Spring Break Day Trips Close to Home


The author of "Best Outdoor Adventures Near Portland, Oregon", Adam Sawyer talked to Kara Mack about fun spots near Portland that will be fun to visit over Spring Break!

4T Trail

The T’s of the 4T Trail stand for Trail, Tram, Trolley (Portland Streetcar), and Train (MAX). When combined, these T’s create an approximately nine-mile loop and a quintessential Portland experience. The 4T highlights urban parks and trails, stunning views of volcanoes and cityscapes, a tram ride, and our legendary public transportation.

The 4T website provides maps and all the directions you could hope for. However, the signage along the route is pretty good, and you might only need to occasionally glance at a map to track progress. There are four different trailheads, one for each T of the trip: Where tram meets trolley at the South Waterfront, where tram meets trail at OHSU, where trail meets train at the Oregon Zoo, and where train meets trolley at the downtown library. This is great because you can tailor your adventure accordingly. Depending on what time of day you set off, you may want to begin and end downtown for lunch or happy hour.

Beacon Rock

Beacon Rock is the 848 foot high monolith that sits on the banks of the Columbia River in Bonneville, Washington. Once a volcano, the Missoula Floods washed away the exterior of Beacon Rock, leaving only an eroded lava plug. Referred to as Che-che-op-tin (the navel of the world) by Native Americans, the rock was re-named by Lewis and Clark in 1805 (Beaten Rock), and purchased by Henry Biddle in 1915. Along with his donkeys, a sure-footed Biddle constructed a unique trail to the summit.

Consisting of dizzying hand railed bridges, ledges, and switchbacks; the trail was completed in 1918. Though segments have been replaced or repaired over the years, Henry Biddle's trail to the top of Beacon Rock remains to this day: and what a trial it is. The real fun starts once you pass a metal gate used to close the trail when conditions are too icy, and head up onto the rock itself. What ensues looks much like a madman’s jungle gym. Wooden platforms, metal railings, chiseled basalt and molded concrete all combine to create this one of a kind trail. The 1 mile, 600-foot elevation gain trip to the top of Beacon Rock provides the family with an opportunity to hike along a path that is both an amazing feat of trail engineering, and a piece of Gorge history.

Skamania Lodge Aerial Park

Some of the elements include bridges, tight-wire walks, cargo net, canoe, cable ladders and a “junkyard”.

? The Park consists of 19 platforms and 22 elements of varying degree in difficulty to test your abilities.

? The Park is laid out with one central access point and 3 loops to be navigated from that starting platform.

? Guests will lead themselves through the aerial park on their own and at their own pace.

? Park Monitors will move throughout the course to assist as needed and help in any way necessary.

Astoria Column

Built in 1926, the 125-foot-tall column stands atop Coxcomb Hill and includes an interior spiral staircase that leads to an observation deck at the top. Designed to resemble the Roman Trajan's Column, the spiral sgraffito frieze on the exterior of the structure is almost seven feet wide, and 525-feet long. Painted by Electus D. Litchfield and Attilio Pusterla, the mural shows 14 significant events in the early history of Oregon with a focus on Astoria's role including Captain Gray's discovery of the Columbia River in 1792 and the Lewis & Clark Expedition.