Winter Adventure Day Trips Just Outside Portland, Oregon.
Winter Adventure Day Trips Just Outside Portland, Oregon.

Many of us find it tough to spend time in the outdoors when the days are short and the weather is less than ideal. We decided to leave the comfort of our warm homes and do some exploring in our backyard, the beautiful State of Oregon. Here are a few of the quick trips we went on and this is only the tip of the iceberg for what the Northwest has to offer.

Hiking the Columbia River Gorge

Two hikers taking in the beautiful scenery of a snowy Wahclella waterfall in Oregon.

If you have ever driven east of Portland on I-84 then you’ve probably seen the numerous waterfalls that cover both sides of the Columbia Gorge. Some of them are right off the highway, but the best ones involve a bit of a hike. We decided to gear up and trek through the snow to pay a quick visit to Wahclella Falls. The snow was deeper than we anticipated so it made for a slower hike, but the winter scenery made it absolutely worthwhile.

Two hikers cross a snowy bridge in the Columbia gorge.

Wahclella is just one of many waterfalls scattered within an hour of Portland, Oregon. If you check out the US Forest Service’s website you’ll find all kinds of great information on other easily accessible waterfalls to explore along with other amazing hikes. The Columbia River Gorge is literally littered with beautiful wilderness to explore.

Skiing/Snowboarding Mt. Hood

Walking up to the entrance of Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort.

As far as winter destinations in Oregon are concerned, Mt. Hood is one of the most popular (and for good reason!). With four different resorts to choose from – including ample night skiing – there is plenty of snow to keep everyone happy. So much snow, in fact, that it is one of the few places in the country to offer nearly year-round skiing/snowboarding.

Two snowboarders navigate their way through the trees up at Mt. Hood Meadows.

Each resort on Mt. Hood offers its own flavor of terrain, but the most avid skiers and snowboarders choose to spend their time at Mt. Hood Meadows. Boasting eleven lifts, six high-speed quads, and over 2,150 acres of terrain, you can see why this destination is a snow-lover’s mecca. Weekends tend to get crowded though, so if you can take a weekday to make the trip, it’s definitely worth it.

Camping Along the Sandy River

Setting up camp at Ox Bow State Park along the Sandy river.

Winter camping in the Pacific Northwest? Really? Yes, really. Despite the drizzly rain here in the upper lefthand corner of Oregon, it rarely drops below zero so going out for a weekend camping excursion is not a major undertaking. With proper camping gear and outdoor apparel you’ll be far more comfortable in your campsite than you thought you’d be.

Roasting marshmallows over an open fire at Oxbow State Park.

Going to a location such as Oxbow State Park is perfect for those just looking for a one night getaway. With plenty of drive-up campsites equipped with fire pits and tables you’ll be able to make yourself right at home. Since Oxbow is also in close proximity to the city you can always run back into town incase you forget your s’mores supplies. Pro-tip: pick up your firewood at a local store so you don’t have to deal with starting up a fire with soggy wood.

Fishing in Central Oregon

Oregon public lands sign along the Deschutes river.

Depending on the time of year and what kind of fishing you do there are plenty of places you can go out and cast a line. The winter Steelhead run is pretty well known around the Northwest and anglers come from miles around to try and catch what have been known as “the ultimate game fish."

An angler casts a line out on the Deschutes river.

If you check out the Department of Fish & Wildlife‘s website you’ll find plenty of useful information on where to go in order to make the most of your winter outings. While this website does give some helpful tips on what rivers to fish and when, the best spots will be kept hush-hush by the experts. Make sure to get the necessary license and tags required for fishing and have fun. Interested in learning more about fishing during the winter months? Check out our previous post on how to make the most of cold-weather fishing excursions.

Two hikers taking in the view of a foggy Sandy river in Oregon.

Whether you’re visiting or a permanent resident, you’re bound to find something or someplace to make the dreary winter months go by faster. With such a variety of terrain, you won’t have to travel far. With a little preparation and a desire for adventure, you’re sure to find yourself falling in love with Oregon. Now get out there and go have yourself a winter adventure!