Fall is a beautiful time in Portland, and you should definitely get out and see some of the amazing fall colors in the area. Nature adds orange, red, yellow, and purple to the greens, blues and browns of the summer months. The best places to watch colors change are anywhere you find deciduous trees. Aspen, bigleaf maple, and western larch are a few of the most transformational trees. Here are seven of my favorite fall hikes near Portland, but be sure to explore the featured adventures below for other great options close to the city.
The Cape Horn Loop is one of the closest sections of the Columbia River Gorge to Portland on the Washington side of the river. Bigleaf maples abound, and leaves crunch underfoot for the majority of the hike. Even in the rain, this trail is a joy to hike on.
The Ape Canyon hike, not to be confused with Ape Caves, is one of the most spectacular hikes in the Mount St. Helens area. This hike will lead you through an old-growth forest of colorful vine maples to stunning views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams.
The peak summer crowds from this popular swimming hole have dwindled by October, but the colors of the old-growth forest are nothing short of spectacular. The vibrant color of the water paralleled with the changing leaves make this gem worth the drive.
If you're looking for something right in town, the Hoyt Arboretum is your best bet. Along the 12 miles of hiking trails you'll see over 10,000 individual trees and plants representing 1,000 different species from around the word. Forest Park is a close second for fall colors in the city.
The Salmonberry Corridor follows 86 miles of the Port of Tillamook Bay Railway, passing through a remarkable Coast Range landscape of wild rivers and Oregon coastline before it ultimately ends at the town of Tillamook. The trail includes unique tracks, trestles, and tunnels, and it may not be ideal for those with a fear of heights.
This is another one of those "just can't get enough" type of trails. Gorgeous year-round, Silver Falls State Park is potentially at its finest in the fall. Fewer crowds, grander colors, and 10 beautiful waterfalls make hikes in this park some of my favorites.
This is no doubt one of the most-loved trails in the Columbia River Gorge, and it's certainly worth visiting in the fall. The spawning salmon in the river adjacent to the trail and the thick, colorful forest bring a new feel to this popular trail.