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13 of the Most Mind-Blowing Hikes Around Portland

Portland Insider Guides Hiking
by Henry Miller Feb 3, 2017

If there is one thing Portlanders pride themselves on it’s our dedication to outdoor recreation. The hikes the region has to offer range from incredibly challenging to blissfully soothing. All hikes end with the peace of mind that only the great outdoors can offer. Below is a list of the best hikes within a two-hour drive of Portland, Oregon.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

Rooster rock

 Rooster Rock State ParkCorbett, United StatesJust across Highway 30 from Latourell Falls, Rooster Rock is an under appreciated way to experience the Gorge from river-level. Good for an afternoon picnic on your way to Hood River #picnic #outdoors #columbiagorge #hiking

A casual, mostly flat stroll alongside the Columbia River is sometimes all you need. Named after an impressive rock formation that hangs over the river, this trailhead is perfect for getting a quick summer dip after a short meditative walk and a picnic.

Puff Falls

 Puff FallsCarson, United StatesOne of the best short hikes for those who like to walk in the water. Not always easy to find, but extremely popular in the summer #daytrip #familyfriendly #hiking #extreme

This short hike is quickly becoming the most popular in the Gorge area as it offers visitors the rare chance to get your feet wet hiking upstream. Although there are few trail markers and it can get a little tricky walking through the water, this is the kind of family hike that kids will go nuts over. Wear a swimsuit and hiking sandals!

Tamanawas Falls

 East Fork Tamanawas Falls TrailheadMount Hood, United StatesEverybody’s favorite waterfall on the backside of the Hood in wine country. Short, easy hike with a pretty incredible finish #outdoor #mounthood #waterfall #hiking #activekids

Even in a state known for spectacular waterfalls, this stands out for its size and setting (a bowl-shaped canyon that provides a hypnotic echo for the falls, which you can climb behind). The hike itself begins at the Sherwood Trailhead and is short and sweet, following the babbling creek filled with mini-falls all the way to the source.

Tillamook Head

 Ecola State ParkSeaside, United StatesThe closest beach hike from Portland, hiking the head is perfect for a summer escape to the sea. Be sure to check out #indianbeach while you are there. #summer #kidfriendly #outdoor #hiking #camping

Sandwiched between Cannon Beach and Seaside, the Head offers three of the best coastal hikes in Oregon (the Indian Beach Trailhead, Tillamook Head Trailhead and Ecola State Park Trailhead). The short, easy-to-get-to hikes feature vistas of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, a WW2 bunker, log cabins and access to Indian Beach.

Indian Point Loop

 Indian PointCascade Locks, United StatesDefinitely do not underestimate this trail. One of the best #Gorge trails with panoramic views and meant for those with a challenge in mind #columbiariver #outdoor #hiking #extreme

One of the most sweeping views of the Columbia Gorge can be found at the end of one of its most challenging hikes. Open year round but especially popular in the summer with Oregonians looking for a tan, this steep incline runs along exposed cliffs and is not to be messed with. Its accessibility from Highway 30 makes it the perfect place for newcomers to begin testing their Oregon hiking grit.

Hoyt Arboretum

 Hoyt ArboretumPortland, United StatesOne of portland’s outdoor treasures. Learn about local trees and plants while taking in some of the best views of downtown #outdoor #hiking #gallery #free

The best thing about the arboretum is the limitless freedom its dozens of paths offer to visitors. Only a few minutes drive from downtown Portland, the arboretum is a beloved local spot filled with benches, open lawns and tags labelling the broad variety of species along the trail. To get the most out of the arboretum, try the Wildwood Trail loop.

Saddle Mountain

 Saddle Mountain TrailheadSeaside, United StatesBeautiful panoramic views on the summer. Saddle Mt is perfect for giving your kid their first mountain conquest. #mountain #outdoor #kids #familyfriendly #hiking

Located off Highway 26 between Portland and Seaside, Saddle Mountain is a dramatic rocky butte in the middle of timber country. A not-too-steep hike with panoramic views, this hike is the perfect way to introduce kids to a lifetime of outdoor adventure.

Timberline Lodge Trailhead

 Timberline Lodge TrailheadsGovernment Camp, United StatesMount Hood is covered with trail heads, but the Timberline trail is the longest and most beautiful. Hard hiking, pack for three days minimum #outdoors #hiking #extreme #snow #camping

The most iconic mountain in Oregon comes with one of the most challenging multi-day hikes in the state. Starting and finishing at Timberline Lodge, this trek offers a 360-degree panorama of all of northwestern Oregon and southern Washington and offers a variety of geological formations, creeks and alpine meadowlands. An excellent coming-of-age experience for Oregonians, this is the perfect long-weekend summer escape from the city life.

Ramona Falls

 Ramona Falls TrailheadRhododendron, United StatesHands down one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon. Short loop hike good for an afternoon with spectacular views of the Hood #picnic #outdoor #waterfall #hiking #camping

This cascading waterfall is one of Mount Hood’s best. The hike to it offers a gentle climb through alpine woods along the Sandy River. There are plenty of slapdash campsites folks use for picnics, so pack a lunch.

Lost Lake

 Lost Lake ResortCascade Locks, United StatesFantastic view of the Hood. #Camping #fishing #hiking a disappearing lake make this spot great for weekend getaways for a kids first camping trip

A perfect place to catch the sunset on Mount Hood in the summertime and also a stellar spot for your first camping trip. The loop around the lake is easy, and the whole area is ripe for exploring on foot or by rowboat. Fishing ain’t bad either.

Dog Mountain

 Dog Mountain LookoutStevenson, United StatesOne of the most difficult Columbia Gorge trail heads. Beautiful in the spring because of the wildflowers. Pack smart, wear hiking boots and expect one heck of a climb #outdoors #familyfriendly #columbiagorge #extreme #hiking

Probably the most popular spring hike on The Gorge, this ferociously steep trail (with an altitude gain of 2800 feet) is famous for the fields of wildflowers it passes through. For the full magnificent effect, visit in late May. There are two trailheads that create a loop, although they start and end at the same place. If you have the energy for it, follow the signs to Puppy Dog Lookout, an old fire lookout that is perfect for a summer picnic.

Tryon Creek

 Tryon Creek State Natural AreaPortland, United StatesOne of the biggest parks in the city and full of scenic creeks and ravines. Really feels like temperate rainforest at the edge of #portland #outdoor #familyfriendly #biking #hiking #activekids

Slightly smaller than NW Portland’s Forest Park, but no slouch when it comes to activities. Walking paths, bike trails and horse trails are all available within the sprawling forest, which is centered on a web of scenic creeks. Perfect for getting out of Portland for an afternoon walk that ends with an early dinner and ice cream in Lake Oswego.

Balch Creek

 Balch CreekPortland, United StatesOne of the fastest ways to leave NW #Portland for a jaunt in the woods. Stop by the #audubonsociety and the #witchescastle for photo opps

A popular field-trip destination for elementary schools across the city, Balch Creek exemplifies that city-meets-forest visage Portland is so famous for. Kicking off under a funky industrial-looking bridge just a few blocks from the NW 23rd shopping district, Balch Creek leads you deep into the woods where civilization fades almost completely. Popular features include the ruin of Witches Castle and the Audubon Society, which makes for a good afternoon field trip for folks of all ages.

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