MAY

Amazing views at Neahkahnie Mountain.

The lush greens and ancient forest along the upper Clackamas River are always welcome on a warm day in May.

Driving into the Badger Creek area in May is always a thrill.

  1. Neahkahnie Mountain

  2. Cascade Head

  3. Upper Clackamas River

  4. Falls Creek Falls

  5. Indian Point

  6. Dog Mountain

  7. Rowena Crest and Tom McCall Point

  8. Bald Butte

  9. Badger Creek

  10. School Canyon

May is where it’s at in the Pacific Northwest. The weather begins to turn warm, the flowers are out and the days long. While much of the Cascades are still snowed under, many hiking destinations are in their prime. This is especially so for hikes in the Gorge and east of the Cascades, where flowers are at their peak and the heat is not so oppressive. The options presented here are a mix of lowland hikes and treks to scenic viewpoints and wildflower
meadows.

As the weather heats up and the days get longer it gets easier to figure out where to go. You will notice that many of the hikes above feature large elevation gains. This is the month to start getting in shape for summer hiking (if you haven’t already). Many of these hikes start low and climb high, to mountaintops and ridgecrests. May is the month these hikes are at last reliably snow-free. But rain is still a likelihood on many May days. Make sure you save many of these hikes, especially Indian Point (Hike 45), Dog Mountain (Hike 46), Bald Butte (Hike 48) and School Canyon (Hike 50) for sunny days. On the other hand, the Upper Clackamas River (Hike 43), Falls Creek Falls (Hike 44) and Badger Creek (Hike 49) are ideal hikes for those cool, rainy days we often get throughout May.

Some of these hikes are extremely popular, and you should expect crowds whenever you go. Dog Mountain in particular is one of the most popular hikes in entire Pacific Northwest, so popular that a shuttle bus system has been instituted to reduce crowds in the parking lot. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, consider some of the other hikes offered here. If you’re really looking to avoid crowds, remember a simple rule of thumb: the further you travel away from the metro area, the less crowded it will be. May is one of the best months of the year for hiking; wherever you go, it’s sure to be a great time.