hikes near Portland

Independence Day Hike

Our plans for the 4th of July were pretty low-key. I met my friend Robyn at the gym to do a workout Monday morning. I did a quickie 15 minute warm up jog on the treadmill (my bruised butt hurt from Sunday’s fall!) and then Robyn and I focused on upper body weights and abs. It was a really good workout after a very active weekend.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:18
Calories Burned: 506


After the workout Robyn and I went to Panera Bread for lunch. I like Panera because their calorie information is readily available and everything is pretty low in calories! I ordered a cup of the French Onion Soup (250 calories) and half a ham and swiss sandwich (290 calories).


It was delicious and filling. Then Michael and I decided to go for a hike. It was 82 degrees, sunny and gorgeous out. We drove out to The Gorge to do Wahkeena Falls.


The Gorge was incredibly crowded–which was to be expected on such a nice day and a holiday. Wahkeena Falls connects to Multnomah Falls. It’s a very strenuous, uphill hike. The first half mile of switchbacks are steep but paved. I think that lures non-hikers into a sense that they can do the hike easily. It’s not an easy hike at all.


Our goal was to hike Wahkeena Falls to Larch Mountain. I’ve always wanted to do Larch Mountain but have never made it. One way is to hike up Multnomah Falls and then it connects to Larch Mountain at the top. All the times I’ve tried to do that I always had to turn around once I got to the top. Either I was tired, or the person I was with couldn’t do more.


After the Falls the trail is no longer paved. It turns into a very rocky, dirt trail that is just as steep as Multnomah Falls.


I personally think Wahkeena Falls is nicer than Multnomah Falls. You can get a lot closer to the actual falls on this hike and it’s less crowded.

The other great thing about Wahkeena Falls Trail is that you’re hiking alongside a lot of waterfalls. There is always something pretty to look at for most of this hike.


Most of this hike is covered under trees and shade. It was about 10 degrees cooler than Portland but it felt really nice! 75 degrees is a good hiking temperature when you’re in the shade. I was wearing my new UnderArmor boy shorts underwear and it worked great! It wicked all the moisture and kept me cool. I also wore a wicking workout shirt. Another brilliant idea on my part. We stopped for protein bars and G2 half way up the steep hike.


The hike was quiet and lovely. But there were a few other people on the trail (it always baffles me how people can do such strenuous, rocky, steep hikes in flip flops!).


There were a lot of waterfalls along the creek. It was a nice hike up the mountain. Eventually the trail left the steep switchbacks and headed into the old growth forest.


The path was shaded and less rocky. The ground was softer too. The trail leveled out for about half a mile. Doesn’t Michael look great? He’s down 16 pounds from the Four Hour Body Diet! I am so proud of his hard work.

Then we got to an opening in the forest with a bunch of other paths and signs. I’ve done this hike once before by myself. The last time I continued on to Devil’s Rest Hike which is even steeper but it’s very desolate. Not many hikers were on the path that far out. The views are nice from the peak of Devil’s Rest. We planned on checking out either Larch Mountain or Devil’s Rest but it was getting late in the day so we decided to turn back after hiking 3 miles.


We stopped to rest for a few minutes. Then we had a decision to make: go back the way we came or take the Vista Point loop back to the Wahkeena Trail.


Vista Point Trail is how I went the last time I did the hike and it was an even steeper descent than the regular Wahkeena Trail. I opted to return the way we came.


The descent back down the trail was a HARD one! I know my quads will be screaming after that. It was a nice, cool hike down the trail. We were stopped a few times by different hikers asking how far it was to the top. Sadly, they weren’t happy when we told them there was no top and the trail never really ended! Some people chose to turn around, which is too bad because there are so many nice things to see further up the trail!


The hike was fantastic! The weather was perfect, our bodies held up (miraculous after biking 38 miles!) and I was glad we got to enjoy the nice weather on the holiday.

Hike Stats:
Time: 2:19
Calories Burned: 693
Distance: 6 miles


Dinner after the hike: grillin’ up bratwursts, zucchini, drinkin’ a beer and enjoying some ice cream. A great way to end a three day weekend if you ask me!

QUESTION: What’s the longest (or hardest) hike you’ve done?