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If you’re on the lookout for the best easy hikes near Portland, you’re in the right place. In the heart of the Pacific Northwest lies Portland, Oregon, a haven for mindful travelers seeking easy yet worthwhile hikes. As a solo traveler, hiker, autoimmune warrior, and trauma survivor, I’ve done these hikes for you, and I’m ready to guide you through the self-healing wonders of Portland’s varied trails.

Easy For A Reason

This guide focuses on teaching you skills in nature mindfulness with the purpose of facilitating your self-healing. In addition, it addresses the unique challenges faced by autoimmune warriors, such as Oregon’s unpredictable temperature shifts and finding the right balance of too easy and too difficult. We autoimmune warriors are a distinct group. Not ready for the slow lane but also not trying to overdo it with distance and elevation. That doesn’t mean you still can’t find the best easy hikes near Portland.

Finding The Proper Hiking Advice

Navigating through proper hiking advice suitable for our unique hiking needs in Oregon is tricky. For a first timer, the search for easy but interesting hiking settings around Portland can be challenging. Oregon is like the Hiking Capitol of the World, they are serious about their outdoors. So it’s easy to overshoot the ability mark and find yourself on a trail that’s too difficult.

Case in point: I specifically chose a trial based on a description that it was “easy for families with young children”. Needless to say, my pride was hurt when I was huffing and puffing and ready to turn around before the end of the hike. It’s okay, part of accepting my realistic abilities is an important component of my self care. I don’t judge myself or push myself too hard. There’s no need for that.

However, the point is, Oregon hiking is like the Big Leagues, so sorting through the trail ratings is trial and error. Since I’ve already done that for you in this guide, you need not worry. In these five recommendations, you’ll have a mixture of both wilderness trails, urban park hikes, and paved trails. And even the shuttle bus. Don’t forget to pack your travel journal in your backpack to record your amazing trail memories!

Getting To Portland, Oregon:

The best airport to fly into is Portland International Airport (PDX). It’s conveniently located about 12 miles northeast of downtown Portland. It’s a major airport that serves a wide range of domestic and international flights.

Portland International Airport is well-connected by public transit and offers easy access to downtown Portland. They have the MAX Light Rail, as well as buses and shuttle services. Additionally, there are plenty of taxi, rideshare, and car rental options available at the airport.

Map Of Trails and Park

Below you will find an overall map of each of the five locations and trails I curated for you.

Additionally, in each section, you’ll find maps of the specific hiking and walking trails and the layout of the park or attraction.

The first two easy trails are located in Washington Park. Not only is it a beautiful destination but also impressively expansive at 410 acres, with untamed nature in the heart of Portland. There are so many things to see and do in this free park, including a Holocaust Museum, Zoo, Japanese Garden and ample picnic areas. It’s an ideal spot for outdoor activities. To get an idea of the space, check out the Washington Park map.

International Rose Test Garden

Stunning displays of various roses in the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park, showcasing a serene environment perfect for a leisurely best easy hike near Portland

Location

Washington Park: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland

Description

Even if you feel a little lukewarm about gardens and roses, I can promise you this one will put a smile on your face. The International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park has a serene and joyful vibe. Maybe it’s from the roses themselves. There are lots of different roses from all over the world, since it’s a rose test garden, they test new kinds of roses. So you may be wonder what that means (I was!).

Stunning displays of various roses in the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park, showcasing a serene environment perfect for a leisurely best easy hike near Portland

It means the gardeners provide careful cultivation and observation of many rose varieties. They assess how well they grow, adapt to the local environment, observe blossoming, colors, shapes, and sizes, and fragrances of each variety. Disease resistance and ability to thrive without excessive care are two other categories.

best easy hikes near Portland

Additionally, public feedback and reactions play a role, and there’s an interactive voting system. The goal is to identify and showcase roses that are both aesthetically pleasing and well-suited for the local environment.

Length of Trail

The International Rose Test Garden visit can be a short walk or extended stroll. The garden is very big, 4.5 acres, and even though it’s not a traditional hike, you will still get lots of steps in. I felt very tired by the time I saw all the displays. Luckily, there are benches to sit, rest, and people-watch. I definitely didn’t want to overexerting myself can bring on a lupus flare.

Difficulty

Easy

Time Needed

1-2 hours

Stunning displays of various roses in the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park, showcasing a serene environment perfect for a leisurely best easy hike near Portland

Maps

There are five sections of specific rose gardens for you to explore.

Best Time To Go

Spring to early fall

Accessibility

Wheelchair-accessible paths

Parking

Available within Washington Park for a fee of $2.00 per hour. If you are staying close enough to enter on foot, then you can take the free shuttle throughout all parts of the park. Since Washington Park is quite large, this shuttle service is valuable.

Facilities

Restrooms and benches (great for journaling).

Food

Pack light snacks and stay hydrated. There is food for sale in the Oregon Zoo, you don’t have to purchase tickets to buy food. There are also food trucks. Call ahead.

 Mindfulness with Nature

This is the perfect place to engage your five senses with nature. Immerse yourself in the vibrant rose colors that seem to explode everywhere you look. Don’t be shy, lean in for a closer sniff of the various fragrances all around you. This serene oasis offers a peaceful escape with meticulously curated rose varieties.

best easy hike Portland Oregon

Take a leisurely stroll through the park, embracing the beauty of nature and fostering a sense of tranquility. While engaging mindfully, educate yourself on how the garden is helping the environment. Acknowledge how your participation, in your own small way, benefits nature too.

Autoimmune Self Care

Joint Pain

Choose well-paved paths to minimize joint impact. Take breaks on the many lovely benches to rest your joints during the visit.

Gear

Wear comfortable, supportive shoes for walking. Consider bringing a sun hat and sunscreen for sun protection. If you’re extra sensitive to sun exposure, opt for long sleeves and pants with UV protection.

Body Checks

Stretch before and after the visit. Check joints for any signs of discomfort.

Hoyt Arboretum

Location

Washington Park 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland

Description

Explore the diverse tree collections at Hoyt Arboretum, providing a peaceful retreat within Washington Park. Wander through the forest and be prepared to be mystified by the size of the Redwoods. Located atop a ridge in the Tualatin Mountains, it’s a living museum dedicated to preserving endangered species and educating the community. Hoyt Arboretum houses 2,300 species of trees and shrubs from six continents.

Scenic views of diverse tree species at Hoyt Arboretum within Washington Park, offering a peaceful natural setting for one of the best easy hikes near Portland."

Length

Various trails with different lengths (1-6 miles). You will most definitely want to ride the shuttle, since this section of the park is quite removed from the centrally located parts. The arboretum is 189 acres, and impressively vast.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Time Needed

1-3 hours. I recommend allocating sufficient time for a relaxed exploration

Scenic views of diverse tree species at Hoyt Arboretum within Washington Park, offering a peaceful natural setting for one of the best easy hikes near Portland."

Maps

Save a tree! Use a digital map for the 12 miles of hiking trails.

Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Accessibility

Some trails are wheelchair-accessible:

  • Overlook Trail – ½ mile of paved trail (one-way)
  • Bristlecone Pine Trail — ½ mile of paved trail (one-way)
  • Visitor Center Loop – 1/10 mile of paved trail.

Parking

Available within Washington Park for a fee of $2.00 per hour. If you are staying close enough to enter on foot, then you can take the free shuttle throughout all parts of the park. Since Washington Park is quite large, this shuttle service is valuable.

Facilities

Restrooms in visitor center

Food

Bring a light snack and a refillable water bottle. The small office sells a small assortment of granola bars and snacks. There is food for sale in the Oregon Zoo, you don’t have to purchase tickets to buy food. There are also food trucks. Call ahead.

Mindfulness with Nature

Practice forest bathing and mindfulness among the trees, enhancing your overall mental and emotional health. Practicing mindfulness in nature, connecting to your senses is the goal. Traveling and experiencing nature to practice integrating the five senses is a form of self-healing. Spending time in nature, especially alone, can heighten your awareness of the tree energy. Walking, hiking, and healing evolves to a whole new level.

Autoimmune Self Care

Joint Pain

Use caution on uneven terrain. Consider the shorter trail for reduced impact. Consider using trekking poles for added stability. These aids can provide extra support, reduce strain on the knees during descents, and help maintain balance on uneven terrain.

Gear

Wear sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes. Dress in layers for changing weather conditions. Choose clothing that keeps you dry and comfortable. Layering is key, as it allows you to easily adjust to changing temperatures.

Body Checks

Stretch before and after your visit. Monitor joint comfort during the hike

Multnomah Falls

Location

Description

Witness the awe-inspiring Multnomah Falls, a cascading waterfall surrounded by lush greenery in the Columbia River Gorge. Experience the awe-inspiring Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, surrounded by lush greenery and providing a meditative atmosphere for mindfulness and health.

Length

2.6 miles round trip to the top

Difficulty

Easy to moderate

Time Needed

1 to 1.5 hours

Best Time

Year-round, but check ahead in winter months for weather conditions first

Accessibility

The lower viewpoint is wheelchair-accessible.

Parking

There are multiple lots available at Multnomah Falls Lodge, adjacent to the Falls. Even on a high-traffic day, there are parking attendants waving cars to available sites that open up.

Maps

Multnomah Falls Trail Map

Facilities

Visitor center, restrooms

Food

The Restaurant inside the historic Lodge at Multnomah Falls is open daily for full service and offers a vegetarian menu. Multnomah Falls Lodge & Restaurant, the lower viewing platform & nearby trails are open to visitors.

Mindfulness with Nature

Absorb the calming sounds of the waterfall, track a fallen leaf down stream and envision yourself being carried.

Autoimmune Self Care

Joint Pain

Use caution on the uneven terrain around the falls. Consider the shorter trail for reduced impact

Gear

Wear sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes. Dress in layers and maybe include a light rain jacket, in case the falls spray water and dampness on your clothing.

Body Checks

Stretch before and after your visit. Monitor joint comfort during the hike.

Forest Park – Wildwood Trail

Location

Since the trail is 30 miles long and access to trailheads varies in and around the city of Portland, I recommend using your phone’s GPS to search for the nearest section for you.

Description

Forest Park in Portland is one of the biggest urban forests in the U.S., covering 5,200 acres. It has over 80 miles of trails, fire lanes, and roads, extending more than seven miles along the Tualatin Mountains’ eastern side. This park gives a unique chance to enjoy a real Northwest forest right within Portland, offering great views of Northwest Portland and where the Columbia and Willamette Rivers meet.

Length

Approximately 30 miles (choose a shorter section according to your ability level.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Time Needed

1-3 hours. Allow flexibility according to energy level and mindfulness opportunities

Maps

Best Time

Year-round

Accessibility

Some trailheads are wheelchair-accessible.

Parking

Available at various trailheads, and parking at different spots can be quite different. Some parking areas are also used by people living nearby, so it’s important to be considerate and pay attention to signs that warn to lock up your belongings. I experienced no trouble, because I took no chances.

It’s also good to know that not every trail has a place to park. Parking doesn’t cost anything.

There are parking spots that are easy to access for people with disabilities at the Lower Macleay and Wildwood/Pittock Mansion Trailheads.

Maps

Forest Park Trail Map includes all three sections, as well as detailed views.

Facilities

Limited; bring essentials. In addition, there are no restrooms or food stands.

Mindfulness with Nature

Allow yourself to be mesmerized by nature, as you step from one world of urban America to another one of almost prehistoric looking trees. Use your imagination, picture yourself back in time walking amongst these same gentle giants, in another time and space. How is this mindful exercise a benefit? It promotes a connection to the power and stamina of these living beings, and acknowledging their majesty aligns your heart to universal energy. Journal what comes up for you.

Autoimmune Self Care

Joint Pain

Choose trail sections with gentle inclines. If balance or joint stability is a concern, consider using a walking stick or trekking poles. These aids can provide extra support and reduce strain on the knees during descents.

Gear

Invest in high-quality hiking boots or shoes that offer good support and are appropriate for the terrain you’ll be hiking. Look for footwear with cushioned soles to reduce impact on your joints, and ensure they are well-fitted to prevent blisters and discomfort.

Body Checks

Incorporate joint-friendly stretches. Check in on your body’s comfort levels.

Columbia River Gorge

Location

Description

Enjoy stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge and the Vista House on this scenic loop trail, providing opportunities for mindfulness, health, and appreciation of nature’s beauty. Experience stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge and the Vista House while on this scenic loop trail.

Length

2.8 miles.

Difficulty

Easy

Time Needed

Maps

Best Time

Year-round.

Accessibility

Parking

The Vista House area is wheelchair-accessible.

Facilities

Restrooms and visitor center.

Food

Mindfulness with Nature

Engage in mindful observation of the expansive views and the gorge’s natural beauty. Engage in mindful observation of the expansive views and connect with the natural beauty of the gorge.

Autoimmune Self Care

Joint Pain:

Stick to the well-maintained loop trail. Use supportive shoes and consider trekking poles.

Gear:

Dress in layers for changing conditions. Wear sunglasses for eye protection.

Body Checks:

Stretch before and after the hike. Monitor joints and overall comfort.

Timberline Lodge to Zigzag Canyon Section (PCT)

Location

Government Camp, Oregon at Timberline Lodge Trailheads. Please note, if you’re coming from Portland, it is about an hour drive and usually around 10 degrees colder.

Description

This hike is an unforgettable journey that starts from Timberline Lodge to Zigzag Canyon on the Pacific Crest Trail, offering stunning forest views and diverse landscapes for mindfulness and well-being. Along the way you can look out over Zig Zag Canyon, which goes a little higher, and then comes back down.

It’s a fun and memorable trail view, the zig zag features

You can see Mount Hood on this walk. In the summer, there are lots of flowers along the trail.

Colorful alpine wildflowers dot the landscape

If there was a lot of snow in the winter, you might still find snow on the trail until the end of May or even in June.

Snow peak mountains in August

Length

Approximately 4.6  miles. Since it’s out and back, turn around at any time.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Time Needed

3-4 hours

Maps

Always follow PCT markers and guidelines. Pacific Crest Trail Maps

Best Time

Summer to early fall

Accessibility

Varied; some parts may have elevation change

Slight elevation change

Parking

Plenty of spots Available at Timberline Lodge.

Facilities

Limited along the trail, however, restrooms and food options are available at Timberline Lodge.

Food

Pack plenty of lightweight, nutrient-rich snacks. Stay hydrated along the trail with plenty of water to mitigate sun and wind exposure.

Mindfulness with Nature

Connect with the beauty of nature along the trail, fostering mental and emotional well-being during this easy to moderate hike. A personal mindfulness anecdote from my time on this trail: a colony of ants navigating their world. Seems there was a half-eaten potato chip dropped from a backpack. I observed for about 5 minutes. In that simple act, I discovered an unexpected peace in the simple act of staying still.

Stream at approximately the 2 mile mark, the perfect spot to refuel and meditate and journal

Autoimmune Self Care

Joint Pain

Choose sections with moderate elevation changes, which can be found for the first 2 miles from the lodge trailhead. A few sections beyond that have minor elevation changes. Ensure proper footwear and consider knee support.

Right Gear

Pack a hat and sunscreen to reduce sun exposure. Since you’re at a higher altitude for this hike, you’ll need extra protection. Include a basic first-aid kit, and perhaps any necessary medications. It’s also wise to carry a whistle or a personal locator beacon for safety. Dress in layers for varying temperatures which are characteristic to this part of Oregon. Use trekking poles for added stability.

Gorgeous views of Mt. Hood

Body Checks

Gentle yoga surrounded by the soft forest sounds is a great way to practice self-care of your physical body.

Final Thoughts On The Best Easy Hikes Near Portland

Oregon is the best of the best for hiking and beauty. Finding easy but high quality Oregon hikes as a person with chronic illness is doable. Taking care of your physical and mental health while traveling is attainable. Combine with mindfulness in nature, hiking in the might Pacific Northwest is an experience of a lifetime.

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