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Beginner Hikes

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

One of the most common questions on Portland Hikers comes from people just beginning to hike. This is a list of beginner or "newbie" hikes recommended by Portland Hikers members.


Hike Distance Elevation Change Season Drive Time
AldrichButteView.jpg
Aldrich Butte Hike 3.2 miles 1070 feet Year round 60 minute drive
During World War II, this was a road to a military lookout over Bonneville Dam. Today, it's a hike on an abandoned road including a former beaver dam created lake, now grown into a marsh and spectacular views of the Columbia River and the town of North Bonneville.
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Angel's Rest Hike 4.6 miles 1450 feet Year round 35 minute drive
One of the area's most popular hikes, this is a well-maintained trail from near river level to a 1600 foot, 270 degree viewpoint of the western portion of the Columbia River Gorge. Expect windy conditions on top, even when the weather below is calm.
BeaconRockHike2.jpg
Beacon Rock Hike 1.8 miles 680 feet Year round 60 minute drive
Historic trail created by a father and son team when this was private land. The trail has been improved and rebuilt, but the original dream of a trail to the top of the volcanic rock remains intact. Handrails make this trek safe for all but the tiniest children.
CatArch1.jpg
Catherine Creek Arch Loop Hike 2.0 miles 200 feet Year round 90 minute drive
The natural rock arch is worth the trip, but there's an historic cattle corral and collapsed cabin, as well. The real highlight of this hike is the wildflower display in early spring.
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Punchbowl Falls Hike 3.8 miles 500 feet Year round 45 minute drive
Punchbowl Fall is one of the most photographed locations in Oregon. There's a summer swimming hole just below the falls. The hike includes sections of trail blasted out of rock cliffs. Probably not the best for small children, dogs or people with severe height phobias.
PonytailFallsWide.jpg
Horsetail Falls Loop Hike 2.6 miles 610 feet Year round 45 minute drive
Low altitude loop with views of several waterfalls. You'll pass behind Ponytail Falls and cross a bridge over Middle Oneonta Falls. Consider side trips to Triple Falls and Lower Oneonta Falls.
MirrorLakeAlpenglow.jpg
Mirror Lake Hike 2.9 miles 780 feet Jun-Nov 90 minute drive
Family hike to a gorgeous lake with great views of Mount Hood
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Timberline Lodge Hikes 2.0 miles 1000 feet Jul-Oct 90 minute drive
Summertime freeform, loose exploration of the trails between Timberline Lodge up to Silcox Hut. In winter, all of these trails disappear under feet of snow and people ski here.
McCordFalls1.jpg
Upper McCord Creek Falls Hike 2.0 miles 400 feet Year round 45 minute drive
Easy trail through handrailed cliffs to Upper McCord Creek Falls. You'll have views of Elowah Falls from above, then a chance to take another trail to the base.
WahclellaFallsWide.jpg
Wahclella Falls Hike 2.0 miles 200 feet Year round 45 minute drive
You can reach out and touch the water in Munra Falls from a footbridge. Then, after a few stairs, you'll see the remains of a 1980s landslide, before coming to Wahclella Falls.
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Warrior Point Hike 7.0 miles 0 feet Year round 20 minute drive
Casual water-level stroll on a closed road or an open beach to a small lighthouse.
Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.