One of the benefits of living in Portland is the large number of outdoor activities available in the area. We are only about an hour to Mt. Hood, with tons of skiing and snow activities in the winter and hiking, trails and other outdoor activities in the summer. The beach is only a little over an hour away, and the Oregon coast is a breathtaking place to spend time all year long. When the weather is nice, or even when it isn't, us Oregonians love to hit the trails and go hiking. We are so lucky to not only have the beautiful Columbia River Gorge less than an hour away, and we have lots of hiking in Forest Park and the Portland hills as well! Get out there and enjoy some beautiful hiking and take in the splendors of Oregon.
Tunnel Falls Hike (Punchbowl Falls)
Both Tunnel Falls and Punchbowl Falls are located along the Eagle Creek trail in the Columbia River Gorge. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Gorge, and one of my favorite hikes ever! To me, getting to hike along water and see waterfalls really makes a hike special. If you are looking for a quicker, easier hike, Punchbowl Falls is about a 4 mile round trip hike from the start point. The falls are gorgeous, and a great place to cool off on a hot day! Tunnel Falls is definitely worth the 12 mile round trip journey, as there are so many amazing sights to see along the way.
Another one of the most popular hikes in the Gorge is Angel's Rest, about a 45 minute drive from Portland. The views at the top are absolutely breathtaking- you get a great panoramic shot of the Gorge, along with the Columbia River, seemingly directly below. The hike isn't overly difficult, it is only 4.8 miles roundtrip, but it offers some of the most scenic, natural views of all of the hikes on this list.
Beacon Rock is the shortest hike on this list, clocking in at only 1.8 miles roundtrip. Although the trail is short and the elevation gain is fairly high, the hike isn't all that steep or challenging due to the fact that it is made up almost entirely of switchbacks. The trail is hardly shaded at all, so in the summer time it can get really hot. The views from the hike are great though, and it makes a perfect short hike activity.
Although hiking in the Gorge is absolutely breathtaking, sometimes its nice to stay closer in the city. I'm lucky enough to live in NW Portland, so the amazing trails of Forest Park are literally in my backyard. In Forest Park the trails are long, tree-covered, and varied. During the summer I love to hike to the Portland International Rose Garden to enjoy the amazing flowers and views, but one of my very favorite hikes is up to Pittock Mansion. The round trip hike from 30th and Upshur is 5 miles, but depending on your starting location you can make it either shorter or longer. The views at the top are definitely worth it, and you can even take a tour of the mansion while you are there!
Another great Urban Hike takes you up to Council Crest, a neighborhood with a great lookout over the city. Starting at Marquam Nature Park Trailhead in SW Portland, the trail is 5.8 miles roundtrip, and features pretty high elevation gains. If you make it to the top on a clear day, you might even be able to see 4 different mountains! The top of Council Crest holds a special memory with me- after our all night graduation party senior year we all came here to watch the sunrise!