Cities from coast to coast are trying to catch up to Portland’s acclaimed food scene, but our proximity to incredible hiking trails is one thing most major metropolises will simply never be able to touch. A great number of adventures lie just an hour or two outside Portland city limits, and although last summer’s Eagle Creek Fire rendered beloved hikes in the Columbia River Gorge -- like Punchbowl Falls and Oneonta Gorge -- inaccessible until further notice, a trip to the Portland area still packs plenty of chances to see the unrivaled beauty of the Pacific Northwest in all of its misty, verdant, and mysterious glory.
Any transplant you meet is bound to tell you they showed up for the beer and stayed for the nature, meaning if you want to do Portland right, you have no choice but to take advantage of its unrivaled access to towering waterfalls, lush old-growth forests, idyllic alpine lakes, sprawling coastal ranges with stunning views of the Pacific, and winding fir-lined mountain paths you won't find anywhere else.
Read on for a list of our favorite hikes within two hours or less of the city, with a smattering of details regarding what you’ll hope to find and how long it should take you to find it. We've also ranked the hikes on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a walk in the park and 10 being "you better stretch out and bring extra water for this one."