North Cannon Beach/Ecola State Park (at low tide)

Cannon Beach/Ecola park Cheat Sheet

Hiking Distance: 5 – 6 Miles
Elevation Gain: 0′
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Moderate/Heavy (but spread out)
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Kid-Friendly: Yes
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Parking Fee: No
Bathrooms: Public restrooms
Features: Rock formations, tide pools, wildlife/ocean life
Distance from Burnside Bridge: 79.5 Miles

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Cannon Beach/Ecola park

I’ve been to Cannon Beach quite a few times, usually with visitors who wanted to see Beacon Rock so I usually walked south. I’ve also hiked much of Ecola State Park but only through the forest.

Turns out that the beach part of Ecola State Park is absolutely phenomenal, which is what I’m recommending on this “hike.” On the foggy day that I went, it was like visiting another planet (see photos below).

This is more of a walk than a hike and I hadn’t originally intended on blogging it, but afterwards really wanted to share it with folks.

If you can, wear neoprene water shoes so you can adventure around in the water. I went barefoot, which is doable, but did lose some feeling in my feet after a while which was a bit of a concern.

Final and most important tip: Check the tide tables before you go and go at low tide. This was the best tidepooling I’ve ever done!

Notes for getting there: I usually stop at the public restrooms before moseying down West 2nd Street and down the stairs to the beach. Get there early if you go during the summer because parking can be a problem. I arrived around 8:00 a.m. on a Friday during August and managed to get a spot right at the end of the street near the beach. There are other access points to use if you get there during a busier time, so do your research and plan ahead (but expect a little chaos).

Silver Falls Trail of Ten Falls

SILVER FALLS Cheat Sheet

Hiking Distance: 2 – 8 Miles. Short loops make it easy to choose your own adventure.
Elevation Gain: ~ 500′
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Traffic: Heavy
Trail Type: Loop
Kid-Friendly: Yes
Dogs Allowed:  Kind of. They’re allowed on Rim Trail, Bike Path and Perimeter Trail but prohibited on all other trails including the Canyon Trail where most of the waterfalls are found.
Bikes Allowed: Yes. A four-mile paved bike path starts from the overnight campground and follows Silver Creek to South Falls Lodge.
Horses Allowed: Yes
Parking Fee: $5 (exact change needed)
Bathrooms: Yes. Near South Falls Day-Use Area.
Features: Waterfalls, canyon, giant anthills
Distance from Burnside Bridge: 58 Miles

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Thank you Teddy Roosevelt for this gem of a park! I categorized this hike as Santiam State Forest, though it’s technically a separate state park in the same area of Oregon as Santiam.

And what a lovely hike it is. You can catch more waterfalls in this hike than you could if you spent the same amount of time in the Multnomah Falls area. The terrain is rolling and not too strenuous. If you take your time pausing at all the falls and exploring every nook and cranny of the park, you can spend most of the day wandering around.

These Silver Falls photos say more about the hike than I ever could, so I’ll let you peruse them instead of blathering on. This is a very busy hike, so try to aim for weekdays or even winter weekdays if you don’t love a packed trail.

For more info, check out the Silver Falls trail map and guide.

Still Creek Trail

Still Creek Cheat Sheet

Hiking Distance: 3.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 300′
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Light
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Kid-Friendly: Yes
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Parking Fee: None
Bathrooms: Pit toilets at campground
Features: Old-growth Forest, Creek, Solitude
Distance from Burnside Bridge: 49 Miles

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This little-known hike is a lovely and quiet stroll through an old-growth forest. It is a great choice of you have kids or if you want to take a walk in nature without pushing yourself too hard.

You’ll walk along Camp Creek only briefly at the beginning of the hike and Still Creek briefly at the turnaround point, but can hear rushing water often throughout the hike. There aren’t any fancy views or waterfalls, but the quiet and solitude of this hike make it feel special.

After hiking for about a mile and a half you’ll reach a road. Cross the road and walk down to the creek for a nice place to sit or have a picnic. This is your turnaround point.

Here’s a link to the Still Creek Trail Map.

Notes for getting there: The Still Creek Trail can be tricky to find. It begins at the Camp Creek Campground, which is 22.4 miles east of Sandy, off of U.S. Hwy 26. If heading east, the campground sign will be on your right. After pulling off of 26 into the campground, take a left at the first fork and a right at the second. Park across the road from the pedestrian bridge.

Here’s a link to the Still Creek trailhead location.

 

Powell Butte Nature Park

Powell Butte Cheat Sheet

Hiking Distance: 1 – 9 Miles. Short loops make it easy to choose your own adventure.
Elevation Gain: 300′
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Heavy
Trail Type: Loop
Kid-Friendly: Yes
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Parking Fee: None
Bathrooms: Yes
Features: Meadows, Wildflowers, Forest, Mountain Views
Distance from Burnside Bridge: 12 Miles

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Located deep in SE Portland, Powell Butte is my favorite place to go when I’m itching to get out of the city but don’t have a lot of time. There are 9 miles of trails to explore, featuring meadows, wildflowers, scenic views, and then a surprise turn into a thick forest where the only sounds are those of the birds and your own footsteps.

There’s usually a good amount of hiker traffic on a sunny day, but I’ve been here on rainy days where I didn’t run into a single other soul on the trail. The top of the butte features a “mountain finder” which, when the sky is clear, can help you identify which distant mountain is which. Five mountains are viewable from the top, weather permitting.

There are a few paved trails for bikes and wheelchair access and those trails will get you to the mountain finder. If you’re looking to get a lot of miles in on your bike, look elsewhere, since many of the trails are off-limits, but you should be able to fit in a mile or two of easy loops with the kids.

Here’s a link to the Powell Butte Visitor Center.