PORTLAND (Multnomah County)
Our first big weekend, we took a couple days off work and explored the Portland area. We wanted to spend a little time in the city and make sure we see all the waterfalls and green that we didn’t see so much in California. We stayed in an Airbnb that was an RV parked in a guys backyard. The bed was very uncomfortable and I probably wouldn’t recommend it for more than one person. As you can see in the itinerary, I made a huge list of restaurants (no, we did not go to all of them), and other plans to make sure we would have enough to do.
The first night, upon our arrival we were pretty tired and just grabbed some food from WinCo for dinner and went to bed.
DAY 1 04.27.17
The plans were to include many waterfalls down I-84 and along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Before heading that way, we had breakfast at the Gateway Breakfast House and not just because Obama was there. After heading out toward the Columbia River, my first thought was that the whole place could be a national park. The plans for the day were to see:
Bridal Veil Falls
Shepperd’s Dell Falls
Wahkeena Falls & Fairy Falls
Dinner @ Pok Pok
Beer/Live Music @ The Kennedy School
Bridal Veil Falls was our first stop. It’s a short hike [.6 mi RT]. There is a nice spot for viewing the waterfall at the end. I actually enjoyed a spot to the left where the trail splits where you can watch the river flow with the bridge in the background. You can also kind of see the waterfall in the background. It’s a very “Oregon area.”
Bridal Veil Falls
Latourell Falls is awesome. We had some pretty good luck overall with the weather, considering we came here during the Spring, however, we got rained on both times we came to Latourell Falls. This one was one of my favorites in the area and I would definitely recommend stopping here. It’s another very short walk to view this one.
Shepperd’s Dell Falls is another short walk (there seems to be a trend here). The parking area isn’t as obvious for this one, however, if you’re headed East, you can pull off right after the bridge. You can walk down the short trail that starts on the East side of the bridge (we almost missed this one). It’s no more amazing than any of the others but it’s very easy to access if you know where you’re going. (Not pictured)
Wahkneena Falls and Fairy Falls are grouped together because they are accessed from the same starting point. Wahkeena Falls is first and is said to be a 1.4 mi RT hike, however, I would definitely recommend continuing to see Fairy Falls. I’ve ready that continuing to Fairy Falls is 2 mi RT but it felt like a lot more than .3 mi farther from Wahkeena. Whether that’s true or not, it’s a very scenic and awesome hike and is the first one on the list so far that’s more than a “short walk” to access. Wahkneena is definitely a more impressive flow but Fairy Falls is more unique and picturesque.
Multnomah Falls is easily the most famous on the list. It’s also probably not a great idea to save this one for last, as it is likely to be the busiest of the bunch and going early would probably help you to beat the crowds. We stuck with the original plan and had no trouble finding parking, but don’t forget; we went on a cool, rainy day (which I suppose is most here in the Portland area!). It was definitely the busiest of all. Another time that we drove by, I did see signs that the parking was full. There is a buss that will take you directly to Multnomah Falls from Portland for only $5 RT (as of July 2017). Click here for more on the shuttle info.
Horesetail Falls was last on our list for the day because it is the farthest East. It’s a pretty easy hike, however, is a 2.6 mi RT. It’s been a long day and you’ve seen a lot of waterfalls already. If you have it in you to do one last hike before heading to dinner at Pok Pok, here is what you will see.
DAY 2 04.28.17
If the day 1 plans weren’t enough for you, most of the day 2 plans continue along the Columbia River Highway, so keep going! For us, we called it a night and continued our journey along this road the next day for some more waterfalls. The plans were as follows:
Upper McCord Creek Falls
Punch Bowl Falls
Dinner @ Deschutes Brewery
Ice Cream @ Ruby Jewel
Live music @ Al’s Den
Unfortunately for us, many of these were closed due to slides on the trails. We were able to hike to Upper McCord Creek Falls, which I will discuss below. Elowah Falls access is from the same trail, however, that one was closed due to the slides. Metlako Falls was closed in January 2017 due to a collapse at the overlook (as far as I know it’s still closed as of July 2017). I can’t exactly remember why we didn’t get to Punch Bowl Falls. I know it is close to Metlako, so we may have decided not to head that way since we couldn’t access both. Munra Point was skipped as well. We had read that it is a very dangerous hike from hikers falling off summit ridges. Due to the current wet weather conditions with a lot of unstable ground due to the moisture, we made a call to avoid this as well.
Upper McCord Creek Falls, however, was great! It’s a 2.2 mi hike with a couple cool spots to view the falls from above. As far as I know, there is no access from below. Just a nice view from the top!
* I’m going to list some other waterfalls in the area that I did not research and don’t really know much about at this point.
1. Starvation Creek Falls
2. Wiesendanger Falls
3. Triple Falls
4. Tunnel Falls
5. Twister Falls
6. Ruckel Creek Falls
7. Dry Creek Falls
Upper McCord Creek Falls
Deschutes Brewing was kind of a must. The only thing I had heard about it is that it’s the best beer in existence. I am not beer aficionado but I was definitely happy with the experience. The beer was really good. I ordered a burger and it was no slouch. If you come to Portland, you’ve got to put Deschutes Brewing on your list for a beer and dinner (or lunch).
Ruby Jewel had some solid ice cream. Not much more to say than it was awesome. I love ice cream.
Al’s. We didn’t stay too long but stopped in for some live music before heading back to our Airbnb to relax before our next day! The vibe was very chill and there was no cover (at least the night we were there).
DAY 3 04.29.2017
Pearl Bakery was recommended to us as having the best Chai Latte in Portland so we tried it before breakfast and it sure was good. Then we headed over to Pine State Biscuits for breakfast which I thought absolutely lived up to the hype. It was one of my favorite recent breakfasts and I want it again now. We thought we may want a break from waterfalls so that’s exactly what we did. Here were the plans!
Breakfast @ Pine State Biscuits
Chai @ Pearl Bakery
Japanese Garden & Washington Park
Hike: Lower Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion
Dinner @ Laurelwood Brewery
Pine State Biscuits is now one of my favorite breakfast places of all time. The reviews are great online and I had heard from one person that I know that it was overrated. I completely disagreed. It was fantastic! I had no idea what to order and with help from the lady at the counter, I went with the Reggie Deluxe. Great decision.
The Reggie Deluxe
Leslie Eating Breakfast
Pearl Bakery was awesome. If we hadn’t just eaten breakfast at Pine State Biscuits, we would have totally ordered some of their amazingly delicious smelling and looking homemade breads. Seriously, it looked and smelled incredible. Les went with the Matcha Latte and I went with some coffee latte beverage. Both were spectacular.
Japanese Garden & Washington Park. We did not plan well for this. I didn’t realize there’s a $15 fee per person to get into the Japanese Garden, nor how difficult it would be to get parking. That was my mistake (and now won’t be yours!). After circling the lot a few times, we decided to just go to a different part of Washington Park and walk around. It was a nice place to walk around and there were many different types of trees that the trails were names after.
The Hike to Pittock Mansion was great. It felt like a completely different kind of hike after the rest of the weekend was filled with hikes leading to waterfalls. We started at Lower Macleay Park and took the Wildwood Trail. It’s a 5 mile RT and the end is a pretty decent incline. We saw a lot of runners on the trail (and mosquitoes too). It was a very peaceful trail (other than the mosquitoes) and the Pittock Mansion was pretty cool.
Laurelwood Brewing was better than expected. For some reason, I didn’t have high expectations (they weren’t low either, just kind of neutral). Maybe it was because I had never heard of it. Google reviews were pretty good and since we were staying on the East side of Portland, it was pretty close by and it was indeed, pretty good. The beer was good and the food was good. Cool atmosphere. Lots of TV’s for sports. And the service was nice! I wouldn’t say it was anything special, but definitely did not disappoint.
It was a pretty nice trip altogether. I planned it on a weekend we had 2 days off from work so we had a 4 day weekend. We definitely could have done this trip in 3 days and if I had realized how much trouble we would have had on Day 2, I would have planned it a little differently. I know in this itinerary, I only put 3 days and not 4, but this condensed list is better unless you add some of the waterfalls that we did not explore to your itinerary.
LET ME KNOW ABOUT YOUR PORTLAND TRAVEL EXPERIENCE OR YOUR UPCOMING TRIP TO PORTLAND!