With more than 70 breweries within its city limits, Portland, Oregon can rightly be regarded as one of—if not—the beer capitals in the U.S. The city is also a very outdoor-focused place, with numerous parks and green areas and easy access to amazing nature destinations. It’s therefore a perfect place for hikes and beer. In this post, we’ll feature the five best beer hikes in Portland.
We’ll focus on the city itself in this post. While there are plenty of hike and brewery combinations around the city, I think it’s good to start within Portland. There are several awesome beer hikes in Portland, just minutes from the city center. Let’s dive in!
Cathedral Park & Occidental Brewing Co.
In the far northwest of Portland lies St. Johns, somewhat of a separate community, yet well within the Portland city limits. This is the location of the famous St. Johns Bridge, arguably the most beautiful of all of Portland’s bridges. Underneath the bridge, on the eastern shore of the Willamette River in St. Johns, is Cathedral Park, named after the bridge’s features.
You can go for a stroll through this small park, which is particularly nice in fall and spring. Alternatively, you can walk across the bridge toward Forest Park and explore a gorgeous woodland filled with trails (see more below). Kick back afterward with a beer or two at Occidental Brewing Co., renowned for its many German-style beers.
Cathedral Park is located beneath the historic St. Johns Bridge, Portland’s only steel suspension bridge that spans 1,207 feet and reaches up to 400 feet with its towers. There is a boat dock, a boat ramp, a canoe launch, restrooms, an off-leash dog area, an amphitheater, various picnic tables, and swimming and fishing areas in the park.
Mt. Tabor & Base Camp Brewing Company
One of only a handful of extinct volcanoes in a U.S. city, Mt. Tabor is one of Portland’s greatest attractions. It lies in the southeastern part of the city, a large urban park featuring hiking trails, benches, picnic areas and a natural amphitheater. From the top, you have a wonderful view of Mt. Hood to the east and downtown Portland to the west.
With its rock climbing theme, Base Camp Brewing Company seems made to be visited after a hike in or around Portland. This laidback brewery has a spacious interior as well as a fun outdoor seating area. Two local food carts serve up excellent street food to go with your brew.
The most popular thing to do in Mount Tabor is to visit Mount Tabor Park, which is a large and inviting area. Tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, picnic tables, a community garden, and other amenities are available in this expansive area. Hike up Mount Tabor Stairs for 360-degree spectacular views and a peek of the nearby City of Portland Reservoirs.
Eastbank Esplanade & Hair of the Dog Brewing Company
Running along the eastern shore of the Willamette River in downtown Portland, the Eastbank Esplanade offers amazing views of the Portland skyline. This is not a hike, per se, but it is arguably the best walk you can take in central Portland. It’s a lovely combination of floating docks and byways, ideal for a leisurely stroll, brisk jog, or simply a great bike path.
When you approach the west end of the Steel Bridge, you’ll be in Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland. The Friendship Circle from Portland’s sister city Sapporo is to your right. The glass towers of the Oregon Convention Center can now be seen across the river. Head west toward the Naito Parkway for the detour north along this segment of the Willamette Greenway path. A path runs beneath the Steel Bridge’s three western ramps and traverses the railroad tracks that ultimately led to nearby Union Station.
Eastbank Esplanade extends from the Hawthorne Bridge northward to the Steel Bridge. This is one of the best beer hikes in Portland because it essentially passes by Hair of the Dog Brewing Company. If you like barrel-aged beers, this is arguably the best brewery to visit in Portland for you. It has one of the America’s largest collection of aged beers.
Powell Butte & Zoiglhaus Brewing
Powell Butte is one of a few different extinct volcanic features with the Portland city limits (Mt. Tabor, mentioned above is another one). This is one of the largest public parks in the city, an expanse of woodland, meadows and the hilltop itself. Numerous hiking trails crisscross through this park, offering a plethora of hiking options. From the summit, you have a sensational view of Mount St. Helens to the west and Mt. Hood to the north.
The Steel Bridge Riverwalk is suspended 30 feet above the Willamette River but below the auto bridge. It provides breathtaking views of the downtown cityscape and the river itself.
A quick drive from Powell Butte, Zoiglhaus Brewing, as its name indicates, serves authentic German-style beer. Its comfortable interior and laid-back vibe makes this a popular hang-out in southeast Portland. If you like lighter beers like pilsners, weissbier and kölsch, this is one of the best beer hikes in Portland you could do.
Wildwood Trail & Breakside Brewery
The 30-mile Wildwood Trail snakes its way through Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. You don’t have to hike the entire thing, though. The southern section offers the most bang for your buck, leading up to Pittock Mansion. From there, you’ll have a superb view over the entire city of Portland, Mt. Hood dominating the backdrop.
The Oregon Zoo, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, the Hoyt Arboretum, and the World Forestry Center are all within walking distance of the trail’s beginning. A mile or two further in, you’ll find the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. A brief detour around mile four will take you to the famous Pittock Mansion. For a minimal charge, you can tour the 102-year-old home nearly every day of the year. Even if you don’t go inside, the grounds are free to visit and provide a beautiful view of the city as well as a good location for a picnic or a nap.
Afterward, head to nearby Breakside Brewery in Slabtown for some quality beers in a beautiful industrial setting.