Great Oregon Hikes, Cape Horn Hike

Cape Horn Hike!

Cape Horn Hike is one of my favorite “off-the-radar” Portland hikes ~ even though it’s technically in Washington state.  You’ll find it in guide books & lots of folks in Vancouver, WA know about it ~ but most of my Portland friends had never heard of it.  Which I love.  Every time I’ve hiked or run this trail, foot traffic has been light.  Which means, if you really want to get out & enjoy the pristine wilderness: this trail is a delight.  Though Cape Horn is in Washington, I still consider it a great Oregon hike, as it’s only 30 miles from downtown Portland.  Active kids & dogs should do well on it, or if they get tired on the 7-mile loop, you can always turn back early.  Gorge views are spectacular here ~ you’ll be looking across towards Angel’s Rest & Multnomah Falls.

Great Oregon Hikes, Cape Horn Hike, Washington

Sharing a laugh at one of the many view points on the Cape Horn hike.

Map Cape Horn Hike!

Cape Horn

Directions to Cape Horn

Directions from Downtown Portland

Distance from Portland: 33 miles

  • Take I-84 East until you reach I-205 North
  • Take I-205 North toward Vancouver, WA
  • After 5.7 miles, Veer Right at Exit 27 for WA-14
  • Continue for 10 miles of WA-14 (Lewis & Clark Hwy)
  • Turn left onto Salmon Falls Road
  • Turn right onto Canyon Creek Road
  • In 250 feet, Cape Horn Trailhead will be on your right

Cape Horn Hike Info

  • Starting Point: Cape Horn Trailhead
  • Total Hike Distance: 7.1 mile loop
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1,350 feet
  • Pet-friendly: Yes
  • Kid-friendly: Yes (active kids)
  • Good for Trail-Running: Yes
  • Crowded: Light to moderate
  • All Seasons? Yes, but lower loop closed Feb. 1st – July 15th
  • Best Time to Go: Anytime
Great Oregon Hikes, John Muir, Angel's Rest Hike

Cape Horn Hike Photos

Cape Horn Hike, Great Oregon Hikes

A few miles in, you’ll come to this spectacular, circular viewpoint.

Cape Horn Hike, Great Oregon Hikes

The Cape Horn hike isn’t just full of gorge views ~ you may also spot falcons, or pretty meadows like this one.

Other Hikes Nearby!

The Columbia River Gorge is FULL of amazing hikes ~ for a more complete list, click here.  On the Washington side, where Cape Horn sits, there are fewer hiking options than on the Oregon side.  But further down WA-14 is the beautiful Dog Mountain (my absolute favorite springtime hike), & heading back towards Washougal, there’s the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge to stop off at.  If you want to stay the night in the area, you’re only about twenty minutes from the beautiful Skamania Lodge

Get Prepared!

Light Windbreaker

Even during the summer in Portland, it’s never a bad idea to bring a light windbreaker.  Oregon weather can be unpredictable, & rain is always a possibility. 

Good Trail Running Shoes

The more you wear regular tennis shoes on the trail ~ the more you realize you need good trail running or hiking shoes.  You’ll get better ankle stability & have better traction, & typically are NOT white (like all my ruined Nike’s).

Small Backpack with Water

For most hikes, you’ll need water, some snacks, sunscreen, a hat, & possibly a swimsuit ~ plus whatever else you deem essential.  Small backpacks are perfect for day hikes ~ & this one includes a 2L hydration pack for you & your pup.

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles


Easily my favorite guidebook for hikes near Portland ~ it covers the Gorge, Mt. Hood, Portland, & the Oregon Coast.  Rip out pages for the hike you choose, especially on long hikes ~ or take a photo of trail directions & use as a guide.

Great Oregon Hikes, Thoreau Quote, Angel's Rest Hike
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