From the mountains to the coast to the desert hikers from across the globe will undoubtedly find the Beaver State impressive in its variety and magnitude of walking and hiking trails.
Pacific Crest Trail
Oregon claims 460 miles of the 2650 mile Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) which weaves through the Cascades along its way from the Mexican border to Canada and was recently made even more famous by local author Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild and its subsequent film. However, this trail alone proves one thing, there’s no shortage of hiking in Oregon. (For more information on the PCT visit www.fs.usda.gov/pct.
Then again, if the sound of this challenge leaves you already wanting to soak your feet in a hot tub most Portlanders find that nothing beats a day spent in the Columbia River Gorge. A 25-minute drive from Portland the Gorge is an 85-mile long river canyon created by Ice Age floods and volcanic eruptions a national treasure that’s home to the largest concentration of waterfalls on the continent. Be sure to take in the often photographed Multnomah Falls the site of many-a-wedding (once you see the falls for yourself you’ll know why). Insider’s tip: the Multnomah Falls Lodge has excellent pancakes! Make your next hike a “gorgeous” one and plan it with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge www.gorgefriends.org.
Still if you’d like something even a bit less adventurous there is plenty of available hiking both in and around the metro area including Forest Park (www.forestparkconservancy.org) one of the largest urban forest reserves in the U.S. Just west of downtown in the hills overlooking the Willamette River this 8-mile stretch of old growth forest offers 70 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that you don’t even have to leave the city for. Be sure to stop by Powell’s books to pick up a map before you go.
Other hiking destinations include:
13901 NW Howell Park Road
Portland OR 97231
Tryon Creek State Park
11321 SW Terwilliger Boulevard
Portland OR 97219
Silver Falls State Park
State Park Street
Silverton OR 97381
Oregon Coast Trail (OCT)
The Watchman Peak Trail
Crater Lake National Park
McKenzie River Trail (MRT)
A great trail for hiking and also mountain biking.
Audubon Society of Portland
The 4.5 miles of maintained trails at the Audubon Society of Portland a 143-acre wildlife nature sanctuary take visitors through a mixed coniferous forest streams ponds and native vegetation all within minutes of downtown Portland. The Audubon House features an interpretive center nature store with products for wildlife and nature viewing as well as products from local artists. www.theintertwine.org/node/5721
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a 140-acre (56.7-hectare) wetland just east of the Willamette River in Sellwood and is a birdwatchers’ paradise. Many species are attracted to the marshes of Portland’s first wildlife refuge including the city’s official bird the great blue heron. www.portlandoregon.gov/parks
Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve
This 650-acre wildlife preserve west of Portland in Hillsboro Ore. features expansive wetlands and an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities. Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve amenities include a community center with interpretive displays and restrooms, a wheelchair-accessible wildlife-viewing platform and additional trails. Free and open from dawn to dusk. www.theintertwine.org/node/6446
Sauvie Island Wildlife Area
On the outskirts of Portland in the Columbia River Sauvie Island is a rural oasis where visitors can pick seasonal fruits and vegetables or sample local treats from field stands and farmers’ markets. Parks beaches and wetlands attract wildlife and nature lovers alike. Fall brings bright colors pumpkin patches — even a corn maze to weave through. www.theintertwine.org/node/6967
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is a place to discover an ever-changing panorama of wildlife. In fact, as the seasons change so do the wildlife viewing opportunities. Located on the Pacific Flyway the Refuge is an important stopover where migrating waterfowl songbirds and shorebirds stop to rest refuel and raise their young. www.theintertwine.org/node/7142
Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area
The largest protected wetlands within a U.S. city Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is 205-acre waterway and haven for many animal species and heaven for nature-seeking hikers bikers and kayakers. Composed of two lakes (the Smith and the Bybee) this public parkland is home to beavers black-tailed deer and even bald eagles which can be seen from two wildlife-viewing platforms. www.theintertwine.org/node/7014
Or check out www.oregonhiking.com for an extensive catalog of beginner to advanced hikes throughout the state.