In fact, the current view from outside our office is predictably bleak, with streaks of rain pelting the windows and a plethora of passersby dressed to the nines in puffy jackets, wool beanies and a surgical mask or two.
But if we know our seasons, it’ll soon be time to shed those extra pounds of clothing, guzzle something other than Emergen-C and pretend, if only briefly, that warmer climes and bright-blue skies are here to last.
That’s just one of the reasons we thought it’d be helpful to publish a short list of some of Portland‘s most soul-replenishing hikes.
1. Forest Park
Forest Park is easily one of the best reasons to live in Bridge City. Acquired in 1947, this semi-urban oasis spans nearly 5,100 acres and boasts numerous hikes to run, jog or even ride on horseback(!).
Shrouded beneath a rich, verdant canopy of old-growth trees, you’ll feel far removed from the metropolis that lurks just out of sight.
2. Indian Point Loop
If stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge are what you’re after, then you’d be well-served to check out Indian Point Loop, a 7.6-mile butt-kicker that features 2,800 feet of elevation gain and a whole week’s worth of cardio.
Parking can be a bit of a pain, especially when the weather is cooperating, but any frustration you experience will quickly dissipate the moment you start hiking this underrated gem.
3. Beacon Rock
One of Oregon’s most iconic hikes, Beacon Rock is much easier on the thighs than the aforementioned Indian Point Loop. In fact, at less than two miles roundtrip and only 680 feet of elevation gain, Beacon Rock is one of the least strenuous (and most family-friendly) hikes along the Columbia River Gorge.
And did we mention hikers get to cross 17 bridges en route to their destination? Who doesn’t love a good bridge?
4. Bridal Veil Falls
For slightly less adventurous (or mobile) hikers, Bridal Veil Falls is a wonderful way to wile away a sunny afternoon. It’s also extremely kid-friendly, as the entire hike runs just over half a mile while demanding a mere 70 feet of elevation gain.
Beware of the crowded (and criminally small) parking lot, however. In as much time as it takes to find a spot, you and yours could probably hike in and out at least twice.
5. Dog Mountain
A personal favorite, Dog Mountain is one of the toughest hikes along the Columbia River Gorge. At just under 7 miles, climbing to the summit means snaking your way through 2,820 feet worth of strenuous switchbacks.
If that sounds like a bridge too far, keep in mind that the views from the top are simply otherworldly, especially if you go in May or June, when the wildflowers along the southern slope are simply magnificent.
No matter where you choose to hike this spring, the Portland area offers a wide variety of easy, moderate and strenuous options to stay in shape and clear your mind. After another dreary winter here in the PNW, we’re more than a little excited to get outside!