Mount St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Columbia River Gorge, waterfalls, the Oregon Coast and Oregon Outdoor Activities
Outdoor enthusiasts will love Portland and its surrounding areas.
Within two hours of the city, one can see Mount St. Helens, visit Mt. Hood, windsurf in the Columbia River Gorge or go to the spectacular Oregon coast. Hiking, fishing, camping, year-round snow skiing and river rafting are all available here. And they call Louisiana the Sportsman’s Paradise!
Such activities are not necessary to enjoy the trip. It’s a spectacular day drive around “The Loop,” which goes from Mt. Hood and the Gorge (see directions at right). One can enjoy beer at the Mt. Hood Brew Pub in Government Camp or at the Timberline Lodge where the movie “The Shining” was filmed.
From there, head to the Gorge and take a break at the Full Sail Brewing Company, home of one of Portland’s finest beer companies. There are daily tours and a tasting room that sells pints at the tempting price of $2.50. Careful, though, or it will turn into one of those “gee where did the time go” stops.
On the way back to Portland, detour off Interstate 84 to the Scenic Highway to see spectacular waterfalls. At 725 feet, Multnomah Falls is one of the world’s tallest.
That is all if one wants to leave town. One of the most enjoyable ways to spent time in Portland is to browse through Powell’s Books(Burnside and 10th). This is the nation’s premier local book store, with floor after floor of mostly used books on every subject imaginable. The wood floors creek, the knowledgeable staff can help find obscure titles and there is a cafe to enjoy reading the many great discoveries located within its walls.
With Nike just down the road, running is big here, too. A running trail runs riverside and over the bridges in the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Forest Park is the largest forested municipal park located completely within city limits in the U.S., and while that’s a mouthful, it is 7.5 miles long and is a favorite after-work spot. Both places make for a scenic and invigorating way to work off all that good beer from the night before (and the night to come).
Bicycling is another favorite pastime, through town, in the running areas or surrounding mountains.
For those who like to watch their sporting activities, the Portland Trail Blazers (224-4400) are historically one of the National Basketball Association’s top teams. They play in the Moda Center (formerly known as the Rose Center), just across the river from downtown.
Aside from the Trial Blazers, the biggest sporting team in town is the wildly popular Portland Timbers MLS soccer team (553-5500). They play a nearly year-round schedule in Providence Park (1844 SW Morrison St). Tickets prices range from $10-99.
There is no longer the minor league Portland Beavers baseball team.
The Oregon Zoo (4001 SW Canyon Road, 226-1561, also accessible via MAX to the Washington Park station) features the usual assortment of captive animals. If this environment gets you in the mood to do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel, the time to go is during one of the summer evening concerts. The zoo hosts free shows of fairly big-name bands and sometimes it’s not the zoo’s residents who are the real animals.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI (1945 SE Water Ave., 797-4000) has a five-story Omnimax theater, interactive displays and the Watershed Lab where visitors can build their own river. Plus, it’s located just down the street from the Produce Row pub, a good place to enjoy a cold brew to reflect on what you just learned.