We have so much natural beauty in Portland, it isn’t that hard to find something worth exploring right outside your door in your own neighborhood. If you want to get out of your usual routine and explore a new location, these are some of the best places to get lost exploring around town and beyond. Pack some snacks and water and get lost in the wild choosing your own adventure at one of these must-visit attractions around town.
1. Forest Park
You can roam to your heart's content along the 30-mile Wildwood Trail or take any number of shorter trails in this expansive 5,000-acre beast of a park.
2. Portland Japanese Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden is amazing in every season, but fall is spectacular. A visit to this garden is a must to experience the simple and natural design that makes Japanese gardens unique.
3. International Rose Test Garden
You get one of the best views of the city here, and if you come at the right time, you will be rewarded with hundreds of opportunities to stop and smell the roses. You can typically catch blooms April through October, but June is the peak. If you are just going once, make it there in June.
4. Columbia Gorge
Spend some time in Hood River, or bike the Historic Columbia River Highway. Whatever you do, be sure to stop along the way to bear witness to the beautiful waterfalls along the way. Explore on foot or take in the views from the car, either way, it's amazing!
5. Lan Su Chinese Garden
Hiding behind a wall in Old Town Chinatown, the Lan Su Garden is an amazingly manicured city block that is worth a visit. Modeled after the classical gardens of Suzhou, it is features Lake Zither as its main focal point, which is pretty cool to see a lake in the middle of a city block.
6. Sauvie Island
The closest island near Portland, Sauvie Island is an agricultural center, and a great place to get into nature. Trek out to the state's only river lighthouse, Warrior Rock, standing since 1889 for a fun adventure.
7. Mt. Hood
Whether you like snow or not, Mt Hood has something for everyone and is a must-explore destination. Ski, snowboard, or snowshoe in the winter, or hike, swim, or fish in summer.
8. Hoyt Arboretum
Home to over 6,000 trees from 2,000 species from all over the world, this special spot is worth a visit just to marvel at the sheer enormity of those numbers. Featuring 63 vulnerable or endangered trees, the arboretum in Washington Park offers over 12 miles of trails from which to explore the flora.
9. Mt. St. Helens
Our volcano in the northern sky is only a little over an hour away by car, and somewhere you should definitely check out once. Made famous by its epic explosion in 1980, today there are numerous interpretive centers and outdoor activities to explore in this storied location.
10. Mt. Tabor
Climb the never-ending stairs and you will be rewarded with some amazing views of the city, or play basketball on the court on the extinct cinder cone for which the park is named. Part of the Boring Lava Field, the volcano has been extinct for over 300,000 years, but is home to a thriving park today.