Portland Walking Tours

Portland – a great winter-walking town

December 7th, 2010

Wikipedia describes Portland climatologically as being “in the Marine west coast climate region, marked by warm, dry summers and rainy but temperate winters.”

Compared to the northeastern US, where I grew up, this is weather heaven – particularly for someone who loves walking.

“Warm, dry summers” doesn’t come close to summing up the beautiful blue skies, green fields and trees, babbling brooks, and ice-capped mountains that highlight this area from July through October. Our annual temperature excursions into the 100+ range (F.) are brief and are more than compensated by the consistent string of days in the 80s with cool nights in the low 60s.

But it’s winter where Portland really shines. As my dad used to say about rain, “You don’t have to shovel it.” Our unusual flirtation with snow flurries this weekend is already a distant memory here in the valley as no evidence of the white stuff remains except where it belongs – on our very skiable mountains.

In the city, temperatures typically peak in the 40s or even higher from November thru February. Rain, you say? Never a pounding torrent, but rather it’s just a daily misty reminder of our marine-based climate. Even the occasional thick towers of dramatic cloud formations help keep the temperatures mild enough that a good waterproof jacket and hat is all the defense we’ll need against Oregon’s gentle elements.

Oregonians, both native and transplant, love the outdoors, and we won’t let a little drizzle keep us locked inside. Whether it’s the slopes of Mt Hood or Mt Bachelor, the trails of Forest Park or Dog Mountain, the bright lights of Portland’s downtown shopping district or the end zone of Autzen Stadium (home of our Number One Oregon Ducks), we’d rather breathe Oregon’s fresh clean air and risk getting our Nikes a little dirty than miss out on the great sights and excitement our great region has to offer.

Now that the holidays are upon us, most of us will have more errands to run, gifts to buy, and more calories to burn off from big meals. But to me that’s just another excuse to get out and walk in Portland’s winter wonderland.