The Best Portland Spring Hikes

By Forrest Smith -

It’s that time of year when the skies are about to clear, we’ll get a few more dry days, and the temperatures will warm enough to make us seriously consider wearing short sleeves and shorts. It’s still too snowy in the mountains, but in the lower elevations the trilliums are beginning to bloom, leaves are beginning to emerge, and the creeks and rivers are running hard with fresh snowmelt.

It’s that time of year when we’re all looking for a nice hike to enjoy the spring.

Portland has many great options for spring hiking within a couple hours drive. Even though there are many options for spring hikes around Portland, I find myself returning to several of the same great trails:

Silver Falls

This is the optimum time to visit Silver Falls State Park. The park’s 12 waterfalls are running fast and hard. Unfortunately most people also know this, so the trails can be a bit crowded. Avoid the crowds by visiting on a weekday, or head out early to beat those who sleep in.

Eagle Creek

The Eagle Creek trail, while being crowded, is really one of the best hikes in the northwest at any time during the year. However, spring is the best; with fresh growth on trees and waterfalls pounding through the canyon. Like Silver Falls, the Eagle Creek trail attracts large masses of people, so head out early and ideally during a weekday.

Dog Mountain

Sitting right above the Columbia River in the Gorge, is a beautiful, open hillside hike which if timed correctly is covered with wildflowers. The views are great and the south facing slopes can really warm up if you can luck out and hike it on a day with light winds.

Saddle Mountain

When the weather is good, Saddle Mountain is a spectacular destination. Spring is particularly great, when the wildflowers begin to bloom, and views stretch from the Pacific to the Cascades.

Lewis River

Being in the Cascades, spring arrives a little later to the Lewis River, but come April and May, I’m always eager to head up to the Lewis River and enjoy the tall cedar trees, waterfalls, and fresh foliage.