PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Pacific Northwest is easing into spring, which means that wildflower season is almost here. With forests and hiking trails in every direction, Portland is spoiled with wildflower viewing opportunities.
The fitness level needed to reach these spring blooms, however, can differ drastically from trail to trail. Using data provided by Yelp, KOIN 6 has compiled a list of some of the best Oregon hiking trails near Portland that are suited to wildflower seekers of various physical abilities.
Note: Check each location for recreational permit requirements before planning your next hike.
Oregon’s Top 7 wildflower hikes near Portland (for varying hiking skill levels)
1. Angel’s Rest Hiking Trail – Bridal Veil
Distance: 8 miles (out and back)
Difficulty Level: “Moderate”
Affected by the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, Angel’s Rest Hiking Trail offers an open, sunny landscape, ideal for native wildflower blooms. Wildflower viewing peaks in May and common species include blue-eyed grass, star-flowered smilacina and trillium.
2. John Yeon to Wahclella Falls – Bonneville
Gorge 400 (MP 15 – 19.5) John Yeon to Wahclella
Distance: 5.2 miles
Difficulty: “For all ages”
Starting at John Yeon State Park and traveling east toward the Wahclella Falls trailhead, this less-traversed hiking spot offers an easy walk through scores of orchids and calypsos during the early spring and other native wildflowers throughout the season. Hikers will also be treated to views of towering basalt cliffs.
3. Eagle Creek Trail – Bonneville
Distance: 12 miles (roundtrip)
Eagle Creek trail is known for offering some of the most spectacular scenery of any trail in the Columbia River Gorge, passing through wildflower blooms in the spring and five waterfalls.
4. Camassia Nature Preserve – West Linn
Distance: Multiple trails shorter than a mile long
Camassia Natural Area is a 22.5 acre natural preserve that offers short hiking trails, ample wildflower viewing and unique and rare plant species. Guests are encouraged to arrive early during peak wildflower season in April and May to avoid large crowds.
5. Old Salmon River Trail – Clackamas
Distance: 1.9 miles
A mostly flat, kid-friendly trail through old-growth forest, Old Salmon River Trail offers easy wildflower viewing for families and groups of all ages. Hikers should be prepared to cross several shallow creeks.
6. Latourell Falls Loop – Latourell
Distance: 2-mile loop
Another popular spot for wildflower and waterfall viewing, Latourell Falls Loop takes hikers through rocky terrain and dense foliage along Henderson Creek before along the path toward Upper Latourell Falls, the third tallest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge.
7. Kings Mountain Trail – Tillamook
Distance: 4.8 miles
Located in the Tillamook State Forest, Kings Mountain is known for the abundance of wildflowers that emerge along its valleys and hillsides each spring. The organization Oregon Hikers states that spring hikers can find beargrass, paintbrush, penstemon, phlox, and rare phantom orchids along the trail.
Honorable Mention: Dog Mountain Trail
Distance: 6.2 miles out and back
Located in Washington, Dog Mountain trail offers one of the most difficult and spectacular wildflower hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. Upon reaching the upper portion of the steep-incline trail, hikers are treated to an explosion of yellow balsamroot intermixed with meadows of native wildflowers set in front of panoramic Columbia River Gorge views.