Dog Mountain by Amanda Leigh Smith in Portland, Oregon, USA

This photo was taken along the Dog Mountain hiking trail in the Columbia River Gorge area just about 45 minutes outside of Portland, on the Washington state side. The hike is about 7 miles round trip and goes up 2850 feet, giving you stunning views of the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains. It was taken in early July, so all the wildflowers were blooming. We hiked to the top then watched the sun set over the mountains. I’ve hiked it several times at different times of the year, and it’s one of my favorite places outside of Portland to go.

Name:Amanda Leigh Smith

Place you live: Portland, Oregon, USA

Place your photo was taken: Top of Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington side.

Can you sum up Portland? It is one of the most beautiful and interesting places I have ever been, filled with kind, intelligent, creative and inspiring people. It’s old, but filled with new ideas and completely surrounded by beautiful nature.

Occupation: Social Worker, Photographer

Preoccupation: Photography, Social Public Policy

A perfect day in Portland? Foggy morning, sunny afternoon, epic sunset, no rain.

If someone was visiting, what must they do? See the Columbia River Gorge, the coast, the International Rose Garden in the summer, go east of the Cascades into the desert.

A perfect meal in Portland? A steak at Laurelhurst Market.

What is the best thing about your spot? I appreciate most of the cultural and community values of my city, especially having spent most my life living in Houston, Texas – the complete opposite of all that is Portland. But the best thing is that I can travel not very far in any direction and see the most diverse and epically beautiful nature that doesn’t seem to compare to anywhere else in the US.

What is the worst? The rain can get old, but it makes everything lush and green, so I’ll take it.

Where is your favorite place in the world? Alvord Desert/Steens Mountains in Eastern Oregon and Big Sur, California.