The Pacific Northwest is full of beautiful natural sites, from mountains to lakes to forests. While the beauty of nature might be the first thing people think of when someone says “Washington” or “Oregon,” that might not be the case if someone mentions “Portland.” Portland is Oregon’s largest city, and while it certainly has a beautiful city skyline, you can easily be swept away in nature if you’d like.

Here’s a list of some of the best places to go if you’re looking for cheap flight deals to spend some time recharging in the natural world in Portland.

Mount Hood National Forest

Mount Hood National Forest

Mount Hood is one of the most iconic landmarks in Oregon. Known as the state’s highest peak, it reaches as high as 11,239 feet. The Timberline Trail offers great hiking options on the mountain itself, or you can visit in the winter for some skiing at the Mount Hood Skibowl. And, if you want to see the sites without hiking too much, hop in the car and drive the Mount Hood Scenic Loop. It’ll take you a half a day to drive it, clocking in at about 105 miles round-trip, with beautiful sites along the way. Aside from the mountain, the national forest offers waterfalls, hot springs, and great picnic spots!

Nature enthusiasts can hike in other locations and set their sights on Mount Hood. Within the national forest, there are six great spots to hike and take in the breathtaking views of the beautiful snow-capped mountain.

Serene Lake

Guests can hike the Serene Lake and experience views of the lake at the end of the trail in the national forest. Hikers can also experience unique wildflower meadows and other lakes as they make their way to the coveted viewpoint.

Up for a hike in Portland? Score cheap flight deals to get you there! 

Paradise Park

If you visit Paradise Park on a clear day, you might get lucky enough to see Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters. No matter what the weather’s like, you’ll be able to count on excellent views of Mount Hood. Take a picnic and plan to have a fun and relaxed afternoon at your leisure when visiting.

Mirror Lake and Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain

woman hiking Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain

The Mirror Lake trail is roughly four miles of switchbacks that bring you to the lake in which you can see a vibrant reflection of towering Mount Hood, hence the name “Mirror Lake”. Once you arrive at Mirror Lake, don’t turn back! Continue on to Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain (if you can)! Your hike might get harder, especially near the summit, but you’ll be rewarded with a great view of Mount Hood from the top.

Burnt Lake

You may ask, why ‘Burnt Lake’? The lake is named after a 1904 forest fire. The Burnt Lake Trail is filled with nature of all types. Countless intricate creeks and tons of wildflowers will greet you throughout a summer hike. Once you get to the lake, you’ve got a full view of Mount Hood waiting for you, but many take this trail to experience the beautiful East Zigzag Mountain.

Ramona Falls

Hiking to Ramona Falls will not only give you an up-close view of Mount Hood, but you’ll also see waterfalls cascading down the mountain. Hikers are warned to be careful and turn back if the Sandy River looks too high or dangerous to cross.

Oneonta Gorge and The Columbia River Gorge

Oneonta Gorge and The Columbia River Gorge

One of the most beautiful sites in the region, Oneonta Gorge is part of the Columbia River Gorge. Oneonta Gorge is covered in gorgeous green vegetation, giving off a truly breathtaking view. Throughout all of the Columbia River Gorge, you can drive along the Columbia River Highway and see beautiful waterfalls; there are plenty of trailheads to venture off on as well!

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Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

If you love water, then we can’t recommend taking a trip to the coast enough. Just 90 minutes from Portland and over 300 miles long, you are sure to find something here to enthrall you. From whale watching to admiring seals to simply making sand angels and taking captivating images, Oregon’s coast is a nature enthusiast’s dream. Visit Ecola State Park’s Indian Beach or Oswald West State Park’s Short Sands for some beginner surfing if you’re up to it.

Ridgefield Refuge

Ridgefield Refuge

Wildlife fan or birdwatcher? Ridgefield Refuge is the place for you. This national wildlife refuge is an important place to spot migrating birds. You’ll be able to get up close to these creatures as well as other wildlife species without the need for binoculars. The best way to embrace this natural beauty is by driving along the four-mile gravel road known as the “S-Unit.”

Also, if you’ve found cheap flight deals between May 1 and September 30, the Kiwa Trail at the refuge will be open, giving you a chance to walk part of the refuge and encounter the animals that inhabit the wetland.

Have you ever explored any of the nature that Portland has to offer? Tell us about it in the comments.

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About The Author

Tali Love
Digital Nomad & Travel Writer
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Tali Love travels the world full-time while generating income from wherever she is, on her laptop. She loves to write about her travels and anything else that is of interest to her. She owns the blog Pretty Brown Nomad that acts as a storefront for the many projects that she juggles from day to day. Tali loves pizza, good wine, and documentaries. Find her on Instagram and say hello @prettybrownnomad