The 5 Best Rainy Day Runs Around Portland

Even when skies are gray,  the trail at Powell Butte beckons runners.
Even when skies are gray, the trail at Powell Butte beckons runners. Jeremy McWilliams
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Portland’s spring has so far exceeded even the loftiest of expectations, as evidenced by happy hours on patios, hiking trails that are already accessible thanks to the lack of winter snowfall, and maybe even your waterproof gear shuffled to the dark recesses of your closet.

But as any Portlander is well aware, right up until Independence Day rain is rarely far away on the five-day forecast at any given time. So, unless you prefer pounding out the miles on a treadmill, it's crucial not to let the wet stuff stop you when you're craving a run on one of Portland’s myriad trails.  Plenty of paths around the Metro area offer a mix of scenic beauty, quiet respites from the city’s hustle and bustle, and plenty of canopy cover.

With that, here are five of the best rainy day runs around Portland. And while we can't guarantee you won't come home a little soggy, we're pretty sure you'll be satisfied you went.

Tryon Creek State Park

The mossy serenity at Tryon Creek State Park is almost made for a rainy run.
The mossy serenity at Tryon Creek State Park is almost made for a rainy run. Xan Fulton

What Tryon Creek State Park lacks in length, it makes up for with vast scenic beauty that doesn't seem possible within the urban landscape of a city. Eight miles of interconnected and mostly flat trails are enough to get any runner’s blood pumping, and the bubbling creek, variety of trees, spring blooms (trillium blooms are at their peak right now), and well-maintained trails make Tryon Creek an appealing destination for casual and serious runners alike. And when it does rain, rest assured it means more wildflowers to admire on your next outing.

Balch Creek Canyon

Forest Park, home to dozens of trails, is one of the nation's premiere urban parks.
Forest Park, home to dozens of trails, is one of the nation's premiere urban parks. David Burn

Running through Balch Creek Canyon , it’s easy to forget that you’re less than a mile from the tony shops along Northwest 23rd Avenue or three miles from the downtown core. The paved path at the Lower Macleay Park Trailhead quickly gives way to a rugged dirt trail that passes towering Douglas Firs and hugs the bubbling Balch Creek. The path, which stays relatively dry thanks to the thick forest canopy, hooks up with the 30-mile Wildwood Trail, giving runners plenty of options for exploring the vast expanse of Forest Park.

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

The Oaks Bottom WIldlife Refuge is a popular hiking and trail running destination not far from Ross Island.
The Oaks Bottom WIldlife Refuge is a popular hiking and trail running destination not far from Ross Island. wittco.gmbh

The scenic Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge , with about three miles of mostly flat trails, is the ideal spot for a quick, post-work jog or, for more serious runners, a solid early morning warm-up or option for squeezing in some extra miles. The wetlands and pond make for a scenic run, and the refuge's proximity to the Willamette River attracts a variety of wildlife, including beavers, nutria, mallards, and even the occasional blue heron.

Banks-Vernonia State Trail

The Banks-Vernonia State-Trail is Oregon's first rail-to-trail.
The Banks-Vernonia State-Trail is Oregon's first rail-to-trail. Ferrous Büller

The Banks-Vernonia State Trail is popular with horseback riders and cyclists, but trail runners have a lot to love, too, over the course of 21 miles. Six trailheads scattered between Banks and Vernonia allow runners to craft a route that suits their workout and level of fitness, while the paved, gentle grade means it's a favorite among speedsters. Runners will pass creeks, fields of apple blossoms, and farms along the way, and two 700-foot-long, 80-foot-high railroad trestles, at Buxton and Horseshoe, add to the scenic views at every step.

Powell Butte Nature Park

Even when skies are gray, the trail at Powell Butte beckons runners.
Even when skies are gray, the trail at Powell Butte beckons runners. Jeremy McWilliams

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more scenic trail in Portland than those at  Powell Butte Nature Park . Powell Butte's interconnected trails pass through a mix of meadows and forest, with Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens both visible most of the way, offering a dramatic backdrop even in a downpour.

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