Top Ten Portland Getaways

By Tim Braun
Statistically the driest month of the year, August is the time to enjoy all those things that aren't as much fun in the rain: rafting, backpacking, sea kayaking, mountaineering, and more. Add to that the snow-free status of the High Cascades and the possibilities are practically endless.
  1. Sole Sister
    Experienced hikers in reasonable condition can scale the 10,400 foot summit of South Sister without ropes, crampons, ice axe, or any technical climbing skills and enjoy all of the exhilaration of standing on top of a major Cascade volcano. Portland Parks offers several fall climbs. Call 503-823-5132 for details.
  2. Listen Up, Buckaroos
    Whatever your Mount Adams adventure of choice: climbing, hiking, backpacking, cross country skiing, or rafting, you need a good base camp. As comfortable as an old cowboy boot, the Flying L Ranch in Glenwood is just that. Visit or call 888-682-3267.
  3. Road Trip!
    You've probably heard of Steens Mountain, but due to the 10-hour drive, many Oregonians have never actually been there. Unique and dramatic geography combines with abundant plant and animal life to create a special place that can be explored by car (4WD recommended), hiking boot, or horseback.
  4. A Real Gem
    If you've never been to Opal Creek (503-897-4849;, it should at least be on your list. One of the most beautiful streams in Oregon (and possibly the country), the creek itself is just the beginning. Towering old growth forests, a historic mining village, and incredible hiking are all waiting for you here.
  5. Huckleberry Heaven
    All you have to pack is maple syrup, pancake mix, and a map and you could spend a week in the Indian Heaven Wilderness, harvesting daily from the eleven species of huckleberry which thrive there. Sparkling mountain lakes, relatively level hiking trails, and fiery fall color add to the charm.
  6. Deschutes and Ladders
    Mack's Canyon on the Deschutes River is one of the few roadless stretches and makes for some fine backpacking and fly fishing opportunities. Drive north on the river road from Sherar's Falls 14 miles to the end of the road and then follow the old railroad grade as far as you like.
  7. Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Blood
    One of the most scenic mountain bike trails in the Northwest, the Lewis River Trail south of Mount St. Helens is famous for a reason. Huge old growth cedars line the sparkling blue Lewis River, which is handy as the cold water is great for stopping the inevitable mountain-bike-induced bleeding.
  8. Get Loopy
    With the completion of the $30 million Eastbank Esplanade in Downtown Portland, it's now possible to make a three-mile loop using the Hawthorne and Steel bridges and Waterfront Park. And since there are no barriers (like stairs), you can travel by inline skate, bicycle, skateboard, or whatever you like. Park near the east end of the Hawthorne bridge and you can't miss it.
  9. Big Brother, Salmon Style
    You've probably seen the signs saying"Cascade Streamwatch" at the Wildwood Recreation Area just west of the town of Welches as you're heading up to the mountain for one adventure or another. The highlight of this beautiful park on the banks of the Salmon River is an underground salmonid viewing area that lets you go eye-to-eye (though they can't see you) with Steelhead, Chinook, and Coho going about their daily chores. See for an overview.
  10. Ponytail Paradise
    On those few August days when the temperature rises into the high 90s and you want to escape somewhere cool, misty, and green, hike the short but steep mile up from Horsetail Falls in the Gorge and you'll find yourself in a magical little amphitheater, complete with a trail that lets you walk behind the roaring waterfall. Park at the trailhead near Horsetail Falls on the Scenic Highway and follow the signs.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »