Outdoor activities in and around Portland

Portland has something for every outdoor lover no matter if what you’re after is a mountain hike or an experience along the Pacific coast. Whitewater rafting is available throughout the year and it’s so close to the city that you can be home for dinner the same day.  For those who like to do something more relaxed, Portland’s Forest Park is there to receive anyone who likes to spend a day walking in nature. Here’s a list of things you can do in and around Portland to enjoy its great outdoors.

Ski and Snowboard Mt. Hood in Winter and Summer


Mt. Hood stretches above the surrounding hills of Portland, and it’s only an hour car or bus ride from the city. The best place on the mountain for a winter skiing is around the Mount Hood Meadows Resort. As for summer skiing and snowboarding, Timberline Lodge is a place where you can still ride the ski lift in the heat of the summer. Mt. Hood Skibowl is the largest night ski resort in the country, so if this is your kind of thing, you know where to go.

Kayak Downtown

Kayaking down Willamette River through downtown Portland is another exciting activity that all paddling enthusiasts would like to try. Kayaking in the center of the city is a unique experience that can’t be compared to anything else. Stand up paddle boards are also available for rent if kayaking is not exciting enough for you. If you want to see blue herons and bald eagles, go on a guided kayak tour upstream.

Hike Forest Park

Hiking in the Forest Park
Hiking in the Forest Park

If you feel like walking in a deep forest of Douglas fir and experience the shady trails that weave through this 5,200-acre area, then instead of traveling miles out of the city just go to the Forest Park. Walk the Lower Macleay Trail up to Balch Creek and enjoy the forest path that will help you forget that you are still in the city. The beauty of it is that you don’t need to go far from the city to breathe clean air and have a wilderness experience.

Run the White Salmon River

Rafters and kayakers who need a strong adrenaline hit can drive an hour and a half east of Portland and run the wild waters of the White Salmon River. The river runs through a narrow black lava canyon which makes the ride even more thrilling. There are class III and IV rapids coming one after another, so it would be better if you hire an experienced instructor to go with you and guide you all the way down. For the folks who want a bigger challenge, the 10-foot-high Husum Falls offers a thrill that you will never forget.

Bike Sauvie Island

Farmland on Sauvie Island in early summer – Author: Matvyei – CC BY-SA 3.0
Farmland on Sauvie Island in early summer – Author: Matvyei – CC BY-SA 3.0

The confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers that run through the peaceful landscape of Sauvie Island provides tranquil conditions for road cyclists from all over the area. The most popular trail is the 12-mile loop in the southern part of the island where you’ll find many families go cycling. If what you need is to ride your bike in solitude and not having to share the road with too many people, then go for the longer Reeder Road loop. This loop takes you along the Columbia River, and on a clear day you can see the Cascade Mountains while cycling. Also, if you’re lucky you’ll spot some eagles as well. Don’t forget to pick up a parking permit, a map, and directions from the bridge point on the north side of the island.

Portland’s beauties are endless, so you must visit this amazing city and explore the whole area during your stay. Good luck!

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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it. Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.


stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival