Portland Volcano List: Active and Extinct Volcanoes, From Mount Hood to Mount Tabor

Looking for a Portland volcano? The city of Portland, Oregon sits near the Cascade Mountain range, which contains several active volcanoes, from Mount Rainier to Mount Hood.

Most of these volcanoes have been dormant for some time. You can visit them, hike on them, and explore them today.

This article will go over the best options for visiting a volcano while you’re in Portland. And we’ll also add some details on Mount Tabor, an extinct volcano right within Portland city limits that has been turned into an urban park!

portland volcano mount tabor
Awesome skyline view from the extinct Portland volcano, Mount Tabor.

Portland Volcano List: Active Volcanoes Nearby

There are four Oregon volcanoes on the government’s list of “very high threat” volcanoes. They include popular tourist spots like Mount Hood and Crater Lake, home of the national park.

Washington state also has some volcanoes that are within a few hours’ drive of Portland. Here’s the list of volcanoes we recommend if you want to do some sightseeing or hiking in the Portland area.

Mount Hood

Just 50 miles east of Portland, Mount Hood is the most popular active volcano to explore for local residents. It lasted erupted roughly 200 years ago, and will likely erupt again someday.

It’s one of many volcanoes in the area that keeps snow cover year-round on its peak, which sits at more than 11,000 feet in elevation.

Mount Hood National Forest has so many great day hikes, including Ramona Falls, Zig Zag Canyon, Burnt Lake, and Bald Mountain. Check out this extensive list for more ideas.

mount hood saint helens rainier volcanoes
Three active volcanoes seen from a plane! Mount Hood, St. Helens, and Rainier.

Mount St. Helens

The most recent significant volcano eruption in the lower 48 states came when Mount St. Helens blasted off its top in 1980. More than 50 people lost their lives, and $1 billion in damage was caused.

Today, it’s a National Volcanic Monument. You can drive to a viewpoint just a few miles from the volcano, and explore several nearby hiking trails.

St. Helens is about a 90-minute drive from Portland. It’s one of the stops I most recommend on the drive between Portland and Seattle.

Mount Rainier

Another Washington volcano, Mount Rainier is one of the coolest national parks in the country. The scenery here is incredible.

mt rainier

It’s a 2.5-hour drive from Portland, but it’s so worth it to see Reflection Lakes, hike the Skyline Trail, view Narada Falls, and look out for wildflowers and wildlife, including bears, mountain goats, marmots, and even wolverines.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake National Park is four hours south of Portland, down in southern Oregon, but it’s one of the most unique parks in the Pacific Northwest.

The crater was formed from a volcano eruption 7700 years ago. Today, the crater is filled with bright blue water, and you can hike down to the water and go swimming!

swimming crater lake

At Crater Lake, drive the Rim Drive loop, and hike Mount Scott to reach the highest point in the park.

Visiting Mount Tabor, the Extinct Volcano Within Portland City Limits

One of the things that most surprised me about Portland, Oregon was the presence of a volcano, making it one of only three cities in the U.S. with a volcano within city limits.

Oh no! What if it erupts and wipes out millions of vegan bicyclists?

Don’t worry, the Portland volcano named Mount Tabor is extinct, meaning it won’t erupt again.

I wonder how they can be so sure about that, since there are plenty of documented instances of supposedly dormant or extinct volcanoes erupting.

But it’s been 300,000 years since the cinder cones in Oregon had a lava flow, so I suppose we can safely say Mt. Tabor is not going to erupt.

Trivia: Which three other U.S. cities also have a volcano within city limits? Those would be Bend, Oregon; Jackson, Mississippi; and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mt. Tabor in SE Portland has been turned into a park of the same name, with hiking trails, basketball and tennis courts, horseshoe pits and more.

How many park signs have you seen with an arrow pointing towards the volcano? I love how nonchalant they are about it. It’s just another feature in the park. Picnic area… playground… volcano. No big deal!

mount tabor portland oregon park sign

Mount Tabor is a volcanic cinder cone and was named after the Mt. Tabor in Israel. Nobody even discovered there was an old volcano here until 1912, a year after the first park was established.

The park covers 190 acres and the elevation is 636 feet, so it’s not super-tall, but it does provide nice views of downtown Portland.

They say this mountain is part of a network of cinder cones, but the lava field that created them has been extinct for 300,000 years. I guess I’ll take their word for it!

In fact, there are three other dormant cinder cones within Portland: Rocky Butte, Powell Butte, and Kelly Butte. Who knew there were so many Oregon volcanoes?

portland volcano skyline views
Distant views of the skyline from atop the Portland volcano, Mt. Tabor.

Things To Do in Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon

Today, Mt. Tabor Park covers 190 acres of greenery and is a popular spot for people to go on sunny weekends to relax and play.

People go jogging and bring their kids to the playgrounds on the very land that was once the site of powerful magma eruptions.

harvey w scott statue

Near the top of the park sits an imposing statue, but it doesn’t honor a president or important historic or civil rights leader.

Instead, the bronze statue depicts Harvey W. Scott, the editor of the Oregonian newspaper in the late 1800s. Journalists getting their own statues? I can get behind this!

The statue was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum in the early 1930s, while he was working on Mt. Rushmore at the same time.

I spent most of my time in Mt. Tabor Park getting a taste of nature by hiking on the trails. It’s not easy to get lost here, with color-coded signs pointing the way and numerous trails that intersect.

mt tabor woods portland oregon volcanoes

The park has an off-leash area for dogs, so between the animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, it can be a pretty busy place.

Mount Tabor Park is located at SE 60th Ave. and Salmon St. So why not spend an afternoon on an old volcano in Portland?

Interested in reading more about Portland, Oregon? Try these articles:
My Favorite Weird Things To Do in Portland
Why I Love the Hawthorne District in Portland
Quirky Attraction: Mill Ends Park, the Smallest Park in the World!
Quirky Attraction: The Giant Adidas Shoes in Portland