Four Daytrips from Portland
With the unusually nice weather for this time of year, many people are itching to get outside. Spring break is next week as well, which if the weather holds, presents an opportunity to take a day to explore Oregon. Furthermore, the second half of spring semester always seems to fly by, leading into the summer. It’s never too early to start planning your summertime adventures. Each hike listed has several points of interest accompanied by pictures along with a rough outline of the trail.
1) Eagle Creek to Twister Falls
You might have heard about or been to Eagle Creek’s most popular sight, Punchbowl Falls, which is great in it’s own right. But did you know the Eagle Creek trail features numerous other stunning waterfalls and natural features to marvel at? Ditch the crowd at Punchbowl Falls and continue to High Bridge (3 miles one way), Tunnel Falls (6 miles), and Twister Falls (6.25 miles).
Stats: 12.5 miles round trip
2) McNeil Point
A historic stone shelter high on the flank of Mt. Hood awaits hikers at McNeil Point, along with stunning views. This hike enables hikers to get a close up view of Mt. Hood. As this hike is high up on Mt. Hood, snow is most likely present the farther one goes, and therefore caution necessary. This is a great summer hike however, for those interested in gathering ideas for hikes.
Stats: 10 miles round trip
3) Silver Star Mountain
This hike features dramatic ridges and valleys, and great views of Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood on the way to the high point of Clark county. Silver Star Mountain is the ridge visible to the northeast of Portland. Ramble along a ridge, soaking in the views. Normally covered by snow at this point of the year, Silver Star is generally snow free currently. The road to the trailhead is rough, and four wheel drive is recommended.
Stats: 5.5 miles round trip
4) Johnston Ridge Observatory
From Portland, the (relatively) undamaged side of Mt. Saint Helens is visible. From the north, however, the gaping crater is a testament to the power of it’s eruption over thirty years ago. The drive to the Observatory winds through the blast zone, where life is slowly making a recovery. There are plenty of trails branching from the Observatory to explore, as well as the Observatory itself. The Observatory is currently closed for the winter, but those interested can park at Coldwater Lake and access trails from there.
Stats: However long you want
(All photos courtesy of the author)