Portland Hiking Trails

What all of these hikes have in common is geography; each one can be found within Portland city limits (plus Sauvie Island). Let this be both a guide and a reminder: You don’t have to take a road trip to find good hiking around Portland.

Easy hikes

Hoyt Arboretum Loop (4.7 miles, Northwest Portland): A scenic loop hike through the northern portion of Washington Park, centered around the Hoyt Arboretum.

Kelley Point Park (1.7 miles, North Portland): Easy walk along beach and paved trails at the point where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers converge.

Mount Tabor Green Trail (1.7 miles, Southeast Portland): A walk around the perimeter of Mount Tabor Park, on both paved roads and dirt trails.

Oak Island (2.8 miles, Sauvie Island): Seasonal hike through the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, open from mid-April through September.

Oaks Bottom (2.3 miles, Southeast Portland): Loop hike around the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge — a wetland, meadow and forest complex that is home to a great diversity of birds.

Smith and Bybee Lakes (2.1 miles, North Portland): A paved trail through the Smith and Bybee Lakes Wetlands Natural Area, home of painted turtles, eagles, herons and more.

Tryon Creek Inner Loop (1.9 miles, Southwest Portland): Easy walk along the inner trails of Tryon Creek State Park, an urban forest with several small bridges and muddy trails.

Wapato Greenway (2.2 miles, Sauvie Island): An easy stroll along the Wapato Greenway on Sauvie Island, where waterfowl and beaver sightings are common.

Washington Park Loop (3.9 miles, Southwest Portland): A hike through Washington Park, on dirt trails and sidewalks past some of Portland’s best attractions.

Woods Park Loop (2.1 miles, Southwest Portland): Trails through a 36-acre pocket of native forest in the heavily wooded Woods Memorial Natural Area.

Moderate hikes

Council Crest (3.3 miles, Southwest Portland): Most people drive up to the scenic point with spectacular mountain views, but a hike from Marquam Nature Park is worth the effort.

Maple Trail (8.2 miles, Northwest Portland): One of the best hikes in Forest Park, the Maple Trail is a lovely showcase of the park’s many bigleaf maple trees.

Marquam Nature Park Loop (3.8 miles, Northwest Portland): A loop around Marquam Nature Park, a tranquil pocket of nature saved by neighbors in the 1960s.

Mount Tabor Blue Trail (3.3 miles, Southeast Portland): A perfect tour of Mount Tabor, on dirt and paved trails that lead past all three reservoirs and to the summit of the extinct volcano.

Newton Road to Newberry Road (9.4 miles, Northwest Portland): Lengthy hike through the northernmost portion of Forest Park, along the Wildwood Trail and past the Hole in the Park.

Pittock Mansion Hike (5 miles, Northwest Portland): Storybook stroll through Macleay Park and a hike up the Wildwood Trail to the historic Pittock Mansion with scenic views of Portland.

Powell Butte Loop (4.3 miles, Southeast Portland): Hike around the perimeter of Powell Butte Nature Park, through forest and along the high grasslands of the extinct volcano.

Tryon Creek Outer Loop (5.7 miles, Southwest Portland): Loop around Tryon Creek State Park, a sprawling urban forest with trails for hikers, equestrians and cyclists.

Tolinda-Ridge Trail (5.9 miles, Northwest Portland): A hike from the Tolinda Trailhead to the Ridge Trailhead in Forest Park, with a nice view of the St. Johns Bridge.

Warrior Point (7 miles, Sauvie Island): A long, flat hike to the Warrior Rock Lighthouse up to the northernmost Warrior Point of Sauvie Island.

Park-by-park

Forest Park: At nearly 5,200 acres, Forest Park is easily Portland’s largest, containing the famed 30-mile Wildwood Trail among others. No one hike does the park justice, so get to a trail-head and explore.

Marquam Nature Park: The tranquil pocket of forest that is Marquam Nature Park offers no spectacular views (though it does connect to the Council Crest Hike), offering a peaceful wooded walk instead.

Mount Tabor: Portland’s most popular extinct volcano, Mount Tabor Park is 190 acres of paved and dirt trails, popular among locals and tourists alike for its spectacular views, grassy meadows, playgrounds and annual PDX Adult Soap Box Derby.

Powell Butte: Another of Portland’s extinct volcanoes, Powell Butte Nature Park contains some 612 acres of forested trails and high grasslands, with stunning views of all five visible mountains of the Cascade Range.

Sauvie Island: Known best for its pumpkin patches and beaches, Sauvi e Island is also home to several good hiking spots through wildlife areas along inner-island lakes and the rolling Columbia River.

Tryon Creek: The 658-acre Tryon Creek S tate Park is a sprawling urban forest in Portland, offering 8 miles of hiking trails, 3.5 miles o f horse trails and a 3-mile paved c ycling trail — all perfect for families and local hikers.

Washington Park: The impressive Washington Park complex boasts more to do than any other park in Portland, containing the International Rose Test Garden, Ja panese Garden, Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, World Forestry Center and Portland Children’s Museum — not to mention paved and dirt trails throughout.

Learn more

Find longer stories and more information about these hikes by visiting the story online (bit.ly/24TXW0o) and clicking on the hike links.

• jhale@oregonian.com

Portland area Hiking trails — without cars

You don’t need a car to go hiking around Portland.

Thanks to the region’s robust public transit system, it’s totally possible to spend every weekend in the woods without even getting a driver’s license. For $4 a day, a Skamania County bus takes you by nine trailheads throughout the Columbia Gorge. Or, for just $2.50, MAX will drop you in Forest Park, dubbed the “nation’s largest urban woodland,” by Backpacker magazine.

With bewildering timetables and complicated routes, public transit can pose logistical challenges. Know your limits—not just on the trails, but also whether you’re comfortable transferring at remote stops when your cellphone’s dead. Here are our picks for the best trails available by public transit in the greater Portland area.

With bewildering timetables and complicated routes, public transit can pose logistical challenges. Know your limits—not just on the trails, but also whether you’re comfortable transferring at remote stops when your cellphone’s dead. Here are our picks for the best trails available by public transit in the greater Portland area.

1. Gillette Lake 5.8 miles

Get there: From Portland, go to Fisher’s Landing Transit Center by taking C-Tran No. 164 from Southwest 6th Avenue and Market Street or C-Tran No. 65 from Parkrose Transit Center. Unless you have a pass, C-Tran is cash-only, so bring exact change. A day pass for most C-Trans is $5, but on the express lines numbered 99 and up, like the No. 164, a day pass is $7.50. From Fisher’s Landing, take the West End Transit bus east to the Gorge. Get off at Bonneville Dam. WET also is cash only, and also requires exact change. It costs $4 for the day. For more information about the WET bus, go to gorgefriends.org.
Rural Skamania County, which lies along the Columbia River north of I-84, has a bus that runs from Vancouver along Highway 14 to the town of Carson. The weekday bus mostly takes seniors to the doctor. On weekends from May to October, however, it offers more frequent stops at trailheads and travels as far east as Dog Mountain. The more outdoorsy weekend bus is still mostly people going grocery shopping or getting their hair cut, so don’t expect the driver to point out the local fauna and extol the virtues of each hike. Also, be sure to alert him where you want to get off and where you want to be retrieved later in the day. Feel free to request a roadside pickup even if it’s not an official stop.

This rural bus opens up several Gorge trails to the car-less—Beacon Rock, Cape Horn, Dog Mountain. For views, a lake and the option to decide en route when you want to turn around, try the Bonneville Dam trailhead to the Pacific Crest Trail. From the parking lot, start out on the gravel road that soon turns upward onto the Tamanous Trail. About a half mile into your wooded climb, you reach a junction with the PCT. Turn left. A little more than 2 miles down the trail is Gillette Lake. It’s stocked with golden trout and perfect for a lunch break. If you want more time in the woods, push onward another mile and a half to Greenleaf Overlook for a panoramic view of the Gorge. Feeling super-gonzo? Veer upward onto West Table Mountain Trail for a 15.8-mile round trip adventure.

When you’re on the bus, the day doesn’t end when you limp into the parking lot. On the ride back, there’s an hour-and-a-half layover in Stevenson. For decent pizza, check out Andrew’s, just across the street from where the bus drops you. Also, about two blocks behind Andrew’s is Skamania County’s finest brewery, Walking Man Brewing, which has sausages on the grill out back.

2. Council Crest 3.3 miles

Get there: This is a walk from downtown Portland. Head south on Broadway and turn right at Southwest 6th Avenue. This will turn into Terwilliger Boulevard and then Sam Jackson Park Road. From here you can see the Marquam Nature Park Shelter at the trailhead.

There’s a wild gem hidden a mere mile from the Southwest 5th Avenue bus mall. Follow signs to Council Crest, the highest point in Portland, up the rocky, densely wooded Marquam Trail. At times, you are so deep in the forest that it’s easy to forget about the city. At other times, you cross busy streets or travel past rows of large houses. It’s impossible to get lost: Just keep going up. When you emerge at Council Crest, there’s a view of five Cascade Range mountains.

3. Pittock Mansion Loop 4.8 miles

Get there: Take the MAX Blue or Red Line to the Oregon Zoo. Walk up the hill to the uppermost parking lot and take a left onto Wildwood Trail. To get back from Pittock Mansion, head downhill on Northwest Pittock Drive. In a half-mile, take a left onto Northwest Barnes Road. In a couple hundred feet, you’ll see West Burnside Street. The No. 20 bus picks you up here.

If somebody made a theme-park ride of Portland, it would probably look a lot like this hike. You see everything: zoo kids, bubbling creeks, Portland’s famous mansion, posh houses nestled among the trees, the cocktail-slurping yuppies of Northwest 23rd Avenue. Start on Wildwood Trail at the zoo and stay on it for the rest of the hike. You pass an archery range, cross rough-hewn bridges and sprint across Burnside when the traffic ebbs for a moment. The last mile or so is brutally steep, but when you crest the hill, you’re at Pittock Mansion, where you have awesome views of the whole city. On Burnside at the bottom of the hill, board the No. 20 bus and get off at 23rd for some people-watching and sushi.

4. Linnton Loop 5.2 miles

Get there: Take TriMet bus No. 16 toward St. Helens and get off at stop 5355 in Linnton, where the bench has a flat, silver bus art piece for a back rest. For directions on the hike (it’s a complex loop), check out the Linnton Loop Hike on oregonhikers.org.

Hardly anyone ventures into these northern reaches of Forest Park, but you’ll be glad you did. Climb Firelane 10 with the whistles of freight trains echoing in the background. Take a left onto Wildwood Trail and listen for bird calls as you gently rise and fall, crossing streams in many of the gullies. Finally, descend through the dappled light of Waterline Road and Firelane 9. Note: The turn from Wildwood to Waterline is unmarked—the sign seems to have fallen down. End up on residential Northwest Wilark Avenue and follow it downhill to its dead end, where you find a stairway that leads back to the trailhead. Come August, this stairway may be the best place around for blackberry picking.

5. Tryon Creek State Park

Get there: Take TriMet bus No. 39 to Lewis & Clark Law School. Behind the school, pick up the Lewis and Clark Trail, which leads you into the park.

When the temperature spikes into triple digits, this is where you want to be. Well-marked trails lead you through the shade, and little wooden bridges crisscross the cool creek.

6. Lacamas Park    https://Lackamas Lake Park

Get there: From Portland, go to Fisher’s Landing Transit Center by taking C-Tran No. 164 from Southwest 6th Avenue and Market Street or C-Tran No. 65 from Parkrose Transit Center. Unless you have a pass, C-Tran is cash-only, so bring exact change. A day pass for most C-Trans is $5, but on the express lines numbered 99 and up, like the No. 164, a day pass is $7.50. Take C-Tran No. 92 from Fisher’s Landing to stop 2314 at Northeast 3rd and East 1st avenues in Camas. In front of you is a parking lot and an information board where you can plan your hike.

It’s like Clark County’s version of Forest Park. And good job, Camas, it’s almost as cool. Recent signs from two Eagle Scout service projects make the park’s 6-plus miles of wooded trails easily navigable. Round Lake and the Camas Potholes make overheating impossible. This is the best outdoor swimming hole you can get to by public transit. If you want a longer hike, connect to the Lacamas Heritage Trail, which runs along Lacamas Lake for 3.5 miles.

Looking for even more? Try the 4T, is a pre-packaged urban adventure that brings you all over the city. Walk the trail from Oregon Zoo to OHSU, ride the tram down the hill, take the streetcar downtown, and then ride the Max back to the zoo to complete the loop. Interpretive signs mark the 4T’s at every moment of decision, so you can’t get lost.