PDXtoday City Guide Play Banner

Hiking guide for Portland, OR

Check out these 15 hiking trails catered to all skill levels in and around Portland, Oregon for outdoor adventures.

Two distant figures walk along a dirt path through a foggy Pacific Northwest forest

Feel the fresh air in your lungs and the trail beneath your feet.

Table of Contents

From quick and easy loops around town to drives that take you to fantastic lakes and mountains, our city has so many options to hit the trail. So lace up your hiking boots, because we’ve compiled a hiking guide for the Portland area with 15 routes and trails to help you plan your next adventure and experience breathtaking views.

Note: While parks and trails may be listed as open, we recommend checking park websites before visiting for further info, current trail conditions, and safest practices for the area.

Key: Easy = 🥾| Moderate = 🥾🥾 | Hard = 🥾🥾🥾


A bridge spans a shaded grassy area with a person walking across the top.

The Northwest Thurman Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project was completed in 2014.

Balch Canyon Loop | 2960 NW Upshur St., Portland

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2.1 miles, loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Partially, first 700 ft from Lower MacLeay Park
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

While there are many entrances to Forest Park, this one offers several memorable sights, including Oregon’s oldest intact bridge, the Witch’s Castle, and Portland’s tallest tree. At the end of the journey, you’ll descend 101 stairs painted like a rainbow — a great spot for a post-hike Instagram pic.

A woman stands on an observation deck staring up at the surrounding redwood trees

Hoyt Arboretum has 12 miles of hiking trails to discover.

Hoyt Arboretum to Pittock Mansion | 4000 SW Fairview Blvd., Portland

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 3.2 miles, out-and-back or loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: At the Visitor Center
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

A winding descent will take you from the parking lot through land where 2,300 different trees and shrubs grow (including giant sequoias), before crossing West Burnside Road and making the final climb. Most people know the vista from Pittock Mansion is one of — if not the best — in town, but getting a good sweat going on the way to the viewpoint is much more rewarding than simply driving to the top.

A view of the trailhead at Powell Butte Nature Park with Mount Hood in the background

Views of Mount Hood greet visitors in the parking lot.

Powell Butte Nature Park | 16160 SE Powell Blvd., Portland

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.8 miles (varies depending on path)
  • Wheelchair accessible: At Visitor Center
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

From atop this volcanic cinder cone, you’ll be greeted on clear days by the Cascades (Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams), diverse wildlife, and wildflowers in the spring. Parking at the visitor center can be difficult, even during the week, but there are various other park access points in surrounding neighborhoods.

A dog and a woman wearing winter clothes sit on a fallen tree in front of a lighthouse by the Columbia River

You’re looking at Oregon’s smallest lighthouse.

Warrior Rock Lighthouse Point | 38151 A&B NW Reeder Rd., Portland

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 7 miles, out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

Your destination is a historic lighthouse — the state’s shortest — built in 1930 to warn ships of a bedrock reef that juts out into the Columbia River. Some of Sauvie Island’s best birdwatching spots (keep an eye out for bald eagles and sandhill cranes) can also be found along this meandering but flat trail.

Cows graze in a field with trees.

Cattle share the field with hikers.

Photo by @cambrieee_

Oak Island Nature Trail | Oak Island Trailhead, NW Oak Island Rd., Portland

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2.7 miles, loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

Only open April 16-Sept. 30, this trail is visually stunning, with panoramas of West Sturgeon Lake, as well as educational. Signs with QR codes will teach you about biomimicry, or ways that nature has inspired human imitation and innovation.

Mount Hood

A roaring two drop waterfall flows through a verdant forest

This waterfall is brought to you by pristine Mount Hood H2O.

Little Zig Zag Falls | Little Zig Zag Falls Trailhead, 39 Rd., Rhododendron

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 0.8 miles, out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

About halfway between Rhododendron and Government Camp, pull off of Highway 26 at the sign for “Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp” and follow the road to a parking lot beneath an exposed cliff face. A short, storybook walk transports you through a verdant forest to a roaring waterfall, where you can sit on a log and have lunch.


It’s a long, long way to the bottom.

Zig Zag Overlook | Timberline Lodge, 27500 E. Timberline Rd., Government Camp

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 4.4 miles, out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

Once the snow has melted during the summer and early fall, this trail takes you up and down several spurs of Mount Hood, offering a mind-boggling perspective on just how immense the peak really is. The final destination is a vantage point high above a colossal canyon. Celebrate your accomplishment back at Timberline’s Blue Ox Bar, a hole-in-the-wall featuring flatbread pizzas, craft beers, and glass mosaic murals.

Columbia Gorge

Beacon Rock's trail is cut into the side of the cliff, providing tremendous views of the Columbia River Gorge.

The first climbers summitted Beacon Rock in 1901, 17 years before the first trail was finished.

Beacon Rock | Beacon Rock State Park, 34841 SR 14, Skamania

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 2 miles, out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

Boardwalks installed into the side of this towering volcanic plug switch back and forth as you climb 600 ft, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the striking scenery. Fittingly, peregrine falcons call this geologic marvel their nesting grounds.

purple-blue lupine flowers grow on long vertical stalks

When a bumblebee lands on a Columbia Gorge lupine flower, its weight pushes down the fused lower petals, exposing nectar.

Photo by @cambrieee_

Catherine Creek Arch Loop | Catherine Creek Recreation Area, Old Hwy. 8, Lyle

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.9 miles, loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Only on the paved south loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

From February to July, you can witness 90 different native species of wildflowers growing on the gentle slopes at the eastern end of the Gorge. Just be sure to time your visit for the blooms you hope to see.

Vancouver/Southwest Washington

The end of a lake surrounded by mossy forest under clear winter skies

Keep your eyes peeled for deer, squirrels, rabbits, and birds.

Photo by @cambrieee_

Lacamas Heritage Trail | NW Alexandra Ln., Camas

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 7.1 miles
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

This trail’s proximity to the city also makes it a popular spot to jog and ride bikes while experiencing relaxing nature vibes. Move at your own pace along the narrow lake and branch off to several other area hikes, including Round Lake Loop and the Lacamas Creek Loop.

A bridge spans a forested canyon

You may have seen this scene on your smart TV screensaver.

Moulton Falls Regional Park | 27781 NE Lucia Falls Rd., Yacolt

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 5.2 miles, out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leashed

The bridge perched 54 ft above the East Fork Lewis River in a wooded canyon is certainly screensaver worthy. After you make it back from your stroll, take a dip in the swimming hole below the arch — just be cautious not to float too far downstream.


The cave was formed nearly 2000 years ago from lava streaming down the southern flank of Mount St. Helens.

USDA Forest Service photo by Cecilio Ricardo

Ape Cave | Ape Cave Interpretive Site

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 3 miles, out-and-back or loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Only at the paved parking lot, visitor area facilities, and trail leading to lower cave entrance
  • Pet-friendly: No

Take a hike with a splash of spelunking in this lava tube (accessible May-October), named for the scout troop that first explored it — the St. Helens Apes. When open, facilities offer lantern rentals, as everybody is required to have two sources of light (phones don’t count).

Tualatin Valley

A barred owl sits in a tree

We make no promises you’ll see an owl, but it’s possible.

Cooper Mountain Nature Park, 18892 SW Kemmer Rd., Beaverton

  • Difficulty: Easy = 🥾🥾
  • Length: 2.1 miles (varies depending on path)
  • Wheelchair accessible: Only at Cooper Mountain Nature House
  • Pet-friendly: No

Pick your path through this 230-acre reserve, where diverse environments ranging from prairie to oak woodlands and conifer forests attract plentiful wildlife. Make sure to stop at the listening devices that magnify local birdsongs for your ear.

Willamette Valley

Looking out from behind a thin waterfall upon a forest of evergreen and deciduous trees.

Fall colors loading in 3... 2... 1...

Photo by @cambrieee_

Trail of Ten Falls | South Falls Lodge Trailhead, Silver Falls Hwy. SE, Silverton

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 7.4 miles, loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: No

You might lose track of the jaw-dropping waterfalls you see on this trail if it wasn’t so aptly named. You can actually walk behind three of them, which makes for some unforgettable, mist-in-the-face moments.

Coastal Range

A side by side of two waterfalls cascading among vibrant green maple trees

See Pleasant Creek Falls (left) on the way to Niagara Falls.

Photo by @sshawnbarton

Niagara Falls | Niagara Falls Trailhead, Niagara Rd. Beaver

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2 miles, out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

Just two hours outside of Portland, you’ll find the most famous Niagara Falls (this side of the Rockies) in the Siuslaw National Forest. You actually get a two-for-one deal on this outing: The trail first passes Pheasant Creek Falls, which drops from an overhang and crashes onto rocks where hikers can cool off on a warm day.

PDXtoday phone
Good news for Portland.
Get the best local news & events sent to your inbox each morning, for free.