Essential Rainy Day Hikes around Portland

Don't let the wet stuff scare you. Explore raging waterfalls, ambling rivers, and lush forests with these close-to-home hikes.

By Gabriel Granillo and Michelle Harris

Wahclella Falls Trail 

There’s nothing like an Oregon adventure with a blue sky above your head and the sun at your back. Conversely, a solid hike in the rain is almost like a rite of passage for Oregonians. With the right gear, a little of the wet stuff shouldn’t deter you from the outdoors. In fact, some trails—dare we say—are even better in the rain. 

Tualatin Hills Nature Park 

Distance: 5 miles 

Elevation gain: 85 ft 

Difficulty: Easy 

Just a quick trip to Beaverton, Tualatin Hills Nature Park is located at the confluence of Beaver Creek and Cedar Mill Creek. The 222-acre park features five miles of trails, which includes paved, soft-surface, and boardwalk trails. The nature park and wildlife preserve is made up of wetlands, forest, and streams, and is home to a variety of insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals such as rough-skinned newts, great blue herons, and bull frogs. If you’re looking to stick to paved trails during rainy season, 1.5 miles of trail are paved, which includes the Oak Trail and sections of the Vine Maple Trail. The Tualatin Hills Nature Center is currently closed to the public. 

Newell Creek Canyon

Newell Creek Canyon 

Distance: 2.5 miles 

Elevation gain: 500 ft 

Difficulty: Easy 

One of Metro’s two new recently debuted nature parks, the trails at Newell Creek Canyon near Oregon City are fresh, fun, and fast (for hikers who don’t feel like spending a whole day out in the rain). On particularly rainy days, you’ll want to avoid the Canyon Spring Loop, a 1.5-mile trail with moderate elevation climbs and serious potential for mud pools—park rules actually advise against it. But for a true close-to-home surprise, take the short Tumble Falls Trail (mostly gravel/paved trails) to the aptly named falls and watch nature do its thing. (The falls should look especially fun during a seasonal downpour.) Continue down the Cedar Grove Trail for tranquil meandering with plenty of opportunities to spot nearby wildlife, such as the red-breasted sapsucker, pileated woodpeckers, beavers, red foxes, deer, and more. As spring comes, keep an eye out for blooming trilliums and fairy bells.  

Washougal River Greenway Trail

Washougal River Greenway Trail 

Distance: 2.2 miles 

Elevation gain: 70 ft  

Difficulty: Easy 

Located in Camas, Washington, this scenic out-and-back paved trail is great for a quick nature escape with bird watching year-round. Beginning at the parking area for Baz Riverfront Park, the trail crosses a wide boardwalk over reed canary grass and then crosses a picturesque footbridge over the Washougal River. On a clear day you can see Mount Hood peeking out. While crossing the bridge, there’s a good chance you’ll get a glimpse of some waterfowl. The trail then cuts through wetlands along a forested path. For a longer hike, there’s an option to do a loop by taking a left onto 3rd Avenue and crossing the road bridge over Washougal River. 

Wahclella Falls

Wahclella Falls 

Distance: 2.6 miles 

Elevation gain: 50 ft  

Difficulty: Easy 

This short waterfall trek in the Columbia Gorge has it all—lush, forested canyons and cascading waterfalls. The trail reopened in August 2019 after a two-year closure due to the Eagle Creek Fire, and while slightly altered, remains just as stunning. The out-and-back hike takes you along Tanner Creek on a flat path covered by cottonwoods, alders, and Douglas-firs before crossing a footbridge past Munro Falls. The big payoff, however, is the 350-foot, two-tier waterfall at the end of the trail. Surrounded by a towering basalt amphitheater, Wahclella Falls plunges into a pool below. Above Wahclella Falls is the semi-hidden East Fork Falls which can be visible from further back on the trail. The Northwest Forest Pass or a $5 day pass is required to park at the Wahclella Falls trailhead.  

A shrine at Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey trails

Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey Trails 

Distance: 4 miles 

Elevation gain: 800 ft

Difficulty: Easy 

The trails at Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey—about four miles in total, including the 3.5-mile Guadalupe Loop with several smaller trails in between—are maintained by the Trappist monks who reside at the Carlton monestary. The mostly-forested trails take you to a few amazing viewpoints overlooking the Willamette Valley and to a shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe (Mary, in the Catholic faith), where other hikers have left flowers, prayer beads, crosses, and other items of affection. Though the trails are relatively easy, bring your boots, as sections of the area can be muddy and slippery. There’s also a pond that welcomes you at the start of the trail, which is particularly peaceful during a gentle rain spell. 

Hood River Pipeline Trail 

Distance: 2.8 miles 

Elevation: 100 ft 

Difficulty: Easy 

For those looking to avoid muddy, slippery trails might find some solace at Hood River’s Pipeline Trail. While plenty of hikes along the Gorge bring you to raging waterfalls or pristine vistas, this easy 2.8-mile out-and-back trek is different, instead leading you to an old railroad track, steel pipelines and catwalks, and the ambling Hood River. Some users on All Trails warn against bringing your pups, as the steel catwalk can sometimes hurt their paws. Suffice to say, it’s not an average trail, but it’s easy and fun, and better than sloshing through mud—unless that’s your thing. 

South Falls at Silver Falls State Park

Trail of Ten Falls 

Distance: 7.2 miles 

Elevation: 800 ft 

Difficulty: Moderate 

The ever popular, ever beautiful Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park is even more of a stunner during and after some rainfall. Not only does the forested seven-mile loop trail provide some decent coverage, the falls should truly be churning—you’ll even hit a section that takes you behind the 177-foot South Falls. Along the way you’ll trek on top of paved and unpaved trails, which are definitely muddy after some rain, but all in all, it’s a relatively easy-peasy hike with tons of views. Don’t skip out on your water-proof gear, though. Parking at Silver Falls is $5 per vehicle, or free with a Northwest Forest pass.  

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