Tag Archives: Hot Weather Hike

Spring Hikes

Hope everyone is enjoying the new season! Here are some of our favorite spring-time hikes ūüôā


If you’re looking for flowers:

Pittock Mansion

Rowena Crest & Tom McCall Nature Preserve

Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Field)

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival


Hikes that open in spring or that should be done before it gets too hot:

Larch Mountain

Painted Hills

Smith Rock



Tunnel Falls

Fairy Falls

Dry Creek Falls

Pool Of The Winds

Falls Creek Falls

Mist Falls



Spring kayaking:

Columbia River Slough

Sturgeon Lake




Powell Butte (Winter 2016)

Directions: The main parking area for Powell Butte is located at 162nd and Powell in Southeast Portland.

This hike is a revisit, some of the trails we took are different from our first visit. Click here to see our first post.

From the main parking area get on the Mountain view trail. It’s wide and paved with some interpretive signs along the way. After about a quarter mile you will come to a trail junction, go left onto the Wildhorse Trail. This trail is packed dirt and can get pretty muddy after heavy rains. The Wildhorse trail is short and takes you up to the top of Powell Butte. It drops you off at the Summit Lane Trail which is loose gravel and takes you around the the top of the butte and past a viewpoint. Take the Summit Lane trail on the South side of the butte and get on the South Trail, it heads back down the butte into the wooded area.

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The South Trail¬†goes down a few short switchbacks and crosses a small stream. You will be going down to the base of Powell Butte and heading west for a short distance. It’s a nice quiet hike through tall trees as you make your way to the Douglas Fir Trail. From here you start heading back up the butte as you make your way out of the woods. Soon you will be back on the Summit Lane trail. Take this up to the top of the Butte where you can get back on the Mountain View Trail that takes you down a paved trail back to the parking area.

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Powell Butte: 4 miles (easy)

Elevation: 250 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: Cougars have been seen in this area

Shellburg Falls (Winter 2016)

Directions: Take I-5 South to exit 253 and get on Highway 22. Drive Highway 22 for about 22 miles where you will take a left onto Fern Ridge Road. After a little over a mile on Fern Ridge Road you’ll see the trailhead on the right with a small parking area.

From the trailhead head up the gravel road and go around the gate. For about the first mile you’ll be hiking on a wide gravel access road. You will be hiking with private property on both sides of you during the first mile. It’s pastures on both sides and you’ll be crossing quite a few cattle guards. There are cows out in the pasture and they cross the road pretty regularly. All the cows we encountered weren’t aggressive. But, please¬†make sure to¬†give the cows space and respect the animals and the people who own them, by not touching or scaring them in any way. After you pass the main pasture you will come to a small tree farm on the right and enter into a more wooded area, you are now in the Santiam State Forest.

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After about a half mile in the forest you will come to a small bridge that’s right at the top of Lower Shellburg Falls. Some people scramble down the side to get a full view of the falls. This area can be dangerous so make sure you have experience scrambling before attempting it. From here take the steps that are signed for Shellburg Falls and get on a more narrow trail. It’s just a short distance later to Shellburg Falls where the trail leads all the way behind the waterfall! This is the end point for this hike so turn around and head back out the way you came in.

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Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: 400 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: None

Yaquina Head (Winter 2016)

The distance for this hike depends on what you end up doing.

Directions: Take I-5 South to exit 228. Get on Highway 34 West and then get on Highway 20 West. Take Highway 20 into Newport and take a right onto Highway 101. Drive for about 4.5 miles and take a left onto Lighthouse Drive. There are signs once you are in Newport.

There are multiple things to do at Yaquina Head. For this trip we decided to check out the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Cobble Beach. There¬†are multiple trails and coves as well but we didn’t have time for it all! Click here to see a brochure of the area.

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You can walk or drive to the lighthouse and beach area from the interpretive center. If you choose to walk you’ll pick up the trail at the interpretive center parking lot and follow it along the bluffs where it drops you at the lighthouse parking lot. You have a chance of seeing gray whales and harbor seals on the trail. If you drive just follow the road that takes you to the parking area.

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The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest (93 feet) lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. You can sign up at the interpretive center for a tour of the lighthouse. We did the tour and it was definitely worth it. BLM workers dress up and show you around the bottom rooms, share lots of history, and take you up to the top where you get to see the actual light.

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There are viewing decks behind the lighthouse to whale watch and get great views of the ocean. Don’t forget your binoculars!

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For Cobble Beach take the wooden steps down to the rocky beach. It’s one of the more interesting beaches as there is no sand, it’s all cobble and rocky tide pool areas. For the full experience you want to be aware of the tide. You need to visit at low tide, we arrived about 45 minutes before low tide was at it’s peak which worked well. The tide pools are great! We saw starfish, purple sea urchins, anemones, barnacles, snails, mussels, and crabs. It was probably our best tide pool experience. We also saw Harbor Seals and Harlequin Ducks!

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Yaquina Head is a great area for nature lovers and kids. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here!

Distance: 0-1 mile (easy)

Elevation: Minimal

Pet Friendly: No

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $7 (good for 3 days)

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Yacolt & Moulton Falls (Winter 2016)

Directions: These directions are to the Moulton Falls trailhead, there is also a trailhead on Hantwick Road. Drive I-5 North to Exit 11 (Battleground and 502E), merge right with 502E to Battleground. Drive 6 miles into Battleground and take a left at a traffic light signed for 503N, Amboy, Yacolt. Stay on 503N (Lewisville Highway) for 5.5 miles and take a right onto NE Rock Creek Road which eventually turns into Lucia Falls Road. Drive about 3 miles until you reach a stop sign (junction with 172nd), continue straight and follow the road until you see the Moulton Falls trailhead on the right.

Warning: Please pay attention to the entrance and exits at the trailhead. There are road spikes at the exits, it’s not very clearly marked and you could easily enter through the exit and shred your tires.

From the trailhead walk along the road until you get to the crosswalk. Cross the road and follow the trail as it gradually goes uphill for about 1/3 mile. It takes you to a stone staircase that goes down to a flat rocky area right in front of Yacolt Falls. With all the rain we’ve been getting lately the waterfall was very full which was great.

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Back at the top of the stairs continue up the trail to the small train station. We went left on the tracks for a bit and soon came to the train tunnel which was interesting to look at. We explored more around the tracks and then eventually turned around and headed back down to the road. Round trip it’s about a mile.

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From the road cross back over to the river and take the small footbridge that gets you on the Moulton Falls Trail. Stay right and head out to the big rocks that are along the river, they give you great views of East Fork High Bridge. Head back on the main trail and cross the bridge, where you get a nice view of the gorge below.

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We continued on a bit farther but this part of the trail isn’t very interesting. You get some views of the river, but it’s mostly houses and some ponds until you reach the Hantwick Road trailhead. So, when it started to rain we decided to turn around and head back to the car. We ended up doing about 4 miles and cut out all the boring stuff. You can can definitely go another couple miles if you’re up to it.

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Before you head out make sure you take the steps, in the right corner of the parking area, down to the river and Moulton Falls. In the winter when the river is high the waterfall is really nothing to look at. It basically just looks like a rough part of the Lewis River, it’s best viewed in the summer. But you still get a good look at the river down there.


Distance: 4 miles (if you go all the way to the Hantwick Trailhead it’ll be about 6-7 miles round trip.) (easy to moderate)

Elevation: 225 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Porta potty at the parking area

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very popular during the summer months, not bad during the off season.

Warnings: None

Beaver Falls (Winter 2016)

Directions: From Rainier, Oregon, take Highway 30 West. About 5 miles after passing under the bridge to Longview, take the exit on the right pointing toward Delena. This will take you onto Beaver Falls Road (go left). The trailhead is on the left side of the road in about 4 miles. It’s a gravel pullout with a small sign up on a tree. **To see Upper Beaver Falls watch for a long white guardrail with a small turnout (on the road before the trailhead). At the midpoint of the guardrail, where the turnout is, there is a trail sized gap. This is the access point to see the waterfall, which is just on the other side of the guardrail.

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From the parking area take the trail near the Beaver Falls sign and follow it downhill making two quick switchbacks. The trail continues on a fairly even grade in the trees where you can see Beaver Creek on your right. We encountered some downed trees from recent storms about a quarter of a mile in, but the trail was still passable.

You’ll pass a rock slide area and a short time later you’ll round a corner and the trail heads down to the waterfall. You should normally be able to take the trail all the way down to the base but there was caution tape up because the last 30 feet of the trail was washed out from a big slide. You still get great views of the waterfall even if you can’t get to the base of it. This is an out and back trail, so head back the way you came.

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**Make sure to stop by Upper Beaver Falls on you’re way back home. As you drive back out watch for a break in the long white guardrail, you can park in the pullout. There is room just on the other side of the guardrail to view the waterfall.

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Distance: 1 mile (easy)

Elevation: 100 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: The trailhead is a little sketchy and with the amount of glass on the ground it looks like there has been a fair amount of break-ins.

Hug Point Waterfall (Winter 2016)

Directions: Take Highway 26 to Highway 101 and go South for Cannon Beach. Follow 101 South for about 12 miles to the Hug Point state recreation area (there are signs).

This is an easy beach walk to a small but pretty waterfall. It would be a nice addition to any hike you’re doing in the area, or if you are short on time. This is also a nice stop for people with younger children.

Warning: You need to be aware of the tide. This waterfall is ONLY accessible at low tide. Please check a tide table before starting this hike.


From the parking area take the staircase down to the beach and head North. As you come to a sandstone point make sure you watch the tide as you round the corner and start to see the waterfall. You’ll pass along a cave in the sandstone and pass a cove type area before you reach the waterfall. It’s just a quick quarter mile from the parking area.

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The waterfall is only about 15 feet high but it’s quite pretty with the colors of the stone around it. There are also nearby caves to explore and you can walk up on top of the waterfall. When you are done head back out the way you came in.


Distance: .5 mile (easy)

Elevation: Minimal elevation gain/loss, just the staircase down to the beach.

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: Be aware of the tides it can be very dangerous and you have the possibility of getting stuck or swept away.

Lacamas Lake (Winter 2016)

This hike starts at the Heritage Park Trailhead, which is off Highway 14 in Camas, Washington and runs along the West side of Lacamas Lake.

From the parking area get onto the paved path near the bathrooms and follow it as you head towards the lake. Once you get to the lake the trail switches to a dirt and gravel mix and stays this way for almost the rest of the hike.


There is basically no elevation change on this hike. It’s just a flat trail that is sandwiched between large houses on your left, and the lake to your right. You start out in a more wooded area for about a half mile and then you’re mostly seeing houses. There are a few private docks and boat launches along the way and some areas where the trees are thinner and you get good views of the lake and Mt. Hood off in the distance.


We did find out that winter really isn’t the best month for this hike. There are no wildflowers or much wildlife hanging around. It’s just kind of a bland hike along a lake that isn’t that spectacular in the winter months.

You’ll cross a couple bridges and pass by the Camas Meadows Golf Club as you reach the parking lot, which is the turnaround point. So head back the way you came in.


Distance: 7 miles (moderate)

Elevation: 25 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Best Of 2015!

Here is our list of the top hikes we did in 2015!

Columbia River Gorge (Oregon side): *Tunnel Falls* We¬†love the Eagle Creek Trail and this year we finally made it all the way out to Tunnel Falls. We definitely weren’t disappointed!


Columbia River Gorge (Washington side): *Strawberry Island* This was a nice secluded hike that had amazing views of the Gorge and lots of birds.


Mt. Hood: *Zigzag Canyon* This hike is absolutely beautiful. You get amazing views of Mt. Hood all throughout the hike. We did this hike in late June and the Lupine were in full bloom!


Oregon Coast: *Bayocean Spit* Who doesn’t love a hike that’s right on the beach?


Washington Coast: *North Head Lighthouse* You can actually go up in this lighthouse. The views are great!


Portland Metro/Outer Portland: *Oak Island* This is one of our favorite hikes on Sauvie Island, the place is covered with cows!


Washington: *Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Fields)* Go here in the spring when the lilies are blooming, it’s very pretty!


Willamette Valley: *Abiqua Falls* This waterfall is becoming more and more popular and we definitely understand why. It’s not the easiest waterfall to reach, but it’s definitely worth the scramble.


Central Oregon: *Smith Rock* We absolutely love this place. There is so much to see you almost need more than one day.


Kayaking: *Scappoose Bay* This was the first place we took our new kayak. There’s lots of places to explore here.


*Overall best hike of 2015*

Painted Hills!

Hands-down the most interesting place we’ve ever been to. The colors are beautiful¬†and the views up at Carroll Rim are amazing! We HIGHLY recommend this hike!

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Honorable Mentions: *Lower Twin Lake, Youngs River Falls, Lost Lake (hike and kayak), Tom McCall Nature Preserve (go in the spring!), and The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.*

We’d love to hear what some of your favorite hikes of 2015 were!

Wishing everyone happy hiking in 2106!

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (Winter 2015)

Directions: From SE 17th and Holgate: Go South on SE 17th Avenue. Just past the signal at McLaughlin Blvd turn right onto SE Mitchell. Go uphill and veer left, you can see the parking lot across the street when you stop at Milwaukie Ave. Turn right and take an immediate left into the parking lot.

From the parking area take the paved path downhill for a short distance until you come to a fork in the trail. Go left where the trail turns to dirt and you’ll soon cross a footbridge. From here you wind through the thick trees with the Portland Memorial Mausoleum on your left and pond/marsh areas to your right. The trail is mostly flat with just a few small hills.

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After about a half mile the trail will turn to boardwalk as you pass through an area where the pond reaches the trail. There is a viewing platform built into the boardwalk that looks out at an opening where you will see just how big the ponds are. You will also be able to see the train tracks and Oaks Park in the distance.

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As you start to make your way out of the woods the trail returns to packed dirt. You will soon come to an open area as you follow the trail under the train tracks and get onto the Springwater Trail. Take a right on the Springwater Trail and pass along the ponds and marsh area. You will get a great view of the mural that’s painted on the Portland Memorial Mausoleum.

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The trail starts to head downhill after a while and you’ll come to an intersection. Take a right here and again head under the tracks. The trail stays paved as you wind your way back to the intersection from the beginning of the hike. Go left here and head back uphill to the parking area.

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This whole hike is great for viewing wildlife. You can see a lot of different birds, especially water birds. You also have a chance to see beavers and nutria. While you’re on the Springwater Trail make sure you keep an eye out for bald eagles, we’ve seen a few in the past.

Distance: 2.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 115 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Porta-potty at parking area.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes on nice weekends. Springwater Trail is busy year round.

Warnings: There have been a lot of break-ins at this trailhead.