It’s peak hibernation time when the gray days make it tempting to cocoon at home with Netflix or a good book. But the great outdoors is full of hidden beauty in the winter months. Here’s a quick list of hikes within Portland or nearby so you can get out and get your fast fix of fresh air.
Keep it handy, check your favorite weather app and get out there.
You don’t need to leave town to soak in some nature. All this rain makes everything so lush and green. Where better to appreciate that than the Arboretum? Easily accessible by bus or light rail, there are 12 miles of verdant trails. Stop by the visitor center for free maps and guides.
All Portlanders know we should head to Forest Park at every opportunity, but picking a trail can be overwhelming. These days we’re going with a classic—Lower Macleay to Pittock Mansion. Pass the Witch’s Castle (a WPA-era stone house), the Portland Audobon Society, and go all the way up to Pittock Mansion for panoramic views. Doing the whole trek is 5.4 miles with an 850-foot elevation change.
Are you a Neighbor at The Carson
? The Carson is a proud sponsor of The Forest Park Conservancy and their Discovery Hikes Program. Join your Neighbors for a Discovery Hike and learn about everything from herbs to hops to forest conservation.
With a dog park, a playground, and majestic conifers, there’s something for everyone. The winding paths to the summit offer views of the city and Mt. Hood. If you want a bit of an extra workout, the stairs at SE 69th and Yamhill will do the trick.
This is a prime destination for birders but every outdoor enthusiast should check out this 1,856-acre wetland sanctuary. It’s only 25 minutes from downtown. Be sure to bring your binoculars for spotting over 200 species of birds.
Towering Doug Firs are the main attraction at this popular Mount Hood National Forest destination. In the winter they might even be picturesquely dusted with snow. While the trails are usually free of snow, it’s a good idea to bring shoe spikes in case you hit some icy patches. And while the drive from town is only an hour, bring your tire chains too.
Everyone knows Trillium Lake and its views of Mt. Hood is gorgeous. Everyone. And that’s why it’s almost unbearably crowded in the summer. So go in the winter! The main gate is closed but that just means a peaceful 1.5-mile trek down to the main trail around the lake. Perfect for snowshoes.Mirror Lake
Another beauty that gets overtaken by crowds in the summer, Mirror Lake is easy to access right off Highway 26. In winter, the spectacular scenery is easily accessible via a 2.9-mile lollipop loop with a pair of snowshoes. Enjoy!
Hopefully, this little list gave you some inspiration. Keep a go-bag at the ready so when there’s a break in the clouds you can get out there and enjoy the natural beauty all around us. Don’t forget your boots!