Life in Portland Blog

The Best Forest Day Trips and Beautiful Parks of PDX


The Best Places to Enjoy the Great Outdoors Around PDX

While parts of Portland’s surrounding landscape are still healing from last summer’s tragic fire, there’s still a wealth of beautiful parks and forest day trips around the city. As temperatures climb, June is the perfect month to explore the best Portland parks — without summer’s peak crowds. Looking for inspiration? Here are our favorite places to get outdoors in and around PDX.

Forest Park

Cliché? Maybe. Worth it? Absolutely. As the second largest urban park anywhere in the country (second only to NYC’s Central Park), Forest Park is a mecca of old growth trails that are perfect for solitary hikes or adventuring with your best pals and their furry friends.

Conveniently located within city limits, there’s no excuse not to visit Forest Park’s 80 miles of trails and forest roads. Pro tip: bring your phone, because you’re going to have a hard time resisting the urge to Instagram the hillside views overlooking the Willamette River below.

The Skidmore Bluffs

Formally a park named Mock’s Crest, this North Portland location is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. A short bike ride from trendy North Portland neighborhoods like the Boise-Elliot and Mississippi districts, the Skidmore Bluffs represent a slumbering Portland park hidden at the end of a residential street. The small grassy knoll is perfect for picnics, as the views that overlook the industrial train yards below at sunset can’t be beat.

Babgy Hot Springs

Okay, we know what you’re thinking: a swimming hole two and a half hours outside of Portland? Bagby Hot Springs, however, isn’t just another a normal swimming hole; it’s a forest retreat where a stunning Northwest forest lurks overhead as you relax in “hot springs” that are really private log tubs.

If that’s not being immersed in nature, then we don’t know what is! But take our word, this area can get busy, so be sure to pay the remote springs location a visit in June before the summer crowds start flocking to the area.

Latourell Falls

As the Columbia River Gorge’s major waterfall that’s nearest to Portland, Latourell Falls is a tried and true favorite forest hike close to the city. Best frequented from May to September, now is the perfect time to visit this photogenic forest.

The moderately trafficked 2-mile loop is popular, so be sure to hit the trails early to enjoy private views of the falls. Our advice: take the upper falls hike loop for maximum trail mist and solitude.

Mt. Tabor

We’re kind of glad that rumors of community hot springs at local’s paradise Mt. Tabor haven’t materialized — mostly because this mountain is a runner and biker’s haven for southeast locals. Whether you’re getting in routine exercise or searching for a perfect view to end a first date, the forested trails at Mt. Tabor never disappoint.

Silver Falls State Park

Referred to as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system, Silver Falls State Park is a serene forest located just east of Salem. A quick hour drive from Portland, the sprawling 9,200-acre park offers hikes for all skill levels. Favorite trails in this beautiful Oregon forest include the Trail of Ten Falls, a 10-mile hiking trail that weaves through waterfalls and a dense forested landscape.

As June weather brings soft sun and warmer temps, make this your month to get outside and explore more of Oregon’s beautiful forest landscape.