5 Ways to Hike and Eat Your Way Through Portland

By: Emily Leff | emily.leff@activecities.com

IFC’s popular show Portlandia painted Portland, Oregon as a city that is quirky, colorful, and full of wacky characters obsessed with organic farming, local bookstores, and progressive politics. While Portlandia pokes fun at Portland’s reputation as America’s granola-hipster haven, in reality, Portland is an ideal destination for nature-lovers and foodies alike. The surrounding idyllic woods and mountains make getting back into nature for a weekend hike easy. Portland’s countless local eateries, known for their creativity and focus on farm-to-table ingredients, give you endless delicious options to beat that post-hike afternoon hunger. Here’s a list of hiking routes in the Portland area paired with local food attractions to help you plan your perfect Portland weekend. Hungry hikers, rejoice!

1. Trail of Ten Falls Loop Hike and Taqueria Los Laureles

If you’re going out with a big group with varying hiking experiences, the Trail of Ten Falls will provide a fun and scenic hike without being too strenuous for beginners. This trail is also known as a family-friendly hiking destination, making it a perfect weekend or summer activity for everyone to enjoy. After seeing the ten beautiful waterfalls on this trail, head over to Taqueria Los Laureles, a casual Mexican food joint on the highway back to Portland. Known for delicious homemade tortillas and other classics, in addition to its reasonable prices, Taqueria Los Laureles is the perfect way to finish your outing.

2. Tamanawas Falls Trail and Salt & Straw


Looking to get out on a hot day? Tamanawas Falls Trail, located on the eastern slope of the iconic Mount Hood, is perfect if you’re in need of a cool down, provided by the beautiful falls on Cold Spring Creek. If you’re still looking for a refreshing treat afterward, head back into the city to Salt & Straw, one of Portland’s most popular icecream destinations for the creative and daring. You can go for a more conventional Chocolate Gooey Brownie or bravely test unique flavors like Pear & Blue Cheese and Arbequina Olive Oil.  

3. Hoyt Arboretum and Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Want to immerse yourself in nature without leaving city limits? Hoyt Arboretum, located between the Sylvan-Highlands and Goose Hollow neighborhoods in Portland’s metropolitan area, covers 190 acres of living trees. Whether you take one of their guided walks or simply explore on your own, Hoyt Arboretum is both an educational and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Nong’s Khao Man Gai (the Southwest location) is a nearby local favorite, only 10 minutes away from the arboretum. Try their signature chicken & rice and support a fantastic, ethically-run small business.

4. Woods Park and Otto & Anita’s  



Woods Park Loop Hike, located in Southwest Portland, is a great option for a family-friendly hike. The clear pathways and visible trail markers make the romp through this native forest accessible for everyone. After enjoying the indigenous greenery and trees, Otto & Anita’s, one of Portland’s best-loved spots for traditional European grub, is only a six-minute drive away. This family-run establishment is known for their schnitzel and pickle soup–everything is made fresh daily by Otto and Anita themselves. Wunderbar!

5. Peninsula Crossing and Falafel House


For a slightly more intense hike with breathtaking riverside views, Peninsula Crossing Trail takes you along the Columbia Slough where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers merge. Abundant with wildlife (such as birds and beavers) and even art installations from Oregon’s One Percent for the Arts program, this hiking trail is truly representative of Portland’s unique character as a city with both plenty of nature and distinctive artistic flavor. For an inexpensive, quick, but delicious bite afterwards, hit up Falafel House, an all-vegetarian food truck located in Northern Portland (a five minute drive from the trailhead). Enjoy the homemade pita and shawarma fries that vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike have been raving about.

Both hiking and eating are activities that anyone can enjoy, and Portland is a unique spot with plenty of opportunities for both. So get out there, enjoy the outdoors, and chow down!