An outdoor lover’s guide to Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Portland, Oregon, photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Portland, Oregon, stop No. 7 of GrindTV’s urban road trip series, which tells you how to get outside when you’re in an urban area, is known more for its eating and drinking and hipsterizing than for its outdoor pursuits. But the apathetic tattooed folks who have better taste in music than you are missing out on a wealth of dense forests, craggy cliffs, and winding trails and roads. Here’s our guide to getting outside in the City of Roses.

Mount Hood, as seen from Portland, courtesy of Shutterstock
Mount Hood, as seen from Portland, courtesy of Shutterstock

Ski: On a clear day, you can see Mount Hood from the city. The mountain and its surrounding ski areas—Timberline, Mount Hood Meadows, and Mount Hood Ski Bowl—are an easy drive away. Meadows has night skiing, so you can head up after work and take laps. And, if you wan to be on snow in the offseason, Hood goes off pretty much all year, too. You can ski on the Palmer Snowfield at Timberline through a lot of the summer.

Run: There’s a deep running culture in Portland and the surrounding areas (perhaps you’ve heard of a little shoe company called Nike, which sponsors several professional running teams in the Northwest?). And this culture runs through both Portland’s road and trail running communities. There are a ton of big road races and events to participate in, such as the highly popular Portland Marathon, but Portland is also known for its many parks, which have miles of runnable trails. You can run 80 miles of trails in Forest Park alone.

Bike commuting Portland. Photo: CJ Martin Flickr
Bike commuting Portland; photo by CJ Martin/Flickr

Bike: Portland’s infrastructure is geared toward bikers, so there are wide bike lanes and plenty of bicycle parking. And a lot of bike companies, from high-end road bikes like Chris King to classy commuters like Vanilla, are based there. Whatever slice of biking you’re in to, from cyclocross to bike polo, you can probably find like-minded riders in Portland, but there’s particularly good road riding in the area. You can ride east along the Columbia River, or climb the West Hills.

Smith Rock State Park outside Portland; photo by Travis Burke
Smith Rock State Park outside Portland; photo by Travis Burke

Climb: There’s good cragging relatively close to town. Rocky Butte, in Northeast, is an easy after-work project, and Broughton Bluff, on the east side of town, has a lot of high-quality classic routes, ranging from 5.8 trad routes to 5.12 sport climbs, like technical, tricky Dracula, and Bela Lugosi. About three hours away, world-famous Smith Rock State Park, which has some of the best sport climbing in the country, and it makes for a worthy weekend trip.

Surfers tackle a secret break along the Oregon coast; photo by Travis Burke
Surfers tackle a secret break along the Oregon coast; photo by Travis Burke

Surf: If your cold temperature tolerance is good, the Oregon coast is prime turf for surfing, a mix of point breaks, reefs, and beach breaks. Short Sand and Oceanside can be good places to start out. Northwest swells come down from the Gulf of Alaska, and they’re best in the winter. The waves can get big, and so can the sharks.

More city guides on GrindTV

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An outdoor lover’s guide to Washington, D.C.

An outdoor lover’s guide to New York

An outdoor lover’s guide to Boston

An outdoor lover’s guide to Denver

An outdoor lover’s guide to Seattle

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