5 Things to Do Outdoors during Reading Days

While students may not have a traditional spring break, readings days are a perfect opportunity to explore Portland. From the exciting bike trails in Silver Falls State Park to adventures downtown, you’re bound to find a fun experience while making sure you’re staying safe and socially-distanced (and in compliance with UP's Travel Policy).


Easy access to nature is just one of the many benefits of living in Portland that students can take advantage of. If you’re running low on time, Forest Park is a great option for a beautiful hike nearby. Pick one of the many entry points throughout Northwest Portland and set off on your journey through this massive forest. If you’re looking for bigger views, check out Multnomah Falls, the largest waterfall in Oregon, or if you want to avoid the crowds, Horsetail Falls is nearby and still provides a stunning view of the Columbia River Gorge.


Portland is known for many things, but being a bike-friendly city is definitely in the top five. Rent a bike from Outdoor Pursuits and ride around in the city or if you’re feeling more adventurous, find a bike path and ride through nature. Mt. Tabor has a great paved pathway on top of a volcanic cinder cone that provides a beautiful view of the park and the surrounding Portland area. Take a short drive to Silver Falls State Park for over 35 miles in backcountry trails and a paved bike trail to see some of the greatest waterfall views Oregon has to offer.

Cathedral Park/Peninsula Park

Finding spaces to have a socially distanced get-together can be difficult, especially since using the same spaces around campus can get old. If you’re looking for a nearby park, it doesn’t get much better than Cathedral Park. Located under the St. John’s Bridge, this park has a stunning view of the Willamette River and has tons of space to spread out. If Cathedral Park has gotten old already for you, Peninsula Park is another great nearby option. Peninsula Park has walking trails and a gorgeous garden that you can use to meet up with your friends or study at.

Portland Old Town Ghost Tour

In the mood for some spooky, fun history? Look no further than the Portland Old Town Ghost Tour. Travel through Old Town and learn about Portland’s ghostly past, featuring hotels and restaurants that have been plagued with apparitions since the 1800s. Tickets are $7 and the tour lasts about an hour, covering about a mile in distance.


International Rose Test Garden

If you want to enjoy a nice walk through some flowers, the International Rose Test Garden has got you covered. Portland has the oldest official public rose test garden in the US, but its reputation precedes it. But the flowers aren’t the only view you’ll get in the garden: the area also overlooks beautiful views of downtown and Mt. Hood that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. If you’re interested in learning more about the garden, they host free tours every day at 1 p.m.

No matter how you decide to spend your Reading Days, remember to wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart from others, and limit your indoor gatherings to no more than six people and outdoor gatherings to eight.