The Best Trails and Hikes In and Around Portland
The largest urban forest in the nation, Forest Park, serves as a testament to Portland’s commitment to hiking. Beautiful hiking routes that lead to old homes, rose gardens, and even waterfalls are all around the city of Portland. Are you trying to find the best hikes near Portland? There are several trails to choose from within and outside the city that are sure to give you a memorable experience, whether your goal is to spend some time outdoors or get away from the busy city life for a while.
Here are 5 of our favorite hiking trails in Portland:
Angel’s Rest Trail | 25 minutes from Ponderosa Inn
Angel’s Rest Trail is a moderately challenging hike, with a distance of 1.3 miles and an elevation gain of 400 feet. The trail starts at the popular Bonneville Fish Hatchery and climbs steadily through forests and over boulders before cresting a bluff above the Columbia River. Enjoy the 270-degree panorama of the Gorge, which includes Beacon Rock, Silver Star Mountain, and other notable landmarks, when you reach the summit.This hike offers a variety of scenery and activities for the whole family. It’s only about 45 minutes from downtown Portland, so you can get away for a weekend of hiking without spending all day on the road. You’ll see two waterfalls, the Coopey Falls and the smaller Upper Coopey Falls, along the route.
The trailhead is accessible from two parking areas along the Historic Columbia River Highway: one above the other at the Bridal Veil intersection. The fire destroyed most of the forest in 1991, but much of it has since grown back.
Eagle Creek Trail | 35 minutes from Ponderosa Inn
The Eagle Creek Trail is one of the most popular trails for hikes in Portland in the Columbia River Gorge, and for a good reason. It’s a beautiful walk through the forest that leads to a fantastic waterfall. The hike starts at Eagle Creek Trailhead and ends at Tunnel Falls, but you can easily shorten the trip by skipping one or more of the smaller waterfalls along the way.
The trail is easy enough for beginners, but it gets crowded on weekends and during summer months when kids are out of school. Thus, it is best to take this hike at sunrise or sunset. And bring lots of water. The path crosses several streams along its length, which can dry up during hot weather; once you reach Tunnel Falls, there are plenty of places where you can fill up your bottles with fresh spring water.
The most popular hike is the short 4.2-mile roundtrip to Punchbowl Falls; however, if you are up for some adventure, try going farther. You can also make this an overnight backpacking trip to Wahtum Lake in the high mountains.
Larch Mountain Trail | 45 minutes from Ponderosa Inn
The Larch Mountain Trail is a challenging hike that takes about eight hours to complete. It’s popular with backpackers, campers, and hikers, so you’ll likely encounter other people on this trail.
The trail begins at Multnomah Falls and climbs up the western side of Larch Mountain. The goal is Sherrard Point at the top of Larch Mountain, a volcanic plug with a panoramic view of the Gorge and surrounding area. In the summer, Sherrard Point is covered in a variety of wildflowers aside from old-growth hemlock and Douglas-fir trees.
Forest Park | 50 minutes from Ponderosa Inn
Forest Park, a 5,200-acre forest within Portland’s city limits, provides unparalleled recreational and transportation opportunities. The park’s trails follow the gentle contours of the Tualatin Mountains. Wildwood Trail Portland trail runs roughly parallel with Leif Erikson Drive (marked every quarter mile by blue diamonds), extending from its southern terminus at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington Park to the Leif Erikson/Thurman Trailhead.
The rest of Forest Park’s trails, roads, and fire lanes bisect these two routes, creating opportunities for loop and lollipop hikes. When looking for great hikes near Portland, include the picturesque Forest Park in your list.
The Moulton Falls Loop | 1 hour from Ponderosa Inn
The Moulton Falls Loop is located off the scenic Columbia River Gorge, just outside Portland. This 2.5-mile trail crosses a breathtaking footbridge, followed by the river with mossy cliffs and expansive trails. It can be very muddy in rain or snow melt spots, so be sure you wear appropriate footwear for that terrain.
The loop takes a total of 3 hours to complete, 1 hour each way, with plenty of stops along the way to admire the views and take photos.
If you want to chase waterfalls near Portland, the Moulton Falls Loop is an incredible place to start. The trail is excellent for nature lovers and photographers who want to get their feet wet by crossing over streams along various parts of the trail system. The best time to visit would be spring or fall, when weather conditions are more predictable than in summer.
You will never run out of things to do in Portland. Several great locations provide fantastic opportunities for hikers of all skill levels. Explore Portland’s famous trails or go off the beaten path. And if you need a place to stay before or after your hike, you can rest your aching feet and relax in our spotless and cozy bedrooms at Ponderosa Inn. Just 15 miles from downtown Portland, some of the best hikes in Portland are right in our backyard.