Northwest Portland is within proximity of some great hiking opportunities. PDX Northwest helps identify the hiking destinations and resources for hikers of various skill levels and offers trail information to prepare local hiking enthusiasts planning a hike in the area.
Sometimes, however, it’s good to get away from the city itself and head out into the wilderness beyond. Rooster Rock is one such destination that is worth making a trip from Northwest Portland south along the Columbia River Gorge. From here, several paths into the woods begin (and end) and the Rooster Rock hike is one of its most popular.
Getting from the trailhead to Rooster Rock—so named for the rock shaped like a rooster’s neck and head is a simple enough hike with plenty of beaten paths (though not a whole lot of pavement is lain in the area), especially during weekends when other trekkers are in the area to help newcomers from getting lost. Note that party hikes are limited to 12 people so as to keep pedestrian density sparse.
There is an off-leash area and a pair of disc golf courses to complement the covered picnic areas and restrooms along the gorge. Pets are allowed on the beach areas, and there are some clothing-optional areas of beach in the state park; plan accordingly if children are in the hiking party. The inclines in the area are mild in most spots, so kids of any ability level should enjoy this hiking area.
Poison oak and some sneaky brambles populate the hills and forest of the Columbia River Gorge, so take caution when romping along the ground toward the end of the trail. The terrain is a bit wet near the Columbia River, and there are some rock faces that will require some equipment and know-how; bring the appropriate attire to handle uneven ground and some sharp rock surfaces, though hikers need not worry about mud unless it’s raining in full on the day of their hike.
To reach Rooster Rock State Park, drive east along Interstate 84 for about 20 miles out of the city. Take Exit 25 and follow the signs to reach the trailhead. There is currently no public transit from Northwest Portland to this area, though its popularity often mean rideshares are possible; visit the PDX Northwest Hiking Resources section to learn more about getting in touch with fellow hikers headed this way.