Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to be surrounded a variety of landscapes and environments, both urban and natural. The city of Portland is nestled in the northern corner of the Willamette Valley where the Columbia and Willamette rivers join together, creating an abundance of greenery and natural beauty.
Thanks to this stunning landscape, Portland attracts many outdoor enthusiasts, as well as a large number of sustainably minded individuals and businesses that understand the privilege of living in a region like ours and want to maintain its health and beauty.
A great way to experience the landscape around Portland is by hiking one of the numerous trails. From the rocky cliffs of the Oregon coast to the rolling hills blanketed in wildflowers, the opportunities to explore are endless—each with their unique, rich qualities.
One of the most popular destinations is the Columbia Gorge, and for a good reason. The road from Portland to the main trailhead at Multnomah Falls Lodge skirts along the Columbia River, nestled between the wide, choppy waters to the North and the steep cliffs of the Gorge to the South. Waterfalls fall from the cracks, some trickling while others pour into larger ponds and then continue into the Columbia.
A great day hike at the Gorge is the Multnomah Falls/Wahkeena Falls loop. About 4.8 miles, it isn’t too long, but it’s challenging due to the steep incline. Switchbacks take hikers straight up from the road to the top of Multnomah Falls, where a concrete lookout has been built. The trail then continues over the falls and East to the top of Wahkeena Falls, cutting across the edge of the Gorge so hikers get stunning views of the river. The loop can be hiked starting at the base of either falls.
If you want to stay in the city but feel like you’re in the wilderness, you’re in luck! The 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park , the largest city park in the United States, is pristine and great for walking, running, hiking and mountain biking.
For more information on hiking in Portland, including maps and directions, see the front desk of the hostel or the Visitor’s Center by Pioneer Courthouse Square in the downtown.