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The Top 15 Day Trips From Portland That You Can’t Miss

The Top 15 Day Trips From Portland That You Can’t Miss

Have a day off work and want an exciting whole-day trip from Portland? With the city nestled between mountains, lakes, and beaches, there’s an abundance of things to do and places to explore, all within a short drive (well, some are hours away)! 

Why not make the most of your free day with one of our recommended day trips from or around Portland listed below? Feel free to keep the others in mind for your next day off!

The Columbia River Gorge

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Address: Oregon, United States

Contact Details: +1 541-308-1700

The Columbia River Gorge is a quick day trip from Portland. In fact, it only takes about half an hour to get from the city center to the western end of the Gorge. 

The gorge is loaded with famous waterfalls, and Multnomah Falls is the most popular one to visit (it’s also the tallest waterfall in Oregon!). You can also hike the Oneonta Gorge Trail through slot canyons and waist-deep water to Lower Oneonta Falls.

The best way to see the Columbia Gorge is via car. Take a ride along the Historic Columbia River Highway, known as the “King of Roads,” and be sure to stop at scenic viewpoints. You might even spot waterfalls right by the road!

Hood River


Address: Hood River, OR 97031, USA

Contact Details: 541-386-2000

Hood River is another super-easy day trip from Portland. It’s about 60 miles up the Gorge along the Columbia River and marks the spot where the landscape changes from green to desert-like. It’s cool because to get to Hood River, you have to drive through the Columbia River Gorge. 

This cute town is a hub for both outdoor lovers and those just looking to chill out. Start your day trip by grabbing some lunch in town (maybe try a local beer too!). 

Then, spend the rest of your time exploring the Hood River Valley, where you absolutely can’t miss spots like the Fruit Loop, a famous 35-mile scenic drive through tons of vineyards and orchards.

Mount Hood

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Website: Spans across Clackamas and Hood River counties

Address: (From Trillium Lake) Trillium Lake Lodge & RV Resort, 62697 Westlake Rd, Welches, OR 97067

Is there anything cooler than big ol’ Mount Hood? It’s a fantastic choice for a day trip from Portland if you’re up for chilling by lakes, admiring beautiful wildflowers, and trekking through forests. 

Just a quick 1.5-hour drive east from Portland, and you’ll reach the peaceful shores of Trillium Lake, where you’ll catch the reflection of Mount Hood looking stunning in the distance! 

There are other sweet lakes around Mount Hood too such as Frog Lake, Lost Lake, and Mirror Lake. Each one offers its own rad view of the mountain.

When it comes to hiking, try the Timberline Lodge to Zigzag Canyon trail for some awesome sights. Plus, the view of Mount Hood from Zigzag Canyon is seriously jaw-dropping.

Silver Falls State Park

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Address: 20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity OR 97385

Contact Details: +1 800-551-6949

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

If you’re into waterfalls and want to explore beyond the Columbia River Gorge, then Silver Falls State Park is a must-see. It’s about an hour south of the city, near Salem. 

One of the coolest trails there is the “Trail of Ten Falls,” a 7.6-mile loop that takes you past ten amazing Oregon waterfalls. From here, you’ll have the chance to witness some of Oregon’s prettiest waterfalls including Double Falls, Middle North Falls, and South Falls.

But hey, Silver Falls State Park isn’t just about waterfalls. You can also add some excitement by biking the fun Catamount Trail or taking a refreshing swim at the South Falls Day Use Area.

Willamette Valley Vineyards


Address: 8800 Enchanted Way SE, Turner, OR 97392, United States

Contact Details: 866-548-5018

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

The Willamette Valley is just a quick 50-minute drive from Portland, making it one of the closest day trips that feels like a whole new adventure. 

One of the best ways to enjoy this place is to spend a day with your buddies tasting some fantastic wines! They call it “Oregon Wine Country,” and here you’ll find over 500 wineries, each with its own awesome Oregon-grown grapes and flavors (seriously, their Pinot Noir is a must!). 

Check out cool spots like Penner-Ash Cellars, Trisaetum, and Styring for some great wine vibes. And if you’re feeling adventurous, head a bit farther south to Eugene and try the amazing pinot noir at King Estate Winery – it’s totally worth it!

Abiqua Falls

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Address: Crooked Finger Rd, Scotts Mills, OR 97375

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Abiqua Falls is a jaw-dropping display of basalt cliffs among Oregon waterfalls – it’s one of the most breathtaking scenes in the entire state! 

And yes, it’s one of the closest and most thrilling day trips from Portland if you’re all about waterfalls and hiking (aside from the Columbia River Gorge and Silver Falls State Park, obviously!).

Now, the 1.1 km out-and-back trail to Abiqua Falls is not for the faint-hearted. It’s rated difficult due to steep slopes and consistently wet conditions along the way. 

But all the hard work totally pays off when you arrive – that 92-foot-tall drop is a sight to behold! 

Cannon Beach


Address: Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce 207 N Spruce, Cannon Beach OR 97110

Contact Details: (503) 436-2623

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Heading to Cannon Beach is hands down one of the most sought-after day trips along the Oregon coast from Portland. This charming beach town, with its expansive sandy shores and the iconic Haystack Rock, feels like a refreshing escape from city life. 

There’s a bunch of cool stuff you can do in Cannon Beach to make your day trip unforgettable. Of course, there’s the obvious – strolling along the beach and snapping some Insta-worthy shots at Haystack Rock.

You can also gather around a bonfire by Haystack Rock and enjoy a relaxed fish n’ chips picnic on the beach. Cannon Beach is dog-friendly too, so don’t forget to bring your furry friend along for a fantastic day at the beach!

Mount St. Helens

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Address: Washington 98616, USA

Contact Details: (360) 274-0962

Mount St. Helens might be in Washington, but it’s an awesome day trip from Portland, especially if you’re into nature and history. Heck, it’s just a 1.5-hour drive away! 

Cruise east on Highway 504 to reach the Johnston Ridge Observatory for a close-up view of Mount St. Helens.  If you’re eager to soak in more knowledge about the area, stop by Mount St. Helens Visitor Center and The Forest Learning Center.

There are a ton of hiking trails around the region. Try out the Hummocks Trail during the summer for stunning wildflowers, or take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk at Coldwater Lake for distant mountain views. 

And believe it or not, with the proper permits and preparation, you can even summit the mountain on a day trip from Portland!

The McKenzie River Highway

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If you’re all about lush green forests, waterfalls, and soaking in Oregon’s natural hot springs, then a day trip from Portland to explore the McKenzie River Highway might be just what you need! This scenic route is filled with incredible stops right off the highway. 

Kick off your adventure with a quick visit to the Lost Lake Lava tubes. Then, head south for your first waterfall stop at Sahalie and Koosah Falls trail, a sweet and easy loop hike that gives you a 2-for-1 waterfall experience! 

Keep moving south to discover Tamolitch Falls (The Blue Pool), Bigelow Hot Springs, Belknap Hot Springs, and Cougar Hot Springs (also known as Terwilliger Hot Springs). Take your pick and enjoy a dip that suits your vibe!

Rowena Crest

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Address: 6500 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Mosier, OR 97040, United States

Contact Details: +1 800-551-6949

Looking for more to do on your Portland day trips to the Columbia River Gorge? Consider checking out Rowena Crest! 

It’s just a super easy 1-hour 20-minute drive from Portland via I-84 and offers a high-up view of an iconic, winding road near the river.

This spot is a hit among photographers. Some love capturing the sunrise as the road lights up, while others aim to catch tiny cars winding along the road. 

Some even visit at night to snap long-exposure shots of car lights streaking across the path. Whatever your reason for visiting, don’t forget your camera!

McMenamins Edgefield


Address: 2126 SW Halsey St, Troutdale, OR 97060, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-669-8610

McMenamins Edgefield, a 74-acre property near the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, is just a quick 20-minute drive from Portland. It used to be the county poor farm but now offers a great way to spend a sunny summer weekend. 

They often throw awesome concerts on the great lawn, so catching a show is a blast! Don’t rush, take your time wandering through the gardens and enjoying the beautiful views.

The best part? You can freely explore the whole place with a glass of wine or beer in hand. Plus, the artwork dotted around the estate looks even cooler after a couple of sips!



Address: Clatsop County, Oregon, United States

Contact Details: (503) 325-5821

Astoria, a delightful town nestled in the northwest corner of the state, is packed with surprising things to do and see. Even if your time is limited, it’s still a great option for a Portland day trip. 

Sure, it’s a bit of a drive (about 1 hour and 30 minutes), but it offers a fantastic loop of the northern Oregon Coast. It’s a worthwhile visit, especially if you’re short on time in Oregon.

The town is steeped in history, which you can explore at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, the very place where Lewis and Clark endured a gloomy Oregon winter. 

Afterward, head out to the coast and visit Fort Stevens State Park. There, you’ll discover the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach and explore the batteries in the park’s northern section. 

Fall Creek Falls


Address: Oregon, USA

Contact Details: (541) 957-3200

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Looking for a fantastic hiking day trip from Portland? Fall Creek Falls has got you covered! This trail is actually in Washington, just across the Columbia River. 

The hike to this waterfall spans 5 miles round trip, leading you to a breathtaking three-tiered falls (though you can only see the bottom two tiers!) cascading 335 feet into the creek below.

You can get up close enough to feel the mist of the falls, and it’s an absolute paradise for photography enthusiasts! Springtime offers the full force of the water, but truth be told, any time of the year is perfect for a Portland day trip here!

Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City

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Address: Pacific City, OR 97112, USA

Contact Details: (800) 551-6949

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City also makes for an incredible day trip from Portland, offering stunning Oregon Coast views and thrilling sand dunes.

Here, the coastline has a wilder vibe, attracting brave surfers and dory boaters who take on the crashing waves. It’s quite entertaining to sit and watch them in action!

And if you’re feeling a bit parched, head over to Pelican Brewing Company, right by the water, to continue enjoying the ocean views from indoors. 

Take your time, soak in the sight of the coastline, or venture up to explore the sand dunes at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. Be cautious, though – it’s a steep hike, and near the edges, it can be a bit dicey!

Smith Rock State Park

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Address: Oregon 97760, United States

Contact Details: +1 800-551-6949

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Venturing almost three hours away from the city, Smith Rock State Park is probably one of the farthest spots you can still hit up as a day trip from Portland. It’s a climbers’ paradise, offering a bunch of routes and adventures. 

With over 2,000 climbing routes to pick from, most of the popular ones are doable on a single pitch. Among the coolest climbs is Monkey Face, a 350-foot spire that’s both epic and a bit intimidating!

Not keen on climbing? No sweat! This place is also a top-notch spot for photography, especially during sunrise and sunset. Grab your camera and capture the rocks against the scenic Crooked River. The view is just stunning!

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