5 Best Hiking Trails Near Portland

Portland has plenty to show when it comes to natural attractions. The city is known for being surrounded by varied landscape and unique wildlife and plant life. As a result, there are many parks dedicated to appreciating the natural landscape of Oregon. Most of the forests have been made into parks where patrons can enjoy them up close.

Consequently, the natural parks have hiking trails so you can walk along a path and observe notable parts of the forest. The trails surrounding Portland are unique, for instance, the waterfalls in the Trail of Ten Falls or the volcanic fields of the Powell Butte trail. There are many trails near Portland, but here are five trails in particular that will entice your nature-loving side.

1. Linnton Loop Hike Trailhead

The hiking trail will take you through two parks, the Linnton park and the Clark & Wilson park. The Linnton trail is three miles with an elevation gain of 830 feet, so you will be ascending quite a bit. If you have dogs that you want to take on your hike, this trail is dog friendly. However, dogs need to be kept on a leash. The trail is also kid-friendly if you want to spend the day with your family in the park.

The park follows a stream and has a beautiful forest trail. This trail is good for individuals who just want a short afternoon hike with adequate challenge in hiking. In terms of wildlife, there is moderate chance of wildlife sightings. You have a chance to see woodpeckers, deer and unique moths. One important detail to note is that at some point in the middle of the trail, it will get muddy so wear boots if you are going to hike the entire trail. The trail is open every season so you can enjoy the trail whenever you please.

2. Washington Park Loop Hike

The Washington Park loop hike is much easier than the previously mentioned hiking trail with the elevation gain being at 393 feet. Although this park is less forested than the one mentioned before, the park does have interesting plant life dotted with landmarks along the trail. Some notable landmarks are Lewis & Clark column, the Historic Reservoir No. 3 and the Elephant House. The plant life is particularly interesting with Douglas Fir, thimble berry bushes and sword ferns.

The trail is family friendly and is pet friendly, unless you want to go into the reservoir which does not allow dogs. The trail is 3.2 miles long and is partially paved. The best time to visit is between April and September. The best attractions within Washington Park are the Oregon Zoo, so if you want to see a variety of wildlife you can visit the zoo. There is also the Portland Japanese garden that you can visit. If you are interested in a hiking loop with additional places for activities, then the Washington Park Loop Hike is for you. The park is free for patrons.

3. Powell Butte Loop Hike

The Powell Butte Loop hike is named after the extinct volcano within Southeast Portland. This is loop hike is a mile longer that the other loop hikes and will take you around the perimeter of the park. The trail junctions are marked with painted metal posts. While on your hike, you will get a view of several volcanoes such as Mount St. Helens. Additionally, you can visit the apple and walnut orchards when you reach the summit of Powell Butte. Along the way, you may encounter cedar trees, Douglas fir and big-leaf Maple.

The trail is 4.5 miles long and the elevation gain of 530 feet. The trail is open is year around and because of the clear paths in the trail the difficulty level is easy. The trail has grassy meadows in the summit area, which is perfect on a sunny day. Because it is fairly short, the hike can be completed in an afternoon. This hiking trail is also dog-friendly.

4. Mount Tabor Loop Hike

One of the shortest hikes on the list, the Mount Tabor Loop hike is an interesting hike for geology enthusiasts. Mount Tabor is one of the many extinct volcanoes on the trail. It is also part of the Boring Lava Fields, a volcanic field where there are small shield volcanoes, cinder cones and has lava flowing through the northern Willamette Valley. The reservoirs seen on the hike trail are used to provide drinking water to Portland.

The hiking trail is two miles long with and an elevation gain of 242 feet. The trail features beautiful wildflowers and because of the length of the hike and low elevation, the hike is perfect for a family picnic or walk. The trail is dog friendly though they must be kept on a leash. If you are physically disabled and worried about exploring the hiking loop, the trail is flat enough for wheelchair usage. Because it is also partially paved, this is more of nature walk where you can stroll and see the varied scenery. The park is free, so you are only obligated to follow the rules.

5. Trail of Ten Falls Loop Hike

One of the most challenging hiking trails on this list, this trail is known for its majestic waterfalls. The trail is located in the Silver Falls State Park, the largest state park in Oregon. The elevation gain is 1,100 feet which comes with amazing views. There are 10 different waterfalls on the trail that you can see from different angles. The trail is 8.7 miles, but there are shorter trails where you can bring older children for a nature walk.

Aside from the waterfalls, there are mossy boulders and misty forests to explore as well. The best time to go to the trail is in the spring. The plant life is varied with such flora as Turkeytail mushrooms, hemlocks and salmonberry thickets. The trail is part of mossy forests and there are lodges where you could stay if you choose to. Additionally, if you want to take your dog to the Trail of Ten Falls, the trail is dog-friendly but there are certain trails where they are not allowed. For example, the Canyon Trail does not allow dogs on that section. There is a $5 day-use fee in order to get on the trail