The perfect day trip from Portland
The main reason why we decided to prolong our stay in Portland was because it offered the best of both worlds — it's a buzzing city known for its creative culture, but within just an hour's drive, you can quickly find yourself amid beautiful open spaces with views of Mount Hood at every turn.
We dedicated an entire day to explore the amazing natural surrounds of Portland. Our first stop for the day was Lavender Valley, a quaint little farm located east where you can frolic amongst the perfectly manicured rows of lavender. We arrived with a packed lunch and parked ourselves for a picnic in the middle of the field, with a perfect view of Mount Hood on the horizon.
As the day heated up, we headed off to our next stop at the Apple Valley Country Store for some huckleberry milkshakes. During our chit-chat with the owner, we were told about a local swimming hole just across the road underneath Tucker Bridge. Quickly we devoured our milkshakes, grabbed our swimmers and made our way down to the hidden gem. Not only did we find ourselves alone, there was also a rope swing hung from the bridge just asking to be used.
With the sun starting to sink lower into the sky, our last stop would see us arrive at Trillium Lake — one of the more picturesque places to view Mount Hood. We settled in to watch the sunset on the mountain, feeling so close as if we could touch its snow-capped peak at an arm's reach. The lake was so calm that you can see the mountain's reflection along the water, only ever disturbed by the ripples from a family of ducks meandering by from time to time.
That's the beauty about Oregon, you can wake up in the city of Portland, be immersed in the countryside, and wind up in the middle of the mountains, all in one day.