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The Best of Camping and Hiking in Portland, Oregon

You may come to Portland, Oregon for the unique culture, but you’ll want to stay for the breathtaking scenery. Not to mention top-notch camping sites and many hiking hot spots that plunge through some of the most awe-inspiring wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. Portland is one of the very best cities in the U.S. for mixing outdoorsy adventures with urban delights. It is an ideal getaway that captivates travelers from all over the world. With so many great options to choose from in the Greater Portland area, read on for some camping and hiking musts that you will want to consider on your trip to Rose City.

The Many Escapes of Forest Park

One of the reasons Portland’s iconography tends to be on the green side is because of Forest Park. Forest Park is a sprawling, 5,100-acre urban oasis only a quick 20-minute drive upriver from the trendy Pearl District. Within the park, the hiking opportunities are as diverse as they are exhilarating. For those looking to recharge, try Ridge Trail. Hikers here treck down a narrow path cut into the pristine wilderness and emerge overlooking St. John’s Bridge and the majestic Willamette River. For more visual extravagance, the Lower Macleay Trail is a relatively light hike filled with moss-coated hemlocks, towering firs and ferns, and Portland icons like the old Stone House and Victorian-era masterpiece Pittock Mansion.
While there are more than a few options for the less seasoned hiker, those looking for a more strenuous workout won’t be disappointed either. The Tolinda Trail offers a steep climb to the locally famous Leif Erickson Drive, with beautiful scenery along the way. Although it can be a little bit on the muddy side, the trail–generally about three miles roundtrip–is a terrific option for the adventurous hiker or anyone looking for a great workout.
The most famous of them all, however, is the Wildwood Trail, which is a series of different trails rolled into one. It is known for being loaded with wildflowers during the summer bloom. Along the Firelane 15 section in the northwestern portion of the trail, you’ll escape the crowds and find a blissful refuge in a region of the park. Known for its mossy scenery, grassy knoll (near Kielhorn Meadow), and potential for an elk or mountain beaver encounter, this trail is tough to beat. Though many of the best parts of Wildwood Trail require a short trip in the car, you can take the light rail from the city’s center to the beginning of the trail in Washington Park. All in all, the Wildwood Trail has 40 miles of hiking, with 27 miles of it resting within the limits of Forest Park.
Additional tips:
Hiking in Forest Park is optional year-round, but some additional preparation might be needed if you go during the winter or following a rainstorm. Many locals are not bothered by hiking during a rainstorm. A rain slicker and some good hiking boots can be the key to a true Oregonian adventure at Forest Park. Because Forest Park has about 70 miles of trails overall, checking out the park map and exploring on your own can be the best way to go.

Camping in Greater Portland

One of the go-to campgrounds for Portlanders is at Beacon Rock State Park, a preserve located along the gorge just north of the Columbia River. Although technically in the state of Washington, Beacon Rock is only a 45-minute drive east from central Portland and offers a range of tent-camping options surrounded by nature. Hikes overlooking the river and the spectacular greenery of both Washington and Oregon are on full display.  Come see local icons like Rodney Falls, Hamilton Mountain, and Hardy Creek’s Pool of the Winds. Although the park doesn’t take camping reservations, it does have a 200-site group campground in addition to a 26-site main campground.
Heading west to the edge of the wondrous Tillamook State Forest, the Gales Creek Campground offers another terrific experience along with direct access to some of the best natural features in the Pacific Northwest. Loaded with sky-reaching alders, maples, and Douglas firs, Gales Creek Campground is known for its serene and peaceful setting. Visiting Tillamook State Forest has even more options for exploring the Oregonian scenery, including a temperate rainforest that is one of the wettest spots in the U.S.
If you’re in the area, you may find your way to Mt. Hood National Forest, located about an hour southeast of Portland. At the Riverside Campground, you can enjoy amazing views of the Clackamas River as well as hiking and biking in the national forest. Although the river tends to be extremely cold in most parts, those with an adventurous spirit can journey to the south end of the campground for a dip in the crisp waters of the Clackamas during the summer. With its natural seclusion, undeniable beauty, and advantageous location, Riverside remains a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Also consider:
For a less adventurous wilderness escape, the family-friendly Jenkins Camp-Estate Rivendale is known for its balance of modern lodging and its vast estate containing many outdoor activities. Looking out over the Tualatin Valley, the Jenkins grounds are not lacking in beauty, especially during the late spring and early summer.

Underrated Hiking Gems

Just across the Columbia River from Beacon Rock State Park–on the Oregon side–lies the Eagle Creek Trail. Here, you can make your way along the river toward the thunderous Tunnel Falls. Especially breathtaking in the winter months, the 12-mile roundtrip Tunnel Falls portion of the Eagle Creek Trail can be a transformative experience, showcasing both the unbeatable scenery of the area as well as the region’s raw natural power.
For those looking to stay closer to the city, meanwhile, the Marquam Trail is tough to beat. Less than 10 minutes from Downtown Portland, Marquam Trail picks through lush green spaces to Council Crest, the highest point in Portland. From Council Crest, you can expect to see magnificent views of the city along with glimpses of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and more. The Marquam Trail to Council Crest is particularly great for having a scenic picnic during the warmer months of the year.
Although you could have a great time skipping about Portland’s many outstanding microbreweries and famous eateries, the pure magic of the area is in the region’s natural offerings. With abundant options for hiking and camping in Portland, there are few places in the U.S.–or elsewhere–better suited for exploring the best features that nature has to offer.

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4 of The Most Scenic Adventures in Maine

Acadia National Park trip in Maine

From (nearly) impossible mountain hikes and a carousel of great camping sites to famous canoe trails snaking through hundreds of miles of pristine wilderness, Maine is home to a series of unforgettable destinations ideally suited for the adventurous soul. With so many options, however, consider a few of these can’t-miss possibilities to get you started on an inspiring trek to the Pine Tree State. Here are a few of the most scenic adventures in Maine.

Biking Adventures in Maine from Bar Harbor to Acadia National Park and beyond

If you’re looking to have a biking adventure in Maine, look no further than Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It’s nothing but you, the road, and a stunning combination of coastal and forest views after you hop on a bike in Bar Harbor and head out to see the sights. A cozy, 5,000-person town on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor has long been a summer getaway and it has turned into a biker’s paradise thanks to the incredible list of bike-able destinations nearby, most notably Acadia National Park. There is no wrong way to do Acadia, yet some of the visitors having the most fun are always the ones on two wheels zipping through the park’s many miles of tall forests, old stone bridges, and majestic ponds and lakes.
On the Carriage Roads course, bikers have up to 57 miles of car-free biking paths to cruise through, 45 of which are a part of Acadia. Designed and financed by John D. Rockefeller between 1913 and 1940, Carriage Roads is now a timeless classic of Mount Desert Island and a draw for both experienced bikers and more casual sightseers.
While you can certainly spend an entire vacation just biking Mount Desert Island, another excellent way to go is to cross the bridge to the mainland and continue through a series of quaint towns that highlight some of the best of Maine living. A popular route is biking from to inn to inn from Bar Harbor all the way to Boothbay Harbor, a 118-mile jaunt filled with terrific sights and cozy accommodations. Even if you’re not up for the entire journey, there are plenty of worthwhile stopping points on the way, where you can pick up a car rental and complete the trip to Boothbay. However you choose to do it, the central coastal region of Maine has some of the very best biking you’ll find anywhere in New England, or the United States at large.

Go camping and stargazing nearly off the map at Cutler Coast

The adventures you can experience in Acadia National Park are so vast that many unfamiliar to Maine don’t realize how many other good camping sites there are throughout the state. A place that holds its own with anything you’ll find in Acadia is the Cutler Coast, a spec of immaculate land nearly all the way to the eastern tip of Maine. The Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land is ideal for truly getting away from everyday life and experiencing the world of Maine at its purest, and you won’t even miss that you don’t have much (or any) cell service while you’re gallivanting around the gorgeous terrain surrounding your campsite.
Take your friends to have a stargazing adventure in Maine. Cutler is also a wonderland thanks to its distance from any light pollution. Take your friends to have a stargazing adventure in Maine. Although campsites all over Cutler offer outstanding glimpses of the night sky, dog-friendly Cobscook Bay State Park is only a short drive away and is another renowned spot that brings out both locals and visitors with their telescopes. Tent sites at both places are very reasonable and can be booked far in advance online.
In addition to being a true getaway in every sense of the word, the Cutler area also has no shortage of great hikes and outstanding scenery thanks to a rugged coastline of vertiginous rocks and beautiful sea inlets, which has helped it earn comparisons to some of the most famous scenery in Ireland. For nature lovers, the opportunities for animal encounters are plentiful, especially for bird watchers who might love to catch the sight of a bald eagle soaring overhead.

Canoe the mesmerizing Northern Forest Canoe Trail

If you ever wanted to travel up to 740 miles by canoe (374 miles within Maine), the Northern Forest Canoe Trail is one of the best ways in the world to do exactly that. Opened in 2006, the trail starts all the way near the Maine-New Brunswick border at Fort Kent and doesn’t end until it hits the Adirondack Mountains in New York, taking canoers through dozens of rivers, lakes, and streams alongside many of Maine’s most beautiful natural features. Although the trail is gorgeous any time of the year, it’s nothing short of stunning in the early portions of fall with the classic Maine foliage hovering over the waterways.
Doing the entire trail isn’t practical unless you’re an extreme canoer. If you’re looking for a more tame canoeing adventure in Maine, there are plenty of worthwhile shorter trips that will give you a taste of what the trail has to offer. Section eight of the trail picks up at the New Hampshire-Maine border and pushes east from Umbagog Lake to Rangeley Lake, taking travelers through a wildlife refuge that is famous for its terrific birdwatching and overall sightseeing. Sections 10 and 11 – in central Maine – are also both on the shorter side while more adventurous types might head to the remote north country to tackle section 13 from Umsaskis Lake to St. John River.
If the Northern Forest Canoe Trail sounds a little too intimidating, there are other great areas perfect for relaxing on the water. Just east of Portland, Casco Bay, Cape Small, and Cape Elizabeth all have outstanding kayaking and boating options, as does Highland Lake, which is less than a half-hour from downtown Portland and is a popular spot for the locals in the summer.

Scale to the summit of Baxter Peak of Mount Katahdin

There are plenty of low-key adventures in Maine worth taking embarking on during a trip to Maine. Hiking to the top of Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin isn’t necessarily one of them, especially if you plan to cross the terrifying Knife Edge for a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. The tallest point in Maine and the northern end of the famous Appalachian Trail, Mount Katahdin is about a mile above sea level and is an awe-inspiring bastion of granite jutting into the sky, complete with a variety of different hikes that tailor to all different hiking abilities.
While the Saddle Trail (near campsite Chimney Pond) is on the light and easy side for hikers headed to Baxter Peak, other hikes like the Cathedral Ridge Route and the Dudley Trail are not typically a good idea for inexperienced hikers. For the truly brave, the Knife Edge is an adrenaline-pumping pathway that takes hikers from Pamola Peak to Baxter Peak, offering dramatic mountain views throughout the most treacherous paths that most will traverse in a lifetime. Only a few feet wide at its most harrowing points, Knife Edge is for experienced hikers with good balance (and confidence), and it’s famous for yielding some of the most breathtaking views of Baxter Peak that you’ll find.
No matter which trail of you choose, you are sure to have an adventure. However, Mount Katahdin – like Maine as a whole – is well worth the hype for anyone who can’t get enough of the outdoors. If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, great hikes and plenty of biking paths, Maine might be the place for you to have your next adventure.

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The Ultimate Portland, Oregon Bucket List

Portland, a place where the beer is dark, and the land is green and being weird is cool. The ‘City of Roses’ is the largest city in Oregon and a growing destination for travelers. There are plenty of outdoor activities, but even if you visit during the rainy season, you will find delicious food, fresh coffee, and friendly people. There’s so much to do and see in this ever-growing city, that the hardest challenge will be figuring out where to start. Read on for our ultimate Portland, Oregon bucket list.

Grab a donut and coffee

You may know that your Portland bucket list is not complete without waiting in line to get yourself a bacon maple bar at Voodoo Donuts. The shop is famous for its one-of-a-kind concoctions. However, the locals know that the best donuts are at Blue Star Donuts. Check out the PB and J for a blast from the past, or a Hard Apple Cider Fritter for an adult treat.
What goes better with donuts than a great cup of coffee? Portland has no shortage of coffee shops. Whether an independent cart, Starbucks, or Dutch Brothers, you can’t go five minutes without passing a coffee shop. But your best bet is to skip the big-name stores and head for a local joint. If you are downtown, Barista and Stumptown are both great options. For something more unique, try Tov, nestled inside a double-decker bus.

Visit Powell’s Books

It’s frustrating to see a place pop up on every destination guide, only to arrive and be disappointed. Fortunately, Powell’s City of Books is one place that lives up to expectations. Encompassing an entire city block and housing one million books, you’ll want to grab a map to navigate through the store’s three stories. Powell’s opened its flagship store in 1971 and has since grown to become the world’s largest independent bookstore. Though there are now five Portland locations, the original location in the Pearl District is the place to go. Browse through the 3500 sections, grab a cup of coffee (there’s no such thing as too much coffee in Portland), and enjoy one of the 500 author events hosted by the store each year.

Grab a bite at a food cart pod

Street food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Portland, so it may come as a surprise to learn that CNN and Food and Wine have ranked Portland among their top 20 cities in the world for street food. Travel through Portland, and you will find a large selection of food carts. Unlike the traditional food cart, most carts in Portland are housed in food pods. Here you will find a selection of foods from across the globe. Whether you are in the mood for Thai food, Mexican, or the simple grilled cheese, there’s a spot for you. If you are coming from Powell’s, stop by the Alder pod and grab a bite from Bing Mi!, Dump Truck, or The Frying Scotsman. In Southeast Portland, visit Cartlandia and sample the cuisine from over 30 different countries.

Check out a brewery

Did you know that Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world? In fact, 53% of the beer consumed in Oregon comes from one of the state’s 281 breweries. Sit down for a Black Butte Porter and burger at Deschutes Brewery or a seasonal ale at Burnside Brewing Company. Can’t decide where to go? Take a tour. Brewvana provides many tours throughout the city. Take the Beers and Barrels tour for beer and whiskey, Down to Ferment for some cider and Kombucha, or create your own tour.

Go on a day trip

Many great getaways are a short drive from downtown Portland. While you are in the area you should really try to make it to the Oregon Coast. The Oregon Coast provides breathtaking scenery and many activities for adventure lovers and families.
Tillamook is a great place to take the kids. Take a tour to see the cheese making process. After, grab a sample from the variety of flavors. Finish the day with a cone of your favorite Tillamook ice cream.
If you are looking for some quiet time on the beach, head down the road to Cape Meares where the crowds are smaller. While at the beach, take a trip to the Cape Meares Lighthouse, built in the 1890’s. The lighthouse provides a panoramic view, 200 feet above the sea.
For some adventure, head south on 101 to Florence. Rent a 4-wheeler and explore the Oregon Dunes or hike the dunes and watch for local wildlife.
Once you have hit the beach, visit one of Portland’s most photographed landmarks. A 35-minute drive east of Portland will take you to Multnomah Falls. This 611-foot waterfall is a favorite, not just with visitors, but locals as well. For the best view of the falls, hike up to Benson Bridge. From here you will get the perfect view of the 542-foot top tier and the 69-foot tier below.

Enjoy a glass of wine at a local vineyard

Speaking of day trips, why not make a day of visiting one (or more) of the area’s local wineries. The Willamette Valley is home to over 200 wineries and produces 81% of the state’s pinot noir. Oregon’s long summer days and cool nights provide a climate that creates a balanced, flavorful wine. Not only will a visit allow you to taste some of the country’s best wine, but many vineyards will provide magnificent views of Mt. Hood and Oregon’s coastal range.
The Domaine Drouhin estate encompasses 225 upon the Dundee Hills, providing stunning panoramic views of the Willamette Valley. The tasting room is open daily from 11-4. Sit on the terrace and enjoy their taste flight, offering five different wines.
If you want to take in multiple wineries, try a tour. Life at Root provides an array of options. Take the Phenomenology Tour and discover the soil that nourishes the grapes or opt for luxury and take a ride to the wineries in style on the Tesla Model X Tour. Of course, there are many options to visit all over Oregon so you will have no problem choosing the one for you.
Portland is eclectic, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind. No matter what brought you to Portland, it’s cultural diversity, amazing food, and gorgeous landscapes are sure to make you want to stay.