While Southeast Portland isn’t known for its hiking (especially compared to the rest of the Pacific Northwest), there are a few spots that will surprisingly delight you.
If you don’t have time to take a 45+ minute drive out of the city to more legit hiking trails, here’s a few parks with hiking trails to check out in Southeast Portland.
Best for: Climbing and altitude gain, with views of the city.
This park ranks up there with one of the best parks in Portland, including a Top 10 view of Downtown Portland to the west and Mt. Hood to the east.
The main entrance to the park is near SE 60th Ave and Salmon Street. There’s plenty free parking whether you want to park at the base and hike up or drive up closer to the top.
The hikes up the mountain aren’t too strenuous. Elevation gain is only about 400 feet above the surrounding areas. The top of the mountain features a ring road with benches to take in views of the city or plenty of grass to pack a picnic.
Mt. Tabor is also home to several open-air water reservoirs, providing some diversity to the scenery you’ll find.
It’s also a prime spot to watch the 4th of July fireworks from (although the more interesting show may be the people that set off their own displays from the park).
A fun fact: Mt. Tabor is actually a dormant volcano.
Best for: A long, flat, and paved walk.
This trail is perfect if you prefer a flat, paved surface you can walk for miles and miles. The trail itself is about 20 miles long, with the end going all the way into Boring, Oregon. But many miles of this trail are in SE Portland, with a few spots that take you off the pavement and onto gravel.
The trail stays along the Willamette River for some of the way. You’ll stroll by Oaks Park and other areas where you can literally touch the water if you’d like.
Other parts of the trail take you through more wooded areas before spilling out into residential blocks.
The portion of the trail in SE Portland has minimal crossings over the street, making it a relaxing walk if you want to get away from cars for a bit.
The best place to access the park is by SE Milwaukie Ave and Bybee Blvd. You’ll find a small parking lot at SE Milwaukie near SE Mitchell Street. There’s also an easy spot to access the trail near SE Spokane Street near 5th Ave.
Best for: Shorter, relaxing walks close to downtown.
Laruelhurst is one of the most beautiful parks around. It’s relatively flat with a few dipsey-doos here and there.
The park encompasses a few city city blocks, giving you enough space to wander around amongst the trees, grass, and pond. It’s a very dog-friendly park as it also includes an off-leash area where there are always dogs around.
Laurelhurst Park can get crowded in the summer when Portland’s weather is at its finest, but there’s usually enough space on the well-cared-for grass in park.
Laurelhurst is located where a lot of the action in on the east side of Portland, with the park situated just south of E Burnside Street between SE 33rd and 39th Streets. It’s a short walk over to many of the popular bars and restaurants on SE Belmont, SE Hawthorne, or E Burnside streets.