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Hiking and Camping

a bridge at multnomah falls near portland oregon

  Portland Area Hiking Clubs

  • The Mazamas, founded in 1894 on the summit of Mt. Hood, is a nonprofit mountaineering education organization located in Portland, Oregon. Mazamas offers over 700 hikes and 350 climbs annually. A variety of classes and activities are offered for every skill and fitness level and are open to both members and non-members.
  • Trails Club of Oregon sponsors year-round hiking and many other recreational activities for a variety of performance levels. Many events are hosted at their two lodges – Nesika in the Columbia River Gorge and Tyee on Mt. Hood. Guests are welcome on all scheduled club activities.
  • The Chemeketans was founded in 1928 and has about 700 members based in Salem, Oregon who share a common interest in outdoor activities. The Chemeketans’ primary activity is day hiking, but they also schedule cross-country ski trips, snowshoe outings, bicycle trips, canoe trips, backpacks, mountain climbs, picture nights, and other events such as museum trips and car camps. They also help build and maintain trails.
  • The Portland Outdoor Adventurers Club is for adults that love the great outdoors and all the things that you can do out there. The Club is a social outdoor club.

Other Portland Area Hiking Resources

  • Friends of the Columbia Gorge leads over sixty Gorge hikes each year, all open to the public. Friends’ Spring Hiking Season runs from March-June, and the Fall Hiking Season from Sept.-Oct. Destinations range from tried-and-true trails to hidden gems, including hikes and tours on Friends’ Land Trust properties, some not yet open for public use.
  • PortlandHikers.org – Online forum and trail resource.

Campgrounds Near Portland

  • Oregon State Park Campgrounds – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages Oregon’s excellent state campground system. Most state campgrounds have running water, hot showers, flush toilets, and are located at some of the most popular destinations in the state. If that isn’t comfortable enough, some parks have cabins, yurts or tepees, and all have spaces with electrical hookups for recreational vehicles. Reservations are taken months in advance, so book early if you want to visit at a popular time.
  • U.S. Forest Service Campgrounds, Pacific Northwest Region – Oregon and Washington have nineteen national forests and one national grassland between them (six in Washington, fourteen in Oregon), plus several national recreation areas and national scenic areas. All are within a day’s drive of Portland, and half are within three hours. Generally a little more primitive than the state parks, Forest Service campgrounds usually feature running water and pit toilets, and some have RV hookups. With half the state designated as national forest, there are hundreds of them, so there is always room at the destination you seek or very close nearby. Great for last minute weekend trips to a lake. Added bonus: The campgrounds in several national forests are managed by Hoodoo Recreation Services, the same folks that manage the Hoodoo Ski area (now there’s a great off-season job). Our personal experience has been that these campgrounds rival state park campgrounds in many respects. Check them out.
  • Oregon Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds – We have no experience with RV camping, but here is a link to help those who do.

National Parks, Recreation Areas & Historic Sites in Oregon

  • Crater Lake National Park features incredible scenery, severe weather, and the deepest lake in the United States.
  • Fort Clatsop National Memorial – After the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the Pacific Ocean, they camped here on Oregon’s coastline in the winter of 1805-06.
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument – The John Day River valley features a well-preserved fossil record of plants and animals, spanning more than 40 of the 65 million years of the Age of Mammals.
  • Lewis & Clark National Historical Park preserves sites in Oregon and Washington associated with the arrival and 1805-1806 winter encampment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the lower Columbia River area following its successful crossing of the North American Continent. Incorporates Fort Clatsop National Memorial.
  • Oregon Caves National Monument features an active marble cave with intricate flowstone formations and a remnant old-growth coniferous forest.

National Parks, Recreation Areas & Historic Sites in Washington

  • Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve preserves and protects the historical record of Puget Sound exploration and settlement from the 19th century to the present.
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site – From 1825 to 1849, it was the western headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trading operations and a cultural and commercial center in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park commemorates the important role that Seattle played as the staging area for the Yukon Territory gold rush of the 1890s.
  • Lake Chelan National Recreation Area – Here the beautiful Stehekin Valley, with a portion of fjordlike Lake Chelan, adjoins North Cascades National Park.
  • Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area – Formed by Grand Coulee Dam, the 130-mile long Roosevelt Lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking and guided tours.
  • Mount Rainier National Park features the greatest single-peak glacial system in the U.S. The park contains vast expanses of pristine old-growth forests and subalpine flower meadows.
  • North Cascades National Park is a wild alpine region featuring high mountain peaks, waterfalls, and more than 300 glaciers.
  • Olympic National Park – Pristine wilderness park includes glacier capped mountains, over 60 miles of scenic ocean shore, and stands of old-growth and temperate rain forest.
  • Ross Lake National Recreation Area offers outdoor recreation opportunities along the upper reaches of the Skagit River, between the north and south units of North Cascades NP.
  • San Juan Island National Historical Park marks events on the island from 1853-1872 in connection with final settlement of the Oregon Territory’s boundary, including the so-called Pig War of 1859.
  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site commemorates the mission of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman at Waiilatpu, an important way station in the early days of the Oregon Trail.