7 best walks in Portland

Portland in Oregon, is an all-weather, all-season destination. There are plenty of activities for making the most of sunny days, including lots of tracks and trails to explore more of the city. Whether you are looking for a relaxing stroll or a hilly hike, there is a walking route perfectly suited to your abilities. From ambling downtown to rambling along the river, you’ll find something perfectly suited to your mood. Are you ready to lace up those boots and embrace the great outdoors? If you are planning a trip and looking for some destination inspiration for The Rose City, here are some of the best walks in Portland, Oregon.

Scenic walks in Portland

1. Forest Park

Portland’s Urban Forest stretches for seven miles and has more than 80 miles (129km) of trails. In fact, Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States. It is located just minutes from the centre of the city. One of our favourite trails is the 30-mile Wildwood Trail, and the Maple Trail Loop and Tolindoa-Ride Trail Loop are also popular routes. As you walk, look up and admire the towering bigleaf maple trees that make up almost half of all the trees in Forest Park. As you can imagine, this walk is particularly pretty in the autumn time when the leaves are a blaze of autumnal colours.

2. Tryon Creek State Natural Area

Located mere minutes from downtown, and running along Portland’s southwest border, Tryon Creek State Park is the only state park in Oregon in a major metropolitan area. Comprising 658 acres of forest, you can enjoy a hike or a stroll along eight miles of trails in a wooded ravine. Our favourite way to discover more of the park is to follow the 5.7-mile outer loop hike. The park is also home to diverse wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for all manner of animals and birds.

best walks in Portland
By Fredlyfish4 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

3. Council Crest

Council Crest is one of the highest points in Portland. You can drive to the top, but the hike to the top is very pretty and worth the extra effort. The Council Crest Hike cuts through Marquam Nature Park, a forested, serene area that feels miles away from the hustle of Portland city. You’ll meet lots of other hikers en route and lots of trail runners too.

best walks in Portland
By Visitor7 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

4. Mt. Tabor Park

Mt. Tabor Park has something for everyone from paved to rugged trails. These trails take you on a journey through the evergreen forest and to the summit of a 636-foot (194 metres) extinct cinder cone volcano. From here, you have sweeping views of the Portland city skyline. If you are feeling energetic, the most challenging, but also the most rewarding hike, is the Blue Trail Loop. This loop takes you to each of the three massive reservoirs and up to the summit.

best walks in Portland

5. Washington Park

The Portland International Rose Test Garden is just one of the many beautiful gardens to visit in vast Washington Park. Located a mere two miles west of downtown, the park is also home to the Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden. At the Hoyt Arboretum, you can wander among 2,300 species of trees and shrubs from six continents. In the Japanese Garden, you can take time to reflect and bask in the tranquillity of the five different spaces where art, philosophy and nature are in perfect balance. To see as much of the park as possible, follow the Washington Park Loop Hike which takes you along forested trails and sidewalks, past several monuments and statues on your way.

best things to do in portland oregon

6. Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park is located downtown, between Northwest Glisan Street and RiverPlace Marina, Tom McCall Waterfront Park hugs the Willamette River. This 1.5-mile-long public park is ideal for enjoying a leisurely stroll to soak in the great views. The park also has many historical and cultural monuments to admire, for instance, the Japanese American Historical Plaza and the Oregon Maritime Museum. You’ll find some lovely waterfront restaurants and shops when you arrive at the marina. Walking the Waterfront Park is one of the best free things to do in Portland.

best things to do in portland oregon

7. Pittock Mansion

The Pittock Mansion is an absolutely huge place. It is also one of the most haunted places in Oregon!  Constructed in n 1909 for Henry Pittock, the wealthy publisher of The Oregonian daily newspaper, this a French Renaissance-style château in the city’s West Hills is now a museum. The Pittock Mansion is perched high in the hills and, as a result, has stunning views. The grounds surrounding the building are a popular picnic spot, so make sure you pack a lunch when you visit. The walking route to reach the mansion is the Wildwood Trail which beings at Macleay Park. The route is an almost-6-mile (9.6km) out-and-back hike with a 950-foot (290 metres) elevation gain.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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