Hiking In Portland, Oregon

by kimberlydinan on December 16, 2010 · 9 comments

Hiking in Portland, Oregon

As a girl who grew up in Ohio, I still can’t help but be awed by the mountains and natural beauty of Oregon.  I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.  Here are some of my favorite hikes near Portland.  All are within a 1 to 1.5 hour drive of the city. 

Dog Mountain

Don’t be fooled, friends.  This mountain was not named for the numerous hikers that bring along Fido, but for the knee-buckling, tear-inducing fact that the mountain works you like a dog.  (Full disclosure: I don’t know why it’s named Dog Mountain, but if I had to place a bet you’d better believe it’d be on the latter). 

The trail begins with a harsh set of switchbacks.  Just when you’ve reached your breaking point, the switchbacks end, though the trail continues to climb upward for a mile or so, before offering up a view of the Columbia River Gorge.  Stop here and do a little stretch, give yourself a bit of a pep talk, and then continue up the trail.  There’s no way around it, this climb is brutal, and the return downhill even more so (you will sing sad songs to your knees and quads later on), but the view at the top is, dare I say, worth it.  A snowy Mt. St. Helen’s (the infamous volcano that blew its top in 1980) looms to the north and sweeping views of the Columbia River and the Columbia River Gorge stretch out almost 3,000 feet below you. 

Directions: From Portland take I-84 east to Cascade Locks exit 44.  Take the bridge across the river (into Washington State) and turn right on Highway 14.  After about 12 miles, you’ll see a large sign on your left for the Dog Mountain Trailhead.  Park in the pullout to the left. 

Driving Time: About 1.5 hours

Difficulty: A gut-bustingly-hard 7 mile loop

Hometown hint: Climb Dog Mountain in April or May for a show of early season flowers. If the drive is too much for you, there are a number of cabin getaways to rent nearby.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Lettene December 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Some other hikes you might like: Siouxon Creek–a walk through the woods next to a pristine creek in the Cascades foothills. On the drive you will see an exposed cinder cone called Tumtum Mountain–and it’s all in Clark County Washington!
Other cool close hikes in SW WA include Cape Horn–outrageous views of the Columbia River Gorge–and Catherine Creek–at the edge of east-side dryness. Google them for directions.


Kim December 23, 2010 at 9:53 am

Thanks Jessica, I’ll make sure to check those hikes out. I rarely think about heading up to Vancouver for walk in the woods, but there is a lot of natural beauty up there.


Wendy January 12, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Adventures in Oregon! and I don’t see one…not one about running! Oh, there have been adventures running…such as National Hot Man Running in Forest Park Day, Kim using the facilities while bikers go by, getting lost in the hail storm, Peterson Ridge….and lets not forget the very important run after giving blood. :) – I’ll miss those adventures with you! but definitely plan to crash RTW with a little monthly slice of Wendy.


Kim January 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

@Wendy- you are funny! And I’ll make sure I get some of those adventures archived into this blog sometime soon. Oh how I wish I had pictures of National Hot Man Running in Forest Park Day. BTW, we are STILL going to have those adventures, they’ll just be happening in India and Nepal for a little while (when you come visit), instead of Oregon.


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