NOVEMBER

Warrior Rock Lighthouse on Sauvie Island.

Fall color at Cape Horn.

Multnomah Falls in early November.

  1. Warrior Rock on Sauvie Island

  2. Forest Park: Newberry Road Loop

  3. Forest Park: Ridge Trail Loop

  4. Forest Park: Firelane 1-3 Loop

  5. Milo McIver State Park

  6. Cape Horn

  7. Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop

  8. Benson Plateau via the PCT

  9. Dry Creek Falls

  10. Herman Creek

November is one of the busiest, rainiest, harshest months of the year. The rain seems to arrive for good every year around the first of November, bringing it with it darkness, wind, and heavy mountain snows. As you turn clocks back, you’ll find increasingly little daylight under which to play. It is for this reason that all of the hikes presented here are within an hour drive of Portland. You don’t have much time, much daylight and the weather stinks - it’s best to stay close to come.

You will find several hikes here in Forest Park, Portland’s urban wilderness. You can go to Forest Park any time you want, at any point in the year. I love to go on weekdays in the summer when I’m off work, for example. But November is my favorite time to visit the park, as the fall color peaks later here than it does in the mountains, and the trails are not yet inundated with the rain and mud they hold all winter and into spring. November is also the time I begin to return to the Gorge after several months of high-mountain hiking.

As the mountains become increasingly snowed in, I begin to return to my fall and winter haunts. The Gorge hikes presented here are all known for excellent displays of fall color, and all of them are at their best on rainy days (save for Cape Horn, which you should save for the rare and welcome sunny day in November). The mist hangs in the Gorge, offering many scenic photo opportunities and accentuating the last of the fall color.

As you might expect, you should prepare for November hiking by bringing all your winter raingear and the Ten Essentials. All of these hikes are close to Portland and very easy to access, and other than the long trek up to the Benson Plateau, none of them have any threat of snow in November. The best piece of gear in November is a good raincoat, and the second best is a detailed forecast for wherever it is you are going. After all: sometimes it feels like the cold November rains will last forever. You might as well get out and enjoy the time you have.