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


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!


PS looking for more info for your trip to Portland? Read my review of Breitenbush, the clothing option hot springs outside of the city, or get a quick glimpse into Portland with these 11 photos!



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