I was never one to wander the flat paths of the Midwest where my allergies ran roughshod. That said, I am a top 10 list adventurer and Multnomah Falls almost always makes the list in Portland. What started as a trip to a tourist attraction taught me that Portland offers more than a path through the woods and I was hooked.
Here is my list of favorite (mostly family friendly) hikes so far.
The Classic- Multnomah Falls
This place is a tourist trap for sure. If you are glass half-full that means there’s coffee and a nice bathroom. The people who come to see the falls vs. hike them drop off quickly and you are left with a less crowded path the higher you go. We took a picnic and played in the water at the top mid-summer. It was glorious.
The Lazy Sunday-Wahclella Falls
This is a lazy Sunday hike because it’s mid-gorge (exit 40) so there is a little more drive time than the Western Gorge hikes. You can see some beautiful scenery from the car though and the hike offers amazing views in less than a 2 mile jaunt.
The City Hike- Forrest Park
Although there are several shorter hikes in Forrest Park my favorite is Lower Macleay trail to the Pittock Mansion. It’s 5 miles round trip but even my kids can tackle this one. Best of all, when you are finished you’re already in Portland and minutes from a delicious brunch.
Runner up: Mt. Tabor– You can take a fully paved path or mix in some trails. I like to run these urban paths for beautiful views of the west hills.
The Quick Payoff- Ponytail Falls
(from Horsetail Falls trailhead)
This is a great one for tired kids or less physically fit guests who want to do a waterfall hike. The first mini-waterfall is close to the start of the hike and wets their whistle to keep them going to the larger payoff less than a mile further.
The Date Hike- Angel’s Rest
This is a 5 mile hike close to the city that gives you over 1,000 ft. of elevation gain and amazing views of the Gorge from the top. There is a large rocky area where many people stop to have a snack and visit with the chipmunks. The summit is breathtaking.
The Excuse to Wear Water Shoes- Oneonta Falls
Put on your ugly water shoes because this one is a hike in water, over logs submerged in water, to a larger bit of water where you can amble up some rocks and dive in to the cheers of onlookers. It’s cold and can get pretty deep for kids in parts but it’s well worth it. Note: there is no bathroom or porta-potty at the trailhead.