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If you want to go hiking near Portland, the Old Salmon River Trail in Mount Hood National Forest is a great place to start.
When my sister and I visited Mt. Hood in late March we thought we would be able to hike anywhere, but we were so wrong… the snow was still packed in on almost all of the trails!
Unfortunately we were not prepared for snowshoeing or winter hiking, so we had to return to the lower elevation trails. We asked for some advice at the Zig Zag Ranger Station and the ranger recommended Old Salmon River Trail.
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How to Get to Old Salmon River Trail
The best way to get there is to just plug the “Old Salmon River Trailhead” into your GPS and head out. From downtown Portland the drive is 48 miles and will take about one hour, depending on the traffic.
You can also put the Zig Zag Ranger Station into your GPS because it’s located on US Hwy 26 just a minute or two up the road from the turn off point for the Old Salmon River trailhead.
Here you can get maps, chat with the rangers, and learn more about the trail and the area. Once you’re done, the trailhead is a quick five minute drive down E Salmon River Road.
The Old Salmon River Trail is great for easy hiking near Portland because its only two miles out and two miles back (four miles total) and has very little incline.
The lack of a massive climb doesn’t mean you won’t get some stunning scenery though, we were in awe walking through the soaring moss covered trees along the banks of the wild and rushing Old Salmon River.
This hike doesn’t have views of Mount Hood, but if you’re in the park on a rainy or cloudy day and want to experience the classic PNW atmosphere, this is a great choice for any and all fitness levels.
What to pack for the Old Salmon River Hike in Portland
The Old Salmon River hike is pretty easy, but it’s always good to be extra prepared when heading into the mountians where the weather can change so quickly. For this trek, I recommend bringing:
- A small day pack
- Sunglasses and sunscreen (for the rare chance the sun decides to show itself)
- Extra layers like a light jacket or sweatshirt
- Sturdy hiking boots
- A large water bottle
- Snacks and a packed lunch
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Old Salmon River Trail is Perfect For Hiking Near Portland
I recommend this trail because it’s beautiful (especially for Midwesterners like me!) and easy for trekkers of all fitness levels.
Plus, the low elevation means it’s even accessible in the spring or fall when most options in Mount Hood National Forest are limited from the snowfall – USDA Forest Service reports that it’s snow free almost year round.
Finally, the trail is by the Zig Zag Ranger Station so you can learn more about the park and the route from the experts when you go!
If you’re looking for hiking near Portland, Oregon, the Old Salmon River Trail has ya covered. Explore the trail, enjoy the scenery, and comment below to let me know what you think!
Ready to go?
Then, join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges.
This article is part of the Positively Portland series. Read the rest below:
Then, explore the US series for more insider tips on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in the country.
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