written by Bronte Dod | photo by Twilight Raven Photography
An often-cited perk of living in Portland is its proximity to Oregon’s natural wonders. The city is almost an equal distance from the mountains as it is from the coast. But if you’re looking for an easy escape within city limits, here are three places to explore.
If you’re looking for a view, head to Powell Butte. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see five mountains in Oregon and Washington from the top of the butte. There are nine miles of trails open to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, as well as a paved trail to the top for people with disabilities or limited mobility. The area, which sits atop a dormant cinder cone volcano, has a variety of terrain, including forested areas and meadowlands. Johnson Creek also runs through part of the natural area.
Tryon Creek State Park
Tryon Creek is Oregon’s only state park within a major metropolitan area. The park has eight miles of trails to explore, some open to horseback riders. Tryon Creek runs through the park, which has been known to provide habitat for beavers and even spawning steelhead in the streams and beds. The trails can be muddy in the spring, but there is also a paved path near the nature center. The park is known for its abundance of trilliums in the spring, hosting an annual Trillium Festival in April.
Forest Park is the largest urban forest in the United States at more than 5,157 acres. Located in the hills of northwest Portland, its trails lead to views that overlook the city and the Willamette River at its confluence with the Columbia. A large group of volunteers has been protecting the area from development for almost a century. Cycling and horseback riding are allowed on certain trails, but you can get a lot out of the 70 miles of trails with just two feet. It’s a popular spot, which makes parking limited.