Life in Portland Blog

Secret Portland Walking Trails You Probably Didn't Know About

 Photo Courtesy of Paul Gerald. Amazing!

Photo Courtesy of Paul Gerald. Amazing!

Super Secret Portland Walking Trails That Your Friends May Not Be Sharing With You!

If you’re new to the area, or haven’t yet managed to venture beyond the restaurants, food carts, brew pubs, and other Portland amenities since you arrived, you may not realize how many great walking trails there are.

With many of them situated within Portland city limits, or easily accessible just outside of town, it’s no wonder why many of these hidden trails remain the city’s best-kept secrets. But now, the mystery is over: read on for a quick list of some of the best walks in town.

Oaks Bottom

 Oaks Bottom on the Willamette River in PDX

Oaks Bottom on the Willamette River in PDX

A wildlife refuge tucked between a multi-story mausoleum, an old timey kid’s amusement park, and the Willamette River, Oaks Bottom is worth a quick walk in and of itself. Add in the odd blue heron, bald eagle, or river otter, along with little side trails that lead you to unmarked modern sculpture gardens, and you have a surefire recipe for awesome. Just watch out for cyclists when you’re on the paved paths!

Click for a map of the Oaks Bottom Hiking Trail.

Kelley Point

 Kelley Point Park: a Perfect Bend in the Walking Trail

Kelley Point Park: a Perfect Bend in the Walking Trail

The park that almost no one in Portland knows about (especially if you didn’t grow up here), Kelley Point exists in the no man’s land beyond St. Johns. Where else in town can you witness two of the largest rivers in North America smash into each other?  And besides that, it’s a great place to run your dog.

Click for a map of the Kelley Point Hiking Trail.

Mount Tabor

 How the July 4 Fireworks See Mt. Tabor Park, From Above

How the July 4 Fireworks See Mt. Tabor Park, From Above

Okay, so the fact that Mt. Tabor exists and is beautiful may already have landed on your radar. If you’re new to town, then you can be forgiven for not knowing, but for everyone else – did you know there’s an actual volcano within Portland city limits?!

Seriously, Mt. Tabor is also a dormant volcano that’s actually older than Mt. Hood. For all the tall trees, the annual adult soapbox derby, the multiple city, mountain, and reservoir views, the many miles of pathways, and more, you’d hardly realize that’s what was really going on. Take a walk through the many trails all over the area, and eventually you will see a full-sized outdoor basketball court. Well, that basketball court is in the caldera of a dead volcano.

Click here for a map of Mt. Tabor in SE Portland.

Tryon Creek

Perhaps one of the most beautiful nature walks in all of Portland, Tryon Creek Park runs from the backside of Lewis and Clark college in the West Hills all the way to the edge of Lake Oswego (the town, not the lake). The trees are gorgeous, the spring wildflowers even more so.

Click here for a map of the Tryon Creek Park area.

Sauvie Island From the Nude Beach to the Lighthouse or Oak Island

 The Light at the End of the Trail on Sauvie Island

The Light at the End of the Trail on Sauvie Island

The little island in the Columbia that you probably got your pumpkins from last winter also has two of Portland’s coolest walks located on it. Start from the nude beach near the northernmost point (buy a jello shot from the guy with the painter’s cap, if you must, and try not to stare at “the stallion”), then head north along the beach (watch out for cow patties and herds heading down to the water). By the time you get to the lighthouse at the end, you’ll have probably seen about a dozen bald eagles and at least a few super tankers.

Click for a map of Sauvie Island.

Lower Macleay Park

What other trail in town can take you from a numbered street in Northwest to the top of the West Hills? Along the way, you’ll see a burned out “witch's castle” where bored teens used to “worship the devil,” and at the end of the Macleay Trail, you’ll get to see the most opulent mansion (that’s open to the public) in all of Portland.

Click here for a map of Lower Macleay Park.

Portland Is Known for Biking, But It May as Well Be Known for Walking

With some of the greatest and largest inner city parks of any city in the world, Portland can boast that it really is the best when it comes to the many nature trails available to its residents and visitors. Now that you know where some of the best hidden gems are, get out there and try them for yourself!

The only thing you have to lose is that sense of dread that comes from sitting inside for too long during a Portland winter. The rain won’t hurt you out there, we promise.

[Images Via: The Intertwine; Portland Gov; Outdoor Project; Statesman Journal; Paul Gerald]