Rushing waterfalls? Yes. Serene forests? Absolutely. Volcanoes? Of course, we have those, too. Portland’s lush natural resources guarantee that you’re never far from a getaway you’ll never forget.
Spring ushers in a whole slate of new possibilities to discover the area’s labyrinth of trails. These thrilling hikes prove that Portland is truly an adventurer’s paradise when it comes to all things outdoor.
The Wildwood Trail
It’s the Wildwood Trail because it’d be wild to not hit up this hike while you’re in the Portland area. You’ve got 30 miles from point to point to explore and you won’t be bored for a single step. From the trailhead, you’ll go south to north and pass by some really cool spots, including the Vietnam Memorial Gardens and the Hoyt Arboretum. After a packed first couple of miles, you hit large swaths of the trail that are more open and free-range. There are multiple bridges throughout the trail and the spring foliage makes every inch of this hike a beautiful sight to see.
Leach Botanical Garden Trail
Portland looks best in full bloom, and the flowers and plants of the Leach Botanical Garden aren’t shy this time of year. The Leach Botanical Garden Trail is a short loop that’s best seen with a pair of binoculars. Hikers can really soak up the natural beauty of the area on this half-a-mile saunter across a footbridge and around a small pond. Well-manicured and easy to navigate, the trail is a serene hike that’s quick and fun. This trail is known for its solitude so it’s a good place to go if you’re looking to get away. As a bonus, there are bathrooms nearby and plant identification cards along the way.
Mount Tabor Loop Trail
A secluded natural overlook towering above the picturesque Portland cityscape. Mount Tabor Loop Trail is truly the best of both worlds. The 2-mile loop snakes around three different reservoirs within the park, and it’s within range of various amenities including picnic areas and some sports courts. Most of the trail is paved with asphalt and is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. If you go clockwise, be warned that the trail can get a little steep at some points. Locals know that the best time to take on this hike is towards the evening when you can catch a glimpse of the sun setting over Portland.
Linnton Loop Trail
The Linnton Loop Trail is twice as nice because you get to see not one, but two parks during this hike. Linnton Park and Clark & Wilson Park are the two you’ll hit on this hike, although they are both considered to be part of Forest Park. Your journey begins at a bus shelter and continues on to a creek on the North bank. The massive trees will shade you on your way across the footbridge to the main trail. Navigate the nearly dozen switchbacks and gullies while passing by the old reservoir that’s now coated in rich vegetation. This is a 5.2-mile, family-friendly trail that reaches an elevation of 930 feet.
The Eagle Creek Trail
The Eagle Creek Trail contains postcard-worthy views of the imposing mountains and the flowing Punch bowl Falls. Its extreme popularity means the cords can get heavy at times, but the trip is worth it to take a dip in the swimming pool and catch a glimpse of the pristine water. There’s even more aquatic action to be found at the tunnel waterfall, where hikes can traipse behind the water. Some parts of this trail have handrails and make sure to keep an eye on little ones throughout this slippery hike. Get to the trailhead early to claim one of the 70 parking spaces.
Angels Rest Trail
Can you really experience all of Portland without being at least 1600 feet above it? Probably not so that’s why you should go on the Angels Rest Trail that sends you on a mission to scale this exposed bluff and triumphantly reach the top, where you’ll be surrounded by cliffs and impeccable views on all three sides. It’s less than 3 miles from the trailhead to get to the summit, and this trail has enduring popularity with hikers of all backgrounds and abilities. Well, the peak is the main attraction on Angel’s Rest Trail, the array of waterfalls and dense forestry gives you plenty to look at on your way to the top. Be aware that this trail has a habit of getting muddy in the springtime.
Powell Butte Loop Trail
The Powell Butte Loop Trail has all the traditional trappings of a hike, except for the volcano that’s definitely not something you see every day. This trail puts you smack dab in the middle of a network of volcanos that spans Powell Butte’s 600 acres of land. You get the benefit of traversing through both thickly forested areas and wide open spaces on this trail. Come springtime there’s an interesting addition to Powell Butte: a piano. Yes, when the weather gets warm it’s not uncommon for there to be a decorated piano at the top of this trail.
Lower Macleay to Stone House Trail
This hike feels like something from straight out of “Into the Woods.” The Lower Macleay to Stone House Trail takes you on a short hike through the forests, after which you’ll reach Stone House, a moss-covered structure affectionately known as the “Witches Castle.” The elevation change is roughly 400 feet and the flowing Balch Creek keeps you company on your trip. In fact, you might even be able to see the trout swimming along in the water if you get close enough. Another key attraction in the park is the 240-foot tree that’s one of the largest fir trees located within a city setting.