Hiking Report: Angel’s Rest, Portland, OR

About a month after moving, I was in desperate need of hitting the reset button. I had been putting an intensive amount of effort into the job search and hadn’t yet realized how important it was to maintain a sense of play and adventure during the process.

In other words, I was driving myself crazy.

So, I did what I always do when I’m feeling that way. I set out to tackle a physical hill, in hopes that it would help me tackle my mental ones.

portland, oregon, pacfic northwest, hike, hiking

When you take on Angel’s Rest trail, you’re committing to 2.3 miles of constant ascension. Some of it is a gentle ascent, some of it is a steep ascent, but it’s always going up. There are no signs telling you how much further to the top, no way to measure how much longer unless you’ve cheated with an app on your phone.

Every thought, every worry falls away. A singular focus takes over, a steady grind of putting one foot in front of the other, and faith that, eventually, you’ll make it to the top.

And when you do make it, the uphill battle fades away.

hike, trail, pacific northwest hiking, columbia river gorge, portland, oregon

I throw the word awesome around quite a bit, using it to show enthusiasm, agreement, a positive attitude. When it’s used so casually, it can be easy to forget what awesome truly means – to be filled with a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.

I settled down on a sun-warmed rock, soaking in the view. A view that started forming 40-20 million years ago.  A view shaped by volcanic eruptions, mudflows, and floods. A view to inspire a new perspective.

columbia river gorge, hike, hiking, pacific northwest, portland, oregon

Location: Angel’s Rest Trailhead, about 30 minutes outside of Portland along I-84E and US-30E

Distance: 4.6 out and back to the summit

Elevation: ~1400 ft gain, ~1580 feet at the summit

Time: 2.5-4 hours, depending on how long you hang out at the top

Difficulty: Moderate

Parking: Free. Small parking lot at the trailhead, some roadside parking as well.


  • A great option if you’re on a weekend visit to the Portland area, and a nice way to break up all the eating and beer sampling.
  • Recommend getting an early start, this is a pretty popular trail. Family-friendly.
  • No restrooms at the trail head, although there are some a bit further up the road, as well as additional parking.
  • You’ll hit a shale crossing near the top. The views here are awesome too, but you haven’t hit the summit yet, keep going.
  • If you’re feeling up to it, this would be a great hike to bring a small picnic/cheese plate snack on.
  • Nearby trails include Bridal Veil Falls and Latourell Falls.

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