Why are hiking and walking the Boomer exercises of choice? Easy – they are abundantly good for you and opportunities are as plentiful as Northwest rain. Just look at the bookshelves overflowing with guides for newbie and experienced trekkers alike.


Multi-taskers can bundle walking with other leisure goals and hobbies. Pare down that paunch, give your spouse space, feed your brain or listen to birds. Explore communities beyond your own; discover out-of-the-way parks, trails and fun little towns. Surround yourself with real forests and mountains, rivers and wetlands. Make hikes and walks an excuse to see more of your family and friends, or meet new people. Or for some me time.

Hiking Destinations Around Portland
Gather your friends, pick a destination, then download a map from the Portland Hikes section of Oregon Hikers Field Guide. See Hikes Through Natural, Wildlife and Scenic Areas for a listing of hikes by county, city and section of town, summarized and published with permission of the Field Guide.

In snow season, head to the hills and mountains, to any of dozens of cross country ski and snowshoe trails listed at Trails.com, pick your state, activity and zoom in to a trail.

And you needn’t always traipse about a forest, park, or mountain trail to reap the great health, aesthetic and social benefits. Go to any number of interesting urban or historic hiking routes. You’re surrounded by walkable neighborhoods ranging from the downtown stylish, to old European influenced hillside homes, to grand old back-in-the-day neighborhoods.

Neighborhood Walks
Discover a fascinating interblending of communities with natural areas, as well as old and new commercial and office areas. Neighborhoods that transition from burbie housing to undeveloped natural areas. Lots of river walks. You’ll delight in a diverse selection of urban-suburban-boondocks destinations.

Make Walking Routes another Favorite. It’s an online reference to bike and walk routes in Greater Portland and Vancouver, courtesy of Portland Bureau of Transportation. Thanks also to PDOT for free Bike+Walk Maps. Just click on the map area you want. In Vancouver, check out the parks and recreation maps of urban and rural walks.

The Metro Walk There! Guide Book describes and maps walking routes in different sections of Portland metro. The Explore Parks & Trails section of Intertwine website also provides maps and descriptions of urban hikes, wilderness walks, and other adventurers throughout the region.

Try a Club or Meetup Group
Throughout the metro, age-friendly outdoor clubs and meetups welcome non-members to try them. Most offer different levels of activity and are a perfect way to meet liked-minded Boomers. Many schedule activities during weekdays at times preferred by Boomer-retiree members and guests. Many clubs offer multi-activities such as hiking, walking, snowshoeing, cycling, kayaking and backpacking.

Meetups are formed by individuals around a common or multiple interests, in this case, outdoors, hiking, or walking. Joining is either free or inexpensive and gives you online access to the meetup’s scheduled activities.

See Outdoor Hike, Walk, Snow Sports Groups for lists and links to multi-activity outdoor clubs.

Community College and City Recreation Programs
Browse the catalogs of community colleges and city parks and recs for a wide variety of seasonal senior programs and walk and hike activities. Online sign-up is easy. Popular among Boomers are hikes, walks, walk tours, nature and historic tours, nature center visits and similar activities.

See Community Education, Parks & Rec Programs for lists and links to outdoor programs.

Walk in a Community Event
Choose from literally dozens of walking and walker-friendly events; some are multi-sport, multi-distance family events such as running races. Walk and multiply the benefits – your registration supports community causes and you get exercise, comradery, and freebies. Plus, they are fun!

See Walk and Walker Friendly Community Events for links to a partial list of walking events and walker friendly events in Greater Portland.

Two sites that list current events are:

  • Portland Events Calendar. Monthly listings and links to area events, festivals, and things to do.
  • Running in the USA, Portland. Click on the Month and/or Distance to get a current list of events within 25 miles of Portland, including Vancouver, WA. Most welcome walkers.

Art and Cultural Meanderings
Here’s another I-gotta’-walk idea: Walk with a touch of culture. Log your miles when you show up for “first-something” art walks, or stroll through any of several area monthly or seasonal art walks. You’ll also get your steps in on guided or self-guided tours of historical sites, homes, buildings, farms and gardens. Similarly, take advantage of events at expansive walk-around attractions in places such as Oregon Gardens and Oregon Zoo, as well as community sponsored brew and wine walks.

See Art and Culture Meanderings for ideas of cultural places to walk around.

Add the Portland Events Calendar to your list of Favorites for up-to-date, current listings and links to Portland events, festivals, and things to do in Greater Portland.