If you’re looking for a quiet place to reconnect with nature, this is it. It’s an hour and 20 minutes from Portland in the Tillamook State Forest. This hike is 1.5 miles each way and 0.9 miles around the lake- easy.
From Portland take Hwy 26 towards the coast / After 60 or so miles turn left on Hwy 53 / Follow the very windy road for 6 miles to turn left on Soapstone Lake Trailhead road. This gravel road takes you to the trailhead in a few minutes. No fees!
The trail was relatively empty by the time we arrived at 10:30; there were only 3 other cars. It was such a relief from hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to have a quiet peaceful visit in the forest.
A mossy haven.
The lake has a muddy bottom and newts and salamanders.
This hike was such a nice change in pace. I can’t wait to try out another one in this area. There’s nothing like driving by trailheads with no cars! 🙂 We discovered a hidden beauty.
Mount Tabor is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. We didn’t follow a specific hike, but wandered the trails up to the top. Mount Tabor is located at SE 60th and Salmon. The reservoirs in this park were built between 1894 – 1911.
Mount Tabor is an extinct volcano. Portland is one of four cities in the US to have this in their city boundaries. (Yikes!) Linda, Hammy and I made our way up the steep hill and were rewarded with views of Portland.
A passing runner took our photo. It turned out great! 😉
Vegans only in this bathroom!
No hike would be complete without a silly Hamilton photo opp.
This is Walk #5 from Laura Foster’s Portland Hill Walks book. The starting point was N. Lombard and Richmond Ave. I felt the first part of this walk was a little random and there was only one cool thing to see before you cross the St. Johns Bridge into Forest Park. That was an old Adventist church on 8325 Central; built in 1914. I thought it was a cool looking building.
Walking across the St. Johns Bridge was something I had never done and I would highly recommend it! It was great to have a chance to appreciate the architecture and hone in on the details. The book mentions that it’s pretty noisy crossing the bridge and to bring ear plugs, but I didn’t think it was that bad.
Once you are over the bridge the walk continues into Forest Park. I had never been in this part of the park before and it was so much quieter than the areas closer to Portland; Very tranquil! The bulk of this walk is in the Forest Park. Just a little ways up the trail gives you an amazing view of the St Johns Bridge:
My favorite part was the off-shoot trail that takes you to an old kitchen floor right on the path.
You could spend hours and hours walking through Forest Park. It’s easy to take for granted; but it really is peaceful in there. On Springville trail there are these man holes covers for Bell telephone. The book states that Sprinville was probably used as a market road since 1846.
Before you get to the bridge to head back to the starting point you exit Forest Park through Whitwood Court, a subdivision of the Linnton neighborhood. I really liked this neighborhood. It had cute houses, more views of the river and bridge, and Forest Park as a back yard. Plus, I found this boat on the side of the road.
Here is the view looking towards Portland from the St Johns Bridge on the way back:
This was around a 5 mile walk, and took us 3-4 hours. We stopped for iced coffees for our reward at St. John’s coffee roasters on N. Leavitt Ave.
Starting Point: Cape Lookout Trail head (Near Netarts)
*5 mile out-and-back
*Crowded! We got to the trail head at 10:00 am and there was plenty of parking. The hike took us 2 1/2 hours and by the time we returned the parking lot was packed! It was a sunny summer Saturday though. This would be a nice one to do on a sunny winter day.
There are 3 different ways you can go at the trail head. We took the Cape trail and stayed to the right at the first cross roads. It was very muddy in some parts. The trees were beautiful!
This was a cool tree. My brother said that native americans shaped the branches when the trees were young to indicate there was a bend in the trail.
Early on in this hike you’re rewarded with spectacular views.
The trail ends with this view of endless blue:
There is a bench to enjoy the view. Then you just go back the way you came. 🙂
This urban hike had it all: a beach, a nature preserve, a quirky amusement park, old Portland neighborhoods and views of the city. This was Walk #15 from the Portland Hill Walks book: Sellwood Riverfront to Johnson Creek Loop. From the Sellwood Riverfront Park the walk starts on the beach of the Willamette River with views of the city.
After the beach we walked up through Oaks Amusement Park which opened in 1905; one of the 10 oldest amusement parks in the US. It used to be accessible only by boat and street car. The old carousel was built in 1912.
After the amusement park the walk continues across the street to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
We actually got turned around during this portion and ended up going a mile or so off route, but it was nice to get to see more of Oaks Bottom. Once out of the park we back tracked down Milwaukie Ave to continue the walk.
Sellwood Blvd had views of the city and a cute little swing. 🙂 After zig-zagging through the neighborhood we came to Share-it square on 9th and Sherrett. Every corner had something to share including a 24 hour tea station.
The end of the walk swings by the Oaks Pioneer church from 1851. It’s the oldest church of continuous use in Oregon.
By the time we got back to the parking lot it was packed, so I’m glad we got an early start. This walk was 3.75 miles total, but we probably did 4.5 with our “detour.”
I’m afraid I may have underestimated this hike. Although my book Curios Gorge described this as “nothing less than grueling,” I was still surprised to find this hike so difficult. It definitely falls into the scramble category and even pure rock climbing at some points of it. For example, exhibit A:
You may say “What a lovely rock wall.” But this is actually part of the trail; one of many rock walls you must climb over. (But oh how fun!) But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.
Directions: From I-84 east take exit 40 and turn right to park at the Wahclella Falls lot. Walk back up the way you came and turn left to go over a paved bridge. Gorge Trail 400 is on your left past the bridge. This trail mirrors I-84 for about a mile until you find a random trail on your left that goes straight up. You can expect this steepness the rest of the way! Once on this trail there are a few options, but each side trail will eventually get you to the top so don’t fret too much. This hike is 1.8 miles each way and took us about 4 hours.
The Gorge Trail 400 is your typical grassy, flowery gorge trail which is pretty in its own way but you can see and hear the freeway for the whole mile.
Once we ventured off on the unmarked side trail I didn’t take any pictures so I could focus on my footing and breathing; it was VERY hard! Eventually we came to our first viewpoint but we weren’t even close to the top.
Right before you do get to the top with the views of munra point, you have to climb up this chimney-like rock wall. Today this part was the most bottlenecked since you have to go one at a time and this hike was actually very crowded.
But all that hard work was absolutely worth it for these views.
This would not be a good hike for dogs, kids or people afraid of heights. I would say it was harder than Dog Mountain, which was always one of the hardest gorge hikes in my mind. I also would not do this one on a hot day.
Today we did a quick urban hike from Laura Foster’s Portland Hill Walks book: Walk #13- Multnomah Village to Vermont Hills Loop. This is one of the shorter jaunts in her book, only 1.5 hours. The hike meanders through Gabriel Park, Multnomah village and the surrounding neighborhoods. In the 1880’s this area was all dairy farms, and was named Multnomah after the Multnomah Train Station built in 1907. (It’s no longer there) The first thing I noticed on this walk was all of the mini libraries, they were adorable!
One of the ones outside someone’s house even had a little bench
A few blocks up from Capitol Hwy is the Multnomah Arts Center, which used to be Multnomah School. The school was built in 1913, and closed in 1979. When it first opened teachers would take the train from Portland and walk through the woods to get there.
After the school the walk goes up the hill through neighborhoods with great views!
The Vermont Hills Hydropark was the most surprising part of this walk. It felt very tucked away, quiet and peaceful. The water bureau placed the water tanks in this park on peaks, so gravity moves the water rather than pumps.
The last part of this walk goes through pretty Gabriel Park- 95 acres donated to the city in the 1950s.