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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.


tree over Old Salmon River


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. 


Hiking near Portland at Old Salmon River Trail


Difficulty Level

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.


bridge and creek on Old Salmon River Trail


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

This is the hiking gear I can’t live without:

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:


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? Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Portland and then explore accommodation like unique stays on Airbnb or the top-rated hotels on to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the city.


This article is part of the Positively Portland series. Read the rest below:

6 Pretty Instagram Spots Around Portland

The Complete Breitenbush Hot Spring Review

Then, explore the US series for more insider tips on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in the country.


I’ve been traveling full-time for three years, these are the resources that make it happen:

➤ I exclusively use Airbnb for savings and security on long-term stays in furnished apartments.

➤ I use for short-term stays in hostels and hotels on weekend trips.

Skyscanner and the Scott's Cheap Flights newsletter help me find and book cheap flights and mistake fares.

Upwork allowed me to take the leap to travel full-time because they make it so easy to find freelance clients in any field. 

➤ The Superstar Blogging Travel Writing Course launched my travel writing career and helped me become a contributor at sites like Cincinnati Refined and International Living, and even get published in the Boston Globe.

➤ Finally, I love hosting my travel blog on SiteGround because they have helpful and responsive customer service and I love MediaVine and CJ for helping me make a living doing what I love!


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