With summer in full swing, it is the perfect time to explore all that nature has to offer…right in our back yard! If you’re looking to take to the trails, check out one of these Pacific Northwest favorites for stunning views, great memories, and a little extra cardio!
Ponytail Falls | Difficulty: Easy; 1.6 miles round-trip | Columbia River Gorge
Accessible and family-friendly with an elevation gain of 360 feet, this hike is a great way to break in those new hiking boots or get your feet wet with your first Pacific Northwest trek. Starting at the scenic Horsetail Falls trailhead, this trail has mild switchbacks that come around the mountain and open-up to stunning views of Ponytail Falls. A quick 1.6 miles round-trip, you’ll still have time to make it to Salt & Straw for a scoop (or two!) before the day is done.
Trillium Lake Loop Hike | Difficulty: Easy; 1.9 miles round-trip | Government Camp, Oregon
With Mount Hood as the backdrop, you cannot beat the natural beauty of Trillium Lake. A popular day-use and camping destination in the summer and early fall months, the hike itself is quick and full of views you’ll probably recognize from local postcards – so don’t forget to bring your camera! Because of its accessibility and beauty, this is a very popular location for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels – so bring the family and your four-legged friend for a beautiful hike you won’t forget!
Lower Macleay Park Trail | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate; up to 5.6 miles | Portland, OR
Take to the Lower Macleay Park Trail and Forest Park for a hike that will bring you a bit of everything! From creeks and beautiful trees to two Portland favorites – The Witch’s Castle and Pittock Mansion, this trail can be kept at a simple 1.8 mile loop with just 210 feet of elevation or can be expanded to a 5.6 mile trek that will transport you to a whole different world even though the city is just minutes away.
Angel’s Rest | Difficulty: Moderate; 4.8 miles round-trip | Bridal Veil, OR
An exposed bluff on the west end of the Columbia River Gorge that is part of a million-year-old lava flow, this hike has an elevation gain of nearly 1500 feet in just 2.4 miles! But don’t let the long, rocky spines and elevation gain deter you – the stunning 270-degree views from the top make this hike worth all the effort! A popular hiking destination with waterfalls visible from the trail, it’s a trek that you won’t forget!
Marquam Nature Park Loop | Difficulty: Moderate; 6.3 miles round-trip | Portland, OR
With the beautiful native forest of Douglas Fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, big leaf maple and vine maple that surrounds you, you’ll almost forget you’re still within city limits, minutes from OHSU and Terwilliger Boulevard. Take a moment to rest in the amphitheater or to admire the stunning Marquam Mosaic as you climb over 1000 feet in elevation amongst towering trees, fragrant flowers, and babbling creeks.
Whether on one of the hikes above or another excursion, always be sure to plan ahead for your trip, leave no trace, pack appropriately, tell friends and family where you will be, and have fun!