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5 Dog Friendly Wildflower Hikes Near Portland

I never used to be much of one for spring.

It’s not that I don’t like to welcome the warmer weather, I think it’s more that it feels like it takes a long time to arrive. The thought of spring makes one think about warm weather and sunshine, but that’s not really the case in the Northwest. However, all that rain brings on spectacular wildflower blooms throughout the region, making all that wet weather completely worth it.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great dog friendly wildflower hikes near Portland. All of the ones listed below are well within a day trip from downtown. If you’re in need of some sunshine, pick a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, otherwise, cross your fingers for a nice day. These five hikes are in both Washington and Oregon and feature some of the best wildflower displays you can find.

Catherine Creek blooms in a colorful array of wildflowers each spring, making a favorite dog-friendly hike in the Columbia River Gorge.

Catherine Creek

When we’re in need of sunshine and want to catch some of the first blooming wildflowers, Catherine Creek is our go to. Since it’s just beyond the popular Coyote Wall and Tom McCall Point, Catherine Creek tends to see fewer crowds. This short jaunt is bursting with wildflowers in the springtime.

We love to plan for a sunset hike and catch the alpenglow on Mount Hood from the top. Bring a picnic dinner or imbibe at one of the nearby breweries like, Everybody’s Brewing in nearby White Salmon or Solstice or pFriem in Hood River. Note that this part of the Gorge is well known for ticks, so bring a tick remover and do a thorough check after hiking on both you and your dog.

Distance: 2.9 mi loop
Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Best Time to Visit for Wildflowers: mid-March to late April
Parking pass: Not required

The coastal view from the top of Mt. Neakahnie.

Mt. Neahkahnie

One of my favorite hikes, Mt. Neahahnie gives mountains and coast all in one excursion. Neahkahnie translates to “Place of Supreme Deity” from the Tillamook Native Americans. You can opt to take a number of different hikes from lollipop loops to out and backs ranging from four to eight miles. The beginning of the trail is covered in colorful wildflowers that eventually give way to the serpentine Sitka spruce forest leading to sweeping views of the coast below.

This can easily be done as a day trip from Portland, or if you’d like to stay in the area overnight, we love staying in Manzanita, which has heaps of pet-friendly lodging options.

Staying in Portland? Check out some of our favorite dog friendly places to stay.

Distance: 4 – 8 miles various
Elevation Gain: 460 to 1,631 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Best Time to Visit for Wildflowers: mid-March to early-May
Parking Pass: Not required

Trillium blooming on the trails in Forest Park in Portland announce the arrival of spring.

Forest Park

Portland’s emerald gem isn’t generally where one might think of when the topic of wildflowers comes up, however, Forest Park serves as my indicator for the arrival of spring. Early bloomers like Indian Plum, Red Flowering Currant, and Trillium let me know that spring has arrived. Just about every trail of the 70 miles that comprise Forest Park come to life with some sort of early spring bloom.

Distance: Any distance you want
Elevation Gain: Various
Difficulty: Easy to challenging
Best Time to Visit for Wildflowers: mid-March to early-May
Parking Pass: Not required

Forest Park made our list of 99 dog-friendly things to do in Portland. Wanna see the rest? Read this.

Silver Star Mountain is a great dog friendly wildflower hike near Portland, Oregon.

Silver Star Mountain

On a clear day, you can spot Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. St. Helens, and possibly even the Pacific Ocean from the 4,300-foot summit of Silver Star Mountain. This is one of the best hikes in Southwestern Washington to go see wildflowers and the gnarly road to the trail deters the crowds. That said, be sure that you have a high clearance vehicle, otherwise plan on adding a few more miles to your adventure.

Distance: 4 to 4.7 miles depending on the route
Elevation Gain: 1,000 to 1,446 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Best Time to Visit for Wildflowers: April – June
Parking Pass: Not required

Gretel enjoys the sunshine and a break on Dog Mountain, a classic wildflower hike near Portland.
Photo courtesy of You Did What with Your Wiener.

Dog Mountain

This is the classic, go-to wildflower hike in the Portland-area. It’s super popular and for good reason—the wildflowers are superb. This is one of the busiest hikes in the Gorge, especially during wildflower season, so either try to go on a weekday or arrive before 8 am or after 5 pm to avoid congestion. Dog Mountain is a steep hike, and a favorite spot for trail runners to get some hill workouts in. The steep trek is worth it for the wildflower-dotted view of the Gorge. Bring layers, as the exposed top can be quite windy.

Distance: 6.9 mi out and back
Elevation Gain: 2,800 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Best Time to Visit for Wildflowers: May – June
Parking pass: Northwest Forest Pass year round. On weekends between March 31 to July 1st a $1.50 trail permit for each hiker is required in addition to the NW Forest Pass. Only 165 permits are available per day. Permits can be purchased six months in advance at recreation.gov

Foxgloves line the Wilson River Trail in the Tillamook Forest.

Wilson River

This is one of my favorite spots to head for a long trail run. Whether you hike or run, convince some friends to join so you can have a shuttle car and avoid an out and back. The Wilson River Trail features just about everything you could want in a hike: suspension bridges, camping and backpacking options, waterfalls, old growth forest, and of course, wildflowers. And, if you wanted to go for some wine tasting afterward, you’re not too far from some great dog-friendly wineries.

Distance: 22.6 miles one way, though you can do an out and back as far as you like along various points on the trail
Elevation Gain: 3,950 ft (over entire trail)
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Best Time to Visit for Wildflowers: March – May
Parking pass: Not required

Still stuck in winter in Washington? Here’s a list of some of our favorite winter hikes near Seattle.

PIN FOR LATER!

An array of dog-friendly wildflower hikes near Portland await hikers each spring. Check out some of the top spots to see the colorful blooms.
Jen Sotolongo

Hello! I'm Jen. I'm a writer, photographer, dog mom, and outdoor enthusiast. When I'm not writing about awesome ways to get outside with your dog, I'm probably out for a long trail run. I also fancy myself a pretty decent vegan cook, and am always happy to whip up a batch of cookies for friends. My husband and I travel the world with our dogs, most famously taking on a 2-year bicycle trip across Europe and South America. I currently live in Spain with my husband and our two dogs, but the Pacific Northwest will always be my love.

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