Natural sights around Portland abound, offering endless landscapes, panoramic mountain vistas, serene lakes, wetlands, hiking and biking trails, wildlife viewing, and a world of wonder. Oregon is a lovely state, as evidenced by its wealth of national, state, and local parklands. Whether you want to climb to the top of a mountain, you're looking to see cascading waterfalls, or you just want to get on a bike and cycle miles of trails, the options are all right here.

    Landscapes in Portland let you get away from the city, recharge your batteries, and reconnect with the world we all share. Check out some of the best natural sites around the city for your next escape.

    1

    Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

    See over a dozen cascading waterfalls

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    Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is one of Portland's most stunning natural areas with hundreds of miles of trails to explore and waterfalls to see. It's probably most famous for the gigantic Multnomah Falls and the pedestrian bridge that takes you right in front of them, but the park has over a dozen incredible waterfalls to explore. You can explore hundreds of miles of winding trails through this heavily forested gorge that stretches over 80 miles from end to end and winds along the Columbia River.

    The Columbia River Gorge is so vast that you can spend a whole vacation just exploring it. It's only 18 minutes east of Portland.

    Location: 902 Wasco St Suite 200, Hood River, OR 97031, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 4.30 pm (closed Saturday–Sunday)

    Phone: +1 541-308-1700

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    2

    Forest Park

    Explore 5,200 acres of unspoiled forest

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    Forest Park offers a 5,200-acre nature refuge for hundreds of native species of plants and animals with over 80 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. Forest Park offers more than 40 access points, so it's easy to get to, and the popular trails are all clearly marked. Dogs are allowed here on a leash. Bikes are restricted to bicycle-specific trails, of which the park offers more than 25 miles. Motor vehicles aren't allowed.

    Among the most popular trails is the Wildwood Trail, which runs for 30 miles along the entire length of the park and stops at many popular points of interest. The park is 22 minutes west of downtown.

    Location: Portland, OR 97231, USA

    Open: Daily from 5 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 503-823-4492

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    3

    Powell Butte Nature Park

    Explore an extinct cinder cone volcano

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    Powell Butte Nature Park is a gorgeous and family-friendly nature park that offers miles of hiking trails along with unspoiled woodlands and stunning city views backed by the mountains. Powell Butte, the centerpiece of the park, is an extinct cinder cone volcano rising near Johnson Creek. This is a phenomenal place to explore hundreds of acres of meadow and forest, and just relax. You'll have lots of options here, including hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding.

    It's also ideal for wildlife viewing, from chipmunks and foxes to coyotes, mule deer, rabbits, and pheasants. To explore the vast groves of hawthorn and red cedar here, just drive 25 minutes east of downtown.

    Location: 16160 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97236, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 503-823-6131

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    4

    Willamette Valley

    Explore the craft beer and wine region

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    Willamette Valley is a lush, green, forested valley that's known for its groves of evergreens that are used for Christmas trees as well as hazelnut production, wine, and beer. It's an hour south of Portland along the Oregon Trail, offering endless scenic rolling hills dotted with microbreweries, wineries, pubs, and tasting rooms. The area is one of the more agriculturally rich in the region and is also the most densely populated with tons of family-friendly attractions among the many green valleys and hills.

    This 150-mile-long valley is less of a local park and more of a region offering tons of gorgeous natural views. If you're into wine or craft beer, this is a place to visit.

    Location: Oregon 97014, USA

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    5

    Mt. Hood

    Go skiing on Oregon's massive active volcano

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    Mt. Hood is among the most famous landmarks in Oregon, a towering mountain surrounded by national parkland offering year-round skiing and winter sports. Mt. Hood is covered with a series of glaciers, and you can take a cross-country skiing tour of the mountain and enjoy a picnic lunch on the alpine rocks. The mountain rises 11,249 feet in the air, and an ascent offers unparalleled views of Portland and the vast wilderness beyond. At its base, you can explore the forest for its cascading waterfalls, endless flower beds, and sparkling clear lakes.

    Mt. Hood is about 50 miles east of Portland, and it's a potentially active volcano. The 2-hour drive to get here makes for a scenic day trip.

    Location: Oregon 97041, USA

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    6

    Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area

    See the full power of the ocean's fury

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    Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is a sandstone headland north of Pacific City offering astounding views of the power and fury of nature along the ragged coast. You can take a steep climb up a towering dune where you will see a rugged, rocky coast being slammed by waves that constantly erode the sandstone and create entirely new landscapes while you watch. One thing to remember here, however: Do not climb over the fence. The cliff edges here are wont to crumble without warning. Stick to the incredible views from designated viewpoints.

    This is a fantastic place to grab that ideal photo for your Instagram feed. It's about 2 hours west of downtown, so plan a day trip.

    Location: Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, Pacific City, OR 97135, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 800-551-6949

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    7

    Silver Falls State Park

    See a famous waterfall and walk a renowned trail

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    Silver Falls State Park is sometimes called the crown jewel of the Oregon state parks and offers endless recreational opportunities, trails, famed waterfalls, camping, and fun. The park has been open since 1933, and it's a popular spot for people from all over the region for parties, graduations, wedding receptions, family reunions, and barbecues. You'll find grills on-site as well as picnic shelters with tables, playgrounds, and horseshoe pits. There's also an off-leash area for dogs to run in.

    Camping is available as well, including a horse camp with stables. You'll find sites like the famed South Falls with its 177-foot cascading falls and the renowned Trail of Ten Falls. It's an hour and 15 minutes north of Portland.

    Location: 20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity, OR 97385, USA

    Phone: +1 800-551-6949

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    8

    Ecola State Park

    Explore 9 miles of Pacific coast

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    Ecola State Park covers 9 miles of coastline, offering fantastic sightseeing, recreation, and outdoor adventures with a deep history all year long. Here you can experience everything from picnicking to surfing, tide pooling, hiking, and biking. You can meander your way through a lush forest of spruce trees, capture photographs from a famous viewpoint, and see stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Hiking and biking trails cover 8 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail and include the 2.5-mile historic Clatsop Loop Trail where Clark's Corps of Discovery traveled.

    You can stop at the secluded Indian Beach for a picnic and watch surfers ride the waves before heading back. It's an hour and a half from downtown.

    Location: Cannon Beach, OR 97110, USA

    Phone: +1 800-551-6949

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    9

    Sauvie Island

    Visit a U-pick farm

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    Sauvie Island is a 24,000-acre natural playground the size of Manhattan along the confluence of 2 major rivers offering a world of outdoor adventure. It's only 10 miles northwest of Portland. While you're here, you can go biking, hiking, kayaking, or bird-watching. You can visit U-pick farms to shop for fresh fruits, veggies, raw local honey, or prepared foods like jellies and jams. You can attend a farm-to-table dinner or take a hayride into vast pumpkin fields during a fall harvest party.

    In the summer, you can get outfitted with a bucket for a pick-your-own-berries adventure. You'll mix and match blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and every other kind of berry.

    Location: Oregon, USA

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    10

    Tryon Creek State Natural Area

    See birds and wildlife among 658 acres of forest

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    Tryon Creek State Natural Area is a haven for bird-watchers and wildlife lovers with woodpeckers, squirrels, owlets, and tons of trails to explore through the forest. The park is 658 acres of new-growth forest along Tryon Creek just 15 minutes south of downtown Portland. It's one of the only state parks in Oregon that's inside of a major metro area. You can walk 8 miles of hiking trails with bridges and wetlands. Some trails feature paved pathways with viewing decks and benches for resting.

    You can also travel 3.5 miles of horse trails if you're an equestrian, or ride a 3-mile paved bike path. In addition, the park hosts organized hikes and educational events all year long.

    Location: 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd, Portland, OR 97219, USA

    Phone: +1 800-551-6949

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