If you are looking to explore some of the most beautiful places the outdoors has to offer, come visit the beautiful state of Oregon! I could not believe how much there was to do in the outdoors near Portland, Oregon! My husband had some extra days off to use, so we chose day where we had no rain, which was perfect! We headed out about 30 minutes to Columbia Gorge and picked out a few trails to do.
We started on Angel’s Rest, which was about a 4.4 mile out and back. This was a steady climb most of the way, but nothing too crazy, except for the mud. It was so muddy that we were calling it the chocolate pudding trail. We literally had to detour into the woods because it got so bad. Along the trail, you will have several spots where you can see some waterfalls, which were really raging this time of year (late march). This trail took us just over 2 hours, which included a stop at the top for pictures and a snack.
When we were done, we decided to have our lunch, and gas up, since we forgot to do that earlier. Easier said than done! We found it difficult to find bathrooms or gas anywhere near the gorge. We did find one gas station in Cascade Locks, just after Bridge of the Gods, which had several amenities. But before we got gas, we pulled into the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, where I was able to use the bathroom. It was kind of an emergency! The Multnomah Falls visitor center was way too full, and traffic was a nightmare. If you are going on the weekends or even on a nice day during the week, GO EARLY! You’ll thank me later. We DID however, find additional parking which was on the other side of the highway, but we didn’t realize that until we were almost done for the day.
Wahkeena Falls Trail to Multnomah
Our 2nd hike that day was a bit longer in miles and time. We started on the Wahkeena Falls trail which was very quiet, and we didn’t see a ton of people. On the trail we saw several waterfalls, walked over snow drifts, and saw so much greenery. We continued to the Multnomah Falls trail, which then stated to get a lot busier. We knew we were almost to the end once we started seeing a lot more people! Check out a great blog explaining the loop to take here!
Once we finally got to the main attraction, we saw the hundreds of people who never even made it to the trail. They simply had parked their cars to get a good photo, but we were the ones who really out the work in and it was so worth it! What a magnificent waterfall to visit. If you saw the move The Shack, they feature this waterfall in the beginning of the movie, explaining the legend behind it. Pretty cool!
If you are not much of a hiker, that is totally fine! Along the historic highway 30, you can see the famous Multnomah Falls, Horsetail falls, Wahkeena falls, and many more. They have plenty of pull off spots for you to stop, take a picture, and continue on. Try to come during a week day, or early in the morning, because otherwise you might not be able to find any parking, even if it is just for a few minutes.
Ecola State Park and the Coast
On our second weekend in Oregon, we hopped on 26 W on our way to the coast! Ecola State Park was our first stop in Cannon Beach. When we arrived, we paid the $5 fee to get in, and then drove to the lookout point. As we parked the car, we were greeted by some docile, grazing elk! There were a lot of trails blocked off due to some erosion and muddy conditions, but we were feeling daring and got a little muddy to get a good shot. We found out later that the erosion could have been bad enough to drop us into the ocean! Woops! Please don’t make that mistake!
After taking a few pictures, we headed to Indian Beach in Ecola State Park. We loop trail on a nice hike, gentle hike! It was an easy, but super muddy hike in some areas heading back. On the trail, we reached a camp area with lean-to facilities for shelter and areas to build a camp fire. Not too far from the camp you can make your way to the lookout point, which has a view of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It misted a little, but we didn’t get too wet, and we were able to take some nice photos of the nature around us.
After we finished our packed lunches, we drove to Hug Point, which was a location I saw on Instagram! This was a fun spot, because there were areas you could access when the waves receded, but you would get stuck for a bit when they came in! I couldn’t help but think of the sneaker waves the whole time!
Since we were only in Portland for a few weeks, and it rained most of the time, we did not fully get to enjoy the outdoors as we wished we could have. Even though Portland is a pretty busy city, it is amazing that you do not have to venture far to feel completely isolated in the woods. Forest Park was about 2 miles from our Airbnb, which was very convenient for us! This is a really long, narrow park, just outside the heart of the city. You can literally walk up to 80 miles of trails in this park, most of which are very easy to manage.
Between state parks, trails, the ocean, and so many other outdoor near Portland, Oregon! This is why Portland is so great!