Let’s face it…
Hiking pre-kids and post-kids is not the same experience. Still fun, but definitely not the same.
I remember before I had my daughter my husband and I could crush a 7 or 8 mile hike no problem.
Now, unless we are prepared to carry a 4 year old the majority of the way, it ain’t happening.
That’s why I have done all the leg-work (get it? bad mom joke) for you and selected my 5 favorite hikes that are within an hour and a half from Portland, and doable with younger kids
Wahclella Falls is definitely one of the more gorgeous waterfalls in the Columbia George in my opinion. The hike is only 2.4 miles round trip (in and back). The terrain can get a bit rocky in some points but for the most part it’s fairly level and allows for the kids to walk on their own. The waterfall is super impressive and there are several cool spots where you can snap a photo or take a break and enjoy the view. Parking can be tricky so I always recommend going early.
Latourell Falls Loop Hike:
Latourell Falls is one of the most photogenic waterfalls, boasting a 225 foot drop. If you’re not up for a hike but just want to check out the falls, there are two great vantage points within minutes from where you park, and it is stroller friendly too! The loop hike is only 2.4 miles and is a great one for the kids. There is a smaller waterfall about halfway before you head back down the hill. I actually love doing this hike in the Fall as it tends to be less busy and then the waterfall is that much more impressive.
Silver Falls State Park
If you want the best bang for your buck so to speak, Silver Falls is the place to go. Offering 10 waterfalls throughout the whole park, you have so many options to choose from and can make the hike as long or as short as you wish. The two most impressive are the South Falls & the North Falls, both of which actually allowing you to walk behind the waterfall. Super cool! These two are both a short distance away from their own parking areas, and not too far of a hike for the kiddos. There is also a cute little gift shop on the property which has lots of fun little trinkets to look at, and there are some parts of the park that are stroller friendly.
Falls Creek Falls
A little bit further into SW Washington is one of my favorite Falls, aptly named Falls Creek Falls. Whenever I go here I feel like I am in a Jurassic Park movie – it’s that cool. The drive is a little trickier as you get pretty deep into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, but it’s definitely worth it. The whole loop hike is over 6 miles, but just up the falls and back is only around 3 miles.
Pool of the Winds
Pool of the Winds: Near Beacon rock, and starting at the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead, this is one of our favorite hikes to do as a family. It offers two waterfalls – one on the way up, with the final being the “Pool of Winds” where there is a cavernous waterfall that is truly magical. Just around 3 miles up and back, it’s totally doable with younger kids, but also will still get you a good workout. If you want more of a challenge you can hike all the way up to Hamilton Mountain, which offers some beautiful views of the Columbia Gorge from the Washington side.