Lucky Portlanders get to have it all: extensive bike lanes, great public transport and green spaces accessible by foot, bike, or bus. This makes it easier than ever to leave your car behind when you come to visit Portland.
From our location you can walk to Forest Park (via Washington Park, or the Lower McLeay Park), browse trees in the Hoyt Arboretum, do the 4T Hike and get those great Aerial Tram views all without much travel time. In this blog we focus on nature escapes you can walk from easily while staying in NW Portland. However there are a few honorable mentions at the bottom that are definitely worth checking out if you are wandering in another park of Portland.
Hoyt Arboretum: 12 miles of trail lace this wooded area that many call Portland’s Museum of Living Trees. Filled with native and foreign plants and trees from all over the world covering there are over 6,000 trees and over 2,000 different species of plant life, including 63 vulnerable and endangered species in this 189 acres refuge. Take the Red or Blue Line MAX to the Zoo Tunnel and take the elevator up. Once in the parking lot you will find signs pointing you to the World Forest Center and the Hoyt Arboretum.
Washington Park: This great green space is home to a number of trails and sub-parks. Home of many trails (the Wildwood, Beech, Magnolia, Oak, White Pine, Maple, Walnut, MAC, Redwood, Madison and many other trails in addition to an entry point to the 4T hike and the Pittock Mansion) you can spend hours here. In the Hoyt Arboretum alone there are 12 miles of trails. You can also find the Portland Children’s Museum, the Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Gardens as well as the Japanese Gardens and tons of other small finds like playgrounds, great view points and an archery range! By following the trails that connect the various locations within the park you really can spend all day here.
Forest Park: We think their own words say it best, “At 5,157 acres, Portland’s Forest Park is one of the largest urban forest in the United States. With more than 80 miles of soft-surface trails, fire lanes and forest roads, Forest Park stretches for more than seven miles along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains, overlooking Northwest Portland and the convergence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Forest Park offers an unparalleled opportunity for visitors to experience a true northwest forest without leaving the Portland city limits.”
4T Hike: The 4T Hike features, well, 4 ‘T’s. Utilizing the Train, the Trolley, the Trail and the Tram this hike takes you from SW Portland back down into NW where we are. This is a great hike because you get in some good sight seeing via the great views from the Tram as well as driving your way through the city on our various forms of public transportation.
Lower McLeay Park: From the Hostel you can take the #15 bus to 29th and Thurman to the Lower McLeay Park Trailhead. This moderate path winds up following a forest brook for much of the way. You can take this trail to one of Portland’s best view points, the Pittock Mansion. 3/4 of a mile up the path you come to to a split in the trail at the Witch’s Castle! You can walk up into this old stone structure where there used to be bathrooms, and before that a ranger station. At this point you can keep on the McLeay trail another 1/3 of a mile where you will come out near the Audubon Society or you can branch off onto the Wildwood Trail, one of Forest Parks most popular trails.
You can also check out Mt. Tabor Park, Powell Butte Nature Park, and Oaks Bottom Refuge in SE Portland, as well as the Spring Water Trail stretching the length of the city from SE to NE. In SW Marquam Nature Park is a great spot and in NE Pier Park and Peninsula Park are both great the latter being a smaller more traditional city park and the former more expansive and woodsy.
Anywhere you might have gone that we didn’t mention? Let us know!
Wildwood Trail in Washington Park