April flowers at Camassia Natural Area in West Linn.

Tunnel Falls on the Eagle Creek Trail. This trail is currently closed due to fire damage and is expected to remain closed for several more years.

Wildflowers at Crawford Oaks in Columbia Hills State Park, Washington.

The Deschutes River snakes through a deep canyon south of Maupin, below the tract of land known as Criterion Ranch. This area burned in fire during the summer of 2018, so expect a blackened landscape for the next few years while the grasses and flowers reseed.

  1. Lower Macleay Park

  2. Camassia Natural Area and Canemah Bluff

  3. Clackamas River Trail

  4. Little North Santiam River Trail

  5. Eagle Creek (Closed due to fire damage)

  6. Starvation Loop and Mitchell Point

  7. Mosier Plateau

  8. Swale Canyon

  9. Crawford Oaks Loop

  10. Criterion Ranch

  11. BONUS Smith Rock

Ahhhhh, April. Spring is finally here, the flowers are blooming and the sunshine so, so, so welcoming. It is in April that the hiking gets really, really good. I mean no offense to the winter hikes of course, but in April the bar is a lot higher. This is the cream of the crop for the Portland area, and some of the best hikes in the entire region. And unlike some of the
other entries in this book, these hikes are all good, rain or shine. The old saying goes that April showers bring May flowers. But April is the best month of the year in the Portland area for wildflowers in most years, and for me, April is all about the flowers. The hikes presented here offer some of the best displays of wildflowers in the region. The woodland hikes such as Eagle Creek and the Little North Santiam River feature a mix of wildflowers and impressive displays of verdant, green forest. The hikes on the eastern side of the Gorge and in southwest Washington are some of the finest wildflower hikes anywhere in our region.

April is also the month when many fairweather hikers put on their boots for the first time all winter and this of course brings crowds. Expect many more folks on the trails than you would in the winter. Some of these hikes are among the most crowded in the region. It is still possible to find solitude in April, however; plan on early starts, or better yet, come on a weekday. If you’re focused on photography, early morning and later in the afternoon are the best times to photograph wildflowers, while cloudy days are best for photographing waterfalls.

Regardless of when you visit, you should always be prepared as you would for winter hikes. While snow is unlikely at most of these destinations, thunderstorms and cold, driving rain showers are frequent occurrences in April. It could be 45 and raining, or it could be 75 and sunny - April weather is predictably unpredictable. It is best to prepare for any weather and hope for the best.