Interested in Portland?
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For anyone who enjoys the beauty of nature, Portland is a good location from which to take some easy and interesting day trips. A good website for info on many hikes in the area is Portland Hikers.
** Columbia River Gorge - Take Interstate 84 East past 1st entrance to the historic Columbia River Highway to Exit 35. This is the 2nd entrance to the Columbia River Highway. The views for driving along the Columbia River are actually better from the interstate than the Columbia River Hwy 30. So then backtrack to the west on the Columbia River Hwy and stop off at each of the falls along the way. There will be massive crowds at Multnomah Falls, so you can park at Wakeenah Falls and take an easy half mile walk back to Mutlnomah. The trail gets up closer to Wakeenah, getting you nice and wet, great on a hot summer's day. The trail up to the top of Multnomah can be crowded. But do stop at all of the falls. Pretty cool stuff.
** Mt Hood area - Take Hwy 84 east to exit 16. Go south until you intersect Hwy 26. Take 26 all the way to the Mt Hood area. In the summer there will be lots of cars and construction. Plan on 2 hours in the summer to get there. Mirror Lake is a very nice scenic trail, and not very hard. You end up at Mirror Lake on top with an awesome view of the peak of Mt Hood. Allow about 2-3 hours round trip. There are many other very nice trails to take depending on your ability level - something for everyone. You can then visit historic Timberline Lodge to get up close and personal to Mt Hood. It looks much different in the summer than in the winter. Continue south/east on Hwy 26 to Hwy 35 north to Tamanawas Falls. This is an easy hike with a much more secluded feel. At the end is an absolutely beautiful water fall that is worth the trip. Again these hikes are found at the Portland Hikers website.
** Pacific Ocean - Hwy 26 is the fastest, most direct route to the coast from Portland and usually has a fair amount of traffic, especially on summer weekends. Cannon Beach is a big wide, long beach with lots of people, but not an overwhelming number of people. Don't miss famous Haystack Rock. Parking can be hard to find in the small town, but there are public lots. There is hiking at Ecola State park as well as Oswald West State park a few miles south of Cannon Beach on Hwy 101. For a different route back, take Hwy 6 back to Portland out of Tillamook, which is a pretty drive and has a couple of waterfalls alongside the highway. You may also wish to stop at the Forest Center.
** Silver Falls State Park - Take Hwy 5 south to Salem, and take Hwy 22 west, then Hwy 214 west to Silver Falls State park. The two lane highways go through vineyards and farms/ranches, and road is actually pretty straight most of the time. At the main entrance you pay $5 for a car to enter, well worth it. The popular Trail of Ten Falls is basically the Canyon trail, which goes along the bottom with all the waterfall views, and the Rim trail which just takes you along the top (rim) of the park. You could very well take the Canyon trail back as you don't miss much on the Rim trail. There are some crowds especially near the South Falls, but as you hike further, the casual walkers drop out. This is an awesome hike and an awesome park.
These are just some of the day trips which you can take from Portland.