The city of about 650,000 people is nestled right along the Columbia River, and is only an hour and a half away from both the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. The so-called City of Roses has a vibrant restaurant scene, is known for being incredibly dog-friendly, and ranks in the country’s top 10 for breweries per capita (with 18 for every 50,000 people, if you’re counting). To earn those fresh-brewed après suds, follow some local guidance below on how to best get outside—no matter the weather—and play like a Portlander.
Hike the Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is a green and lush trail-lover’s paradise. The Eagle Creek Trail near Cascade Locks is a 25-mile out-and-back that both hikers and trail runners will enjoy. Regardless of how many miles you choose to do, you’ll find incredible views. The trail, which is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, starts at the Eagle Creek Campground and ends at the sparkling-blue Wahtum Lake. Hikers can expect narrow cliffside singletrack, soft dirt underfoot through miles of moss-covered forest, and numerous waterfalls. If you need a closer outlet, you can’t beat the 80-plus miles of trails in Forest Park, which flanks the northwest part of the city. A popular jaunt is the 10-mile Leif Erickson Drive, which is a mellow, wide dirt road. No car? The MAX Red and Blue light-rail line takes you to the southern end of the 30-mile Wildwood Trail starting from the zoo, and various buses can take you within striking distance of other park trailheads.
Paddle the Willamette
The Willamette River runs right through downtown Portland. Kayak and standup paddleboard rentals are readily available (Portland Kayak Co., is located adjacent to the riverside Willamette Park), making it an accessible river to launch a quick paddling trip. More adventurous paddlers should head an hour east to the White Salmon River to experience sections of Class III-IV rapids through dense green forests. Skilled kayakers run various sections of the river, as do commercial rafting outfitters like Wet Planet Whitewater. Pro tip: On clear days, keep an eye out for views of the 12,276-foot Mount Adams (Pahto) across the border in Washington state.
Bike Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island is a quaint agricultural community just outside of the city and is home to a number of different farms. The flat, 12-mile road looping around part of the island offers a fun and pleasant cruise through a bucolic landscape. If you go at the right time (spring through fall) you can visit one of the handful of pick-your-own farms (like Sauvie Island Farms) and go home with as many berries as you can muster. Level up: Ride your bike over to the island before tackling the loop (it’s about 18 miles from downtown). Looking for an easier in-town adventure? Bike the Eastbank Promenade, a flat bike/pedestrian path that’s right on the river.