On the road again
Resources →
The Best Hikes Around Portland
July 1, 2022

The Best Hikes Around Portland

Portland is a city well-known for its natural beauty and abundance of hiking trails. From the short and easy hikes that are perfect for beginners to the more strenuous trails that will test even the most experienced hikers, Portland has something to offer everyone. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular places to hike in Portland and offer some tips to help you along the way. 

Trail in Columbia River Gorge near Portland

Eagle Creek Trail

If you have plans to hike around Portland, Eagle Creek Trail must be on your list. Considered the signature trail of the Columbia River Gorge, Eagle Creek Trail offers spectacular views of waterfalls, mountain streams and towering basalt cliffs. The trail leads you to Punchbowl Falls for a hike that is 4.2 miles roundtrip. If that doesn’t satisfy your hunger for adventure, try an overnight backpacking trip and hike further to High Bridge (6.4 miles), Tunnel Falls (12 miles) or Wahtum Lake (26.6 miles) high up in the mountains.

Eagle Creek Trail is a 45-minute drive east of downtown Portland on Interstate 84. It’s a popular hiking trail, so you should aim to get there by sunrise to get a parking spot before the lot fills up. To avoid the crowds, try visiting on a weekday rather than the weekend.

Hoyt Arboretum

If you are relatively new to hiking, Hoyt Arboretum could be a great first stop. There are more than 10 trails snaking through this 189-acre public park, including accessible paved trails of varying lengths. As you walk, try to pick out the differences among the trees that surround you. There are more than 2,300 different tree species from six continents in this living museum! Before your visit, take a look at Hoyt Arboretum’s events calendar. You may be able to join a guided tour or an outdoor activity like yoga or tai chi. 

Multnomah Falls

Known as one of the most recognized and iconic waterfalls in Oregon, the Multnomah Falls trail offers vistas that are breathtaking. It is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and has three very unique drops: the upper, main, and lower falls. It is a moderately challenging hiking trail that starts near Multnomah Falls Lodge. You can take some great pictures of the Benson Bridge from the lower falls. To avoid crowds, try to get to the trailhead as early as possible. 

Mount Tabor – The Blue Loop

One of the coolest attractions near Portland is Mount Tabor. Mount Tabor is a dormant volcano that has some of the best hiking trails and views in the area. The volcano last erupted about 2,000 years ago and is now home to green spaces, playgrounds and plenty of hiking trails. Whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a place to take your kids for a day of fun, Mount Tabor is definitely worth a visit.

Tryon Creek

The Tryon Creek State Natural Area is a state park in Oregon that covers 683 acres of forest land and features a natural creek. The park is open for year-round recreation including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and bird watching.

The park was established in 1978 and became a state natural area in 1985. In 1996, the main office and interpretive center were destroyed by a fire, but they were rebuilt the following year. Tryon Creek features nearly six miles of hiking and biking trails, most of which are family friendly. This makes for many educational opportunities such as nature walks and school field trips. The park is also home to many animals, including deer, coyotes, beavers and raccoons. 

Washington Park Loop Hike

Washington Park is Portland’s centerpiece natural space. It features many of the top Portland attractions including the zoo, arboretum and rose garden. The Washington Park Loop Hike starts at the shelter in Washington Park, heads north on the Greenway Trail, then turns east onto Ridge Trail, before finally ending at the amphitheater. The total length of this trail is three miles and it takes about two hours to complete it when you walk at a leisurely pace. This hike has moderate to difficult terrain, so make sure you wear proper shoes and bring water with you before starting your journey. 

Keep an eye out for attractions including a children’s museum, archery range and other memorials along the way. 

Maple Trail Loop, Forest Park 

The Maple Trail Loop is a 3.5-mile loop that runs through the heart of Forest Park. The trail is on the south side of the park and starts at the end of the road where it intersects with Portland Avenue. 

The Maple Trail Loop is a paved, mostly flat trail that loops through Forest Park, which is one of the largest urban forests in the country. It’s a good idea to bring a trail guide or map for this hike due to the dense forest that surrounds it.

Marquam Trail, Council Crest

The Marquam Trail is a scenic hike in the Columbia River Gorge. It is one of the most popular hikes in the gorge and offers views of spectacular waterfalls and other breathtaking scenery.

The trail starts at the Vista House on Crown Point, which offers an amazing view of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams. The trail then winds through old-growth forests to a series of waterfalls and viewpoints before ending at Wahkeena Falls. Sunset is a great time to visit to catch the amazing views. 

Portland Hiking Tips

Here are a few tips to enhance your hiking experience and keep you safe on the trail.

  1. Inform your family or friends about your hiking itinerary, including details about when you expect to return. And don’t forget to check in with them after you’re finished so they know you’re safe.
  2. Wear long pants to help fend off ticks.
  3. Choose the right footwear (sneakers vs hiking boots depending on the type of trail).
  4. Put on sunblock and bug spray and bring extra with you.
  5. Bring a portable charger for your phone.
  6. Pack a water bottle to stay hydrated, as well as some snack bars or a light meal in case you get hungry.
  7. Dress in layers to accommodate the  weather. You can always put on or remove layers as the weather conditions change.
  8. Stay on the marked trail to ensure you do not get lost.
  9. Do some research to learn about the trail before you head out for the hike, so you are better prepared and know what to expect. 
  10. Know your physical limitations, because not all hiking trails are easy. Some are moderately challenging for everyone and some are difficult for beginners.