It’s been nearly six months since I moved to the Pacific Northwest and I’m still in awe of the incredible outdoor adventures we’ve been able to experience in such a short amount of time! Every chance we get, we jump into our trooper of a vehicle to explore and experience anything and everything we can. Since I’m constantly googling places to go and asking friends (Kirsten Myers of @sweatadventures, since she used to live in Portland and is a total adventure enthusiast!) for recommendations - thought I’d put together a short list of my own favorites to-date. **Not necessarily in any particular order
#1 Crescent Beach Trail - NOTHING LIKE IT. nothing. Plain and simple, no competition. It is my FAVORITE hike + experience in the PNW.
The lush woods hike is next level peaceful and the views are second to none. It’s about 2 miles round trip. And, the best part about it is that you get to basically have a private beach experience. Seriously, we’ve been probably 10 times since November and we’ll keep going back. Crescent Beach is clean and magical on a sunny + warm day. Won’t fail to mention that the sunsets are phenomenal 🙌🏼
(This is also where we took my family when they came to visit in March! **Granny and Grandpa stayed in this beautiful grassy area overlooking the ocean while my mom, Steven and I hiked the trail)
#2 Tamanawas Falls - We randomly stumbled upon this beauty! We pulled over on the side of the road after going through Hood River (and venturing on the Fruit Loop - which is also a must see). Stopped when we saw a sign that said Polallie Trail. There’s a cute spot for a picnic across from the trail where we enjoyed a serene little lunch. We were the ONLY people on this trail and honestly thought it was a miss and we weren’t going to see anything special. We came up on a map and I encouraged Steven to let me lead the way because I thought I could get us to a waterfall 🤪 (I typically have the worst sense of direction, so this was quite the gamble lol). Sure enough, we could hear the water roaring and before we knew it we were graced by the presence of this extraordinary sight. The water felt like it was falling horizontally - that’s how powerful it was! We were both drenched but both so excited to experience such an incredibly intense natural landscape.
#3 Mount St. Helens: June Lake Trailhead - This hike will FOREVER hold a special place in our hearts. This is where Steven proposed 😍 and, it was the most beautiful and powerful moment of my life. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. There were parts of the hike that we were climbing through snow up to our waists and it was FUN (mid-January) - we can’t wait to go back for a camping trip this summer! We didn’t summit the stratovolcano but we did hike a good 8 miles that day. Every couple miles you’d be standing in what felt like the midst of a totally different world.
#4 Angel’s Rest - This out and back hike is just under 5 miles round trip. We went on a pretty wet + windy day but as I’ve said (a couple times before 😏) if you waited for good weather in the winter, you’d never leave your home. Layers are pretty much necessary all season long. Honestly really glad we had on all our rain gear - it was MUDDY too. We went in April (pretty sure April is still winter here, or so it felt) and were totally soaking wet. The perspective of the Columbia River is the main attraction, which is pretty epic once you reach the precipice.
#5 Ramona Falls - There aren’t even any words for this waterfall on the west side of Mount Hood. The 7-mile loop is a favorite summertime destination. We went the second weekend in May and the weather was perfect, maybe even a little on the warm side but totally enjoyable. The permanent bridge that once allowed hikers to easily cross the Sandy River was destroyed some years back, so crossing the river consists of balancing on logs - but, this wasn’t difficult and shouldn’t deter your decision to pursue this worthwhile hike!
There ya have it! Five of our favorite hikes that are near Portland and make for easy day trips. We have some pretty exciting places on our list so I’ll be back with more PNW hike recommendations in the near future. Hope you enjoyed learning more about these special places and would love to hear if you make any of these hikes + all about your own personal experience!
xo - Courtney