unless you’re planning an ascent in the winter offseason, you’ll need to get a permit well in advance.
The options for worthwhile hiking trails in the greater Portland area are practically limitless. Regardless of your skill level, time constraints or the amount of equipment that you own, you can find an exhilarating hiking experience near Portland.
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