One of the best things about living in Portland is the beautiful backdrop of nature that acts as an expansive, communal backyard. There are exquisite hikes to be enjoyed around every corner of the city; here we highlight six kid-friendly trails that will keep the whole family entertained while trekking about in Portland’s great outdoors.

photo courtesy of Paul Schultz on Flickr

Tryon Creek State Park
The moss-covered towering trees and lush flora and fauna at Tryon Creek make strolling along the easy walking trails an enchanting escape and favorite outing among the pint-sized set. In addition to endless nature discoveries, from seeing sprouting mushrooms to detecting bird calls, kids will revel in views of a waterfall and stream, and enjoy playing at the quaint playground at Marshall Park, which is located just beside one of the many trails.

Salmon River
Don’t think we forgot about the little ones. For those families hiking with toddlers, the trails along the Salmon River are perfect for exploring the outdoors without much strain. The trail is relatively flat the whole way and stays close to the river. Here, salmon migrate the the sea upstream, so if you go during peak season, be on the lookout. The first two miles of the trail are the easiest, so the younger set may not want to hike much further.

Powell Butte Nature Park
Comprised of 608 acres of forest and meadowlands, Powell Butte, an extinct cinder cone volcano, is now home to an array of animals–from birds of prey to deer, coyotes and foxes. Miles of paved, easy to navigate trails accommodate hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. It’s a great place to watch the sunset with the whole family.

photo courtesy of Michael Newton on Flickr

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
If you’re looking for an impromptu hike without having to drive miles out of town, this 140-acre natural flood plain wetland is located just a few minutes from the bustling town of Sellwood — but hiking here makes you feel like you’re deep in nature. A bird-watcher’s dream, you may even spot a bald eagle on your journey. If kids still need to expend some energy after this hike, take them to nearby Sellwood Park to enjoy an awesome playground adventure.

Washington Park
Great for hiking with the younger set, Washington Park is full of short trails that your kids can explore in almost every direction. Make your way towards the Hoyt Arboretum for some of the more scenic hiking spots. The trails are named after the trees you’ll find scattered along each path, and are typically in full bloom come spring and summer. Once you’ve had your fill of hiking, there’s still a bunch of other kid-friendly activities in Washington Park: the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the Children’s Museum, and the World Forestry Center.

Tualatin Hills Nature Park
Featuring 1.5 miles of paved trails, and 3.5 miles of soft-surface trails, this 222-acre wildlife preserve is conveniently situated in Beaverton. Kids will love the park’s free guided nature hikes and ranger programs, which will enable them to explore local ecosystems and connect with their environment. Relax on one of the benches that pepper the paths and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet with your little ones.

Does your family love to tackle the outdoors? Leave us a comment below sharing your favorite spots to take the kids hiking.

— Beth Shea