It’s that time of year again. The cherry blossoms are about to burst into bloom, it’s rainy, but not cold, and a mysterious yellow ball of light has started to appear in the sky.
It’s that time of year again. The cherry blossoms are about to burst into bloom, it’s rainy, but not cold, and a mysterious yellow ball of light has started to appear in the sky. Spring has sprung, and that means the time has come for us Oregonians to venture from the shelter of our coffee shops and get in touch with nature.
The best way to do that, of course, is to go on a hike. Now, if the idea of trekking through the woods scares you a little, don’t worry. The following is a list of places that offer easy day hikes that will get you out where you can enjoy the beauty of spring without having to worry about who will send for the rescue crew.
Tryon Creek State Park
Open every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and located on Terwilliger Boulevard at the border between Portland and Lake Oswego, this park is situated on 670 acres of beautiful old forest. Trails take you past ancient western red cedars, majestic big-leaf maples and towering Douglas firs. Altogether there are about 16 miles of trail, with specified trails for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding, which span the park and interconnect. Depending on which trail or trails you take, your hike can be anywhere from a quick 20-minute jaunt to a three-hour journey. In addition, you can bring along your canine friends, as long as you keep them on leash and clean up after them.
Powell Butte Nature Park
Found at the junction of Southeast 162nd and Powell, this park is located on an extinct volcanic cinder cone butte. The park spans 592 acres and includes nine miles of trails that, like Tryon Creek, are designated for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. This park’s trails will take you through open meadows that are home to creatures ranging from birds of prey to black-tail mule deer. Trails also go through old growth forest, which on clear days can provide picturesque views of five Pacific Northwest mountains. Starting on the first Sunday of April, the park is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dogs are allowed, with the standard provisos of being on leash at all times and being cleaned up after by their owner.
The 187 ride-top acres of Hoyt Arboretum are located on Southwest Fairview Boulevard next to Washington Park, and can be toured through the 12 miles of hiking trails provided. The trails wind their way through a variety of forest ecosystems that feature mighty western red cedars, amazing Ponderosa pines and a serenity-filled bamboo grove. There are trail maps for self-guided hikes that are one, two and four miles, as well as the opportunity on most Saturdays to take a 90-minute guided tour for a measly $3. Dogs are welcome here too, and once again, standard rules on waste pick-up and leashes apply. Hoyt Arboretum is open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Silver Falls National Park
Every self-respecting Oregonian needs to see and hike this area at least once in their life. Silver Falls National Park is a 9,000-acre forested gem that is located near Silverton. The park has over 24 miles of hiking trails, but for an easy day hike, we suggest one in particular: The Trail of Ten Falls, aka. the Canyon Trail. If you want to see all 10 falls, your hike will be about seven miles—however, many paths along the trail provide shortcuts back to the head if you get tired. If you can, go for the full 10. The trail will take you past some of the most awe-inspiring beauty Oregon has to offer, and even goes behind four of the spectacular falls for a 360-degree view of nature’s artwork. It’s $3 to park your car and unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the trail. ?