What are your favorites parts of fall? The crisp air, the PSL, Halloween? The list is close to endless, but one thing I think we can all agree on is the beauty that comes when the leaves begin to turn.
If you find yourself enjoying the changing colors of the season, below is a list of 8 kid-friendly hikes in and around Portland that are worth checking out to get your fix!
Hoyt offers a 12 mile multi-trail system, leading you through 2,300 different species of trees and shrubs from 6 continents. The trails are well-marked and well-maintained, making it easy to navigate around. Or, take one of their guided tours! Gaze upon the sequoias from the viewing deck or stroll through the calm (and delightfully-scented, in the spring) magnolias. You’ll be sure to capture some fall colors on their kid-friendly trails. Hoyt Arboretum has a visitor center that is open weekdays from 10-4 and offers up a trail map. There is paid parking or you can park off the road, just be sure to look for “no parking” signs.
Piggy-backing off of Hoyt is the Pittock Mansion Trail. This 3.2 mile out and back trail offers up some great views and the beautiful tress are worth noting, as well. There are partial closures to the trail, so check before you head out. You can also double the length of the trail by starting at Lower Macleay, but may be more challenging for kids.
Powell Butte features fantastic panoramic views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson, to name a few. Did you know that Powell Butte is an extinct cinder cone volcano? Or that it is an underground water reservoir? With so many interesting things to about the butte, you’ll have to stop by the learning center near the parking lot before you venture out on the 611 acres of meadowlands and forest areas. You’ll spot some fall colors using their multi-trail system to customize your experience, making it as kid-friendly as possible. The butte is great for bird and wildlife watching. Crossed paths with a coyote myself! Use the Mountain View or Summit Lane trails (both stroller-friendly) to get to the “summit finder” and gaze upon the beautiful Cascades. The parking lots can fill up fast on a nice day, so keep that in mind. Also, take all personal belongings with you; I have seen shattered glass in the parking lot but have never had any issues myself.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area
Located close to the city, but has that no-where-near-a-city feel, Tryon Creek is another great area of a multi-trail system. It offers lots of interconnected, well-marked trails that are great for hiking with kids. There are 8 miles of hiking trails, 3.5 miles of horse trails and 3 miles of paved bike trails. Don’t forget to stop by the nature center, as well, to learn more about the plants, wildlife and birds in the area. Maybe even put together a little scavenger hunt to make the exploring a little more exciting.
Wapato Greenway on Sauvie Island
This 2.3 mile loop brings you around a marsh with peaks of the Willamette River along the way. The trail is flat, easy and quiet, aka very kid-friendly! However, it can also be buggy and muddy, so plan accordingly! It’s a great area for spotting some wildlife or to do some bird watching close to Portland.
Oxbow Regional Park
Located off of the Sandy River, Oxbow has a few family-friendly hikes in the park, but leave the pup at home as dogs are not allowed. It’s a great place to “make a day” out of it, for even a whole night! The park has camping, a beach, picnic areas, a playground and of course, trails! you want to stick to family-friendly trails, I’d recommend checking out Alder Ridge and Sandy River. Alder is a 2.1 loop that starts off steep for just a little until you reach the top and turns more into a rim hike, giving off little peeps of the river. The Sandy River trail is a 2.2 out & back with access to the river…imagine that. The park does require a $5 entry fee.
Portland Japanese Garden
While I consider this more of an experience than a hike, it cannot be missed come fall. Located in Washington Park and over looking the city, there are 5 different historic gardens. With flowing streams and a zen garden, you’ll feel rest and relaxation as you stroll the grounds. It is not very big, but it is dense, so you may find some of the areas are not stroller-friendly. There is a gift shop to check out, a cafe to grab a PSL at, and even a cultural pavilion to do some learning. There is a $19.95 admission fee that many say is well worth it. They are currently doing timed-entry, so grab a reservation on their website before heading out.
Leach Botanical Gardens
1000% if you have not been here, go! It is a great 16 acre park with about a mile in trails. It is so beautiful and well put together, probably because the grounds originally were owned by two botanists. They later deeded the property to the City of Portland in 1984.
Leach has so many fun little intertwining trails. If you have a toddler, it’s always great fun to just let them lead the way! The paths are very narrow and there are lots of stairs, so it is not a stroller-friendly place. It is compromised of the upper and lower gardens and even has an awesome sky bridge and a creek that runs through! There is a $5 entry fee to enter the gardens. You will find an old house on the grounds as well as a gift shop full of goodies. I cannot recommend this spot enough for a kid friendly-fall hike!
Sweater weather is coming folks, get out there and enjoy the season and the beautiful scenery that comes with it. Tag us in your pics (@portlandmomcollective) we’d love to see those fall colors!