Hidden Gems: Portland Hikes

Nestled between coastal and Columbia River Gorge hiking treasures, it’s easy to overlook the gorgeous hikes we have right here in Portland. These three gems provide an immersion in nature without a considerable investment in driving time. Explore the one closest to you or hit all three for a hiking hat-trick!


Wildwood Trail to Pittock Mansion Hike

Beginning this hike under the Thurman Street Bridge, the Wildwood Trail winds its way up and through a lush green landscape, populated thickly by tall trees that echo with birdsong. Expect to meet friendly flocks of local trail runners, making the pleasant climb past the mysterious Stone House, across Cornell then onward and upward to Pittock Mansion’s perch in the West Hills. This hike offers lush scenery typically found farther east in the wilds of the Columbia Gorge as well as the chance to tour a landmark rich with Portland’s history.

Start: Lower Macleay Park Trailhead
End: Pittock Mansion
Distance: 5 miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Cost: free (mansion tours $7-$10 depending on age)

Crystal Springs to Reed Canyon Hike

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden serves as a mecca for local flora, fauna and waterfowl. Begin your journey in the manicured grounds, its rhododendrons in bloom from mid-March through the summer, and progress into the 28 acres of rehabilitated forest in Reed Canyon. Deer are prevalent, as well as river otters, who can be glimpsed pulling fish out of man-made Reed Lake. The canyon is also home to Reed College, its nostalgic Tudor-Gothic architecture perfectly at home in the natural setting. Leisurely return to the trailhead while ruminating on this center for academia set in the simple beauty of classic Northwestern environs.

Start: Crystal Springs Trailhead
End: Crystal Springs
Distance: 2.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 145 feet
Cost: $4 – March through Labor Day from Thurs-Mon, free all other times

Tryon Creek Hike

Located just north of Lake Oswego, this verdant state park is bisected by Tryon Creek, which is fed here by a network of smaller streams. The abundance of trail options (pick up a free map from the visitor center at the trailhead) allows for creative exploration of several modest bridges spanning the waterways. Chart a trek of ideal length or simply meander through the lush expanse of protected land, losing yourself in this wooded oasis amidst civilization.

Start and End: Tryon Creek State Park Trailhead
Distance: roughly 2.5 miles (hikes vary)
Elevation Gain: roughly 200 feet (varies)
Cost: free