If you are a true sunset connoisseur you do not want to miss the view from Vista House, high above the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge. Just under 25 miles from downtown Portland, the Vista House offers an amazing view of the sun setting over the wide river. You can drive up specifically for the view and to see the historical building built in 1918, or you can stop by on your way back from a hike in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s truly breathtaking to watch the sunset fill the sky and illuminate the entire river with oranges and pinks. Check out the picture I took there, it doesn’t even do the place justice. Tip: if it’s not warm, make sure you bring a jacket. This place is very high up and can be rather breezy.
Council Crest offers a beautiful view of the city at all times, but it becomes particularly romantic at sunset. It is said to be the highest point in Portland at 1,073 feet above sea level. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Saint Helens with Mt. Rainier peeking up over her shoulder. Although (in the true spirit of Oregon), there are many trees blocking a perfect sunset view, Council Crest still definitely deserves a spot on this list. Just feel free to BYOA (bring your own axe) along with BYOB. There’s also a really cool rock circle that forms a giant compass, and if you stand in the middle and speak, it echoes. Side note: this is a great spot for Fourth of July as well, as you can see fireworks simultaneously exploding across the whole city.
Looking for a place to bring your date to see the sunset and have a picnic ? This is it. If someone hadn’t shown it to me I would have had no idea even it existed. It’s tucked away deep in suburbia in the Alberta/Killingsworth area. This place is truly a gem. In fact, I even hesitated putting it on this list because I don’t want it to become over populated. But it’s honestly too wonderful not to share, and I’m just nice like that. You’re welcome. Tip: Parking here is limited, so on a warm weekend evening plan on parking about a block away and walking there.
Nansen Summit Park
This is definitely my most secret-est sunset spot. Secret-est? Indeed. Atop a very high hill in Lake Oswego, Nanset Summit Park is a discreet and very romantic sunset location. I don’t know anyone else who knows of this place, but hey, now you do! Just an 8 mile drive from downtown Portland this is another spot where you get a gorgeous 360 view. And once again, there are some trees that keep you from getting what could be full view, so don’t hesitate to bring your termite friends along with you as well. Just kidding… I told you I take my sunsets seriously.
If you live in the Portland area and you haven’t been to Rocky Butte, what are you even doing? Well now that you know about it, you’e obligated to go. If you want a place to see the Sunset and also feel like you’re outside a castle, then this is your spot. It’s a steep and slightly precarious drive up to what’s officially called James Woodhill Park (I’ve never heard anyone call it this) but it’s completely worth it. You can see Mt Hood on a clear day and the airport on any night. Or you can bike the dangerous and narrow path up the hill, in the true spirit of Portland. View Vancouver, Portland and Camas all at one place. Rocky Butte offers a beautiful 360 degree view, plenty of parking, and plenty of room for you to bring your friends, or enjoy some solice by yourself.
Located at the end of Portland’s hipster-filled Hawthorne Blvd., Mt. Tabor wins my pick for the best place to view a sunset. Here you can watch the sun slowly descend into the soft green/gray hills, and as the the sky gets darker you get to watch the city lights as Portland’s evening comes to life. Hike up during the spring for beautiful wildflowers and vibrant flowering trees or drive up and stay after sunset on a warm summer night to stargaze. The park stays open until midnight, when a friendly security guard, who I’ve actually met, will kick you out in a very nice way.
Do you know of another awesome place to see the sunset around Portland? Please let me know in the comments! Disclaimer: I do not actually condone cutting down trees, obviously.