5 Portland Activities for the Long Summer Evenings

Fitness Monday, June 22, 2015 Written by

Just as the winter days can seem awfully short and dark in Portland, so too are the summer days full of sunshine and daylight that lasts long into the evening. From June 17 all the way through July 10, the sun won’t set in Portland until at least 9 p.m., and it doesn’t even approach 8:30 p.m. until the first week of August.

This means there’s plenty of light left after a normal workday to fit in some outdoor fun. Whether it’s a nearby hike or a paddle along the Willamette, there’s a host of Portland activities perfect for the long summer nights and getting a little more out of each day.

Hit the trail: The beauty of living right next to the Columbia River Gorge is that you don’t have to go far to find great hikes any time of year. In the summer, that puts short evening Gorge hikes within striking distance. After you punch out, head to Angel’s Rest, one of the westernmost trails in the Gorge, for a 4.8-mile roundtrip romp with just the right mix of workout and wonder.

Paddle away: A river runs right through the center of Portland, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of it for a summer evening cruise. A few ideas: start at Sellwood Riverfront Park and do a five-mile sunset paddle around Ross Island; put in at Willamette Park and head toward or away from the city; or drive just south of town to Lake Oswego’s George Rogers Park and explore Hogg Island or glide up to a summer concert at Foothills Park.

Run, run: Summer can be hot in Oregon, but the evenings usually cool off nicely — perfect for trail running. Portland favorites include Tryon Creek State Natural Area, where a network of trails through towering firs and cedars provides options for runs of any length, and Forest Park. One of the largest urban forests in the country, Forest Park is home to more than 70 miles of trails. Nice runs include the 5-mile northern section of the Wildwood Trail or the 4.8-mile Balch Creek/Wildwood Trail loop.

Ride away: Need to stretch your legs after a long day at the office? Saddle up and pedal along the Springwater Corridor for an enjoyable evening on your bike. Another nice summer night ride in Portland is along the Eastbank Esplanade, a flat and urban-scenic pedal that offers up sweeping views of the Willamette, downtown Portland and all the summertime activity going on.

Climb on: Portland rock hounds have plenty of daylight in the summer evenings to get their fix thanks to Rocky Butte, an extinct volcano and former rock quarry that rises in outer northeast Portland. The towering butte is lined with more than 100 climbing routes for experienced climbers,  but there are also some bouldering options, including traversing the fortress walls at the top of the butte, for anyone looking to work on their technique on a nice summer night.