A-frames near Sandy with horseback riding

Find fishing, boating, and mountain biking opportunities just a short drive from Portland.

Popular camping styles for Sandy

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A-frames near Sandy with horseback riding guide


Halfway between Portland, Oregon and Mt. Hood, the small city of Sandy makes a fantastic base for travelers who want to explore nearby natural features—including the Columbia River Gorge and the slopes of Mt. Hood—without staying in Portland. The area is particularly popular among anglers who come to fish in the Sandy River and with mountain bikers, who flood into Sandy during the summer dry season to ride the Sandy Ridge Trail System. There are also many camping options in the area, both at nearby Oxbow Regional Park and at area Hipcamps.

Where to go

Mt. Hood

About a 45-minute drive east of Sandy, this perpetually snow-capped mountain (which lends its name to the Mt. Hood National Forest) offers great recreation opportunities year-round. In the cooler months, campers can ski, snowboard, and snowshoe, while hot summer days make Hood an excellent destination for hiking, mountain biking, and swimming in alpine lakes.

The Columbia River Gorge

Some of the prettiest scenery in the region can be found a short drive north of Sandy in the Columbia River Gorge. This stretch of the Columbia River, which separates Oregon from Washington state to the north, is full of gushing waterfalls, tree-lined trails, and towering viewpoints that offer epic views out over the region. Just note that it's insanely popular, and permits are required to visit certain sections of the area during the summer.

Silver Falls State Park

Just over an hour’s drive south of Sandy, Silver Falls State Park is considered one of the prettiest state parks in Oregon, owing mainly to its numerous waterfalls, 10 of which you can see for yourself by hiking the 7.2-mile-long Trail of Ten Falls (you can even walk behind a few of them). There’s also a campground with RV and tent camping plus a seasonal horse camp for equestrians.

When to go

Sandy is definitely a summer destination, though you will have to contend with crowds if you come between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Fortunately, the warm season in this part of the state continues well into September. If you’re a skier or snowboarder and want to spend time up on Mount Hood, the conditions are generally at their finest between January and March, though it’s often snowy enough for winter sports well into May.

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