When visiting Portland, nature lovers should include the Forest Park in your itinerary.
You will be visiting one of the biggest urban forests in the country at 5,200 acres and more than 80 miles of trails, forest roads, and fire lanes. The Park stretches for more than seven miles overlooking Northwest Portland and along the east slope of Tualatin Mountains.
This is an exciting adventure which takes you on a true Northwest forest without having to leave Portland city limits.
The Forest Park is open daily from 5 am to 10 pm the whole year round. Here are some of the trails that you can take:
The Wildwood Trail
This trail has been declared as a National Recreation Trail that has 30.2 miles which starts from the south at Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington Park to the Northwest end of the trail at Newberry Road.
From the start of the trail, there are markings of blue diamond shaped blazes stenciled on trees around 6 feet high. These marking are seen every quarter mile while mile markers are placed around two feet above the blue diamond and show the distance from the Vietnam Memorial trailhead.
Leif Erikson Drive
This trail was once used by automobiles and is now a wide forest trail extending 112 miles from NW Thurman St to NW Germantown Road. Mile markers are seen on white concrete posts on the right side of the trail as you go north.
Native Americans have settled in the area now known as Forest Park 10,000 years ago. The first explorers arrived in the Willamette Valley with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806. Majority of Native American settlers in the area have been removed by state authorities in favor of the new European American explorers.
In 1903, the Olmsted brothers, John and Frederick, proposed that the densely wooded hills on top of northwest Portland be declared by the City as a “Forest Park.” The park almost turned into a large residential development in the early 20th century but was not continued due to its geological unsuitability.
Forest Park was dedicated in 1948 and is now protected and preserved by the Forest Park Conservancy.
Forest Park Guidelines:
- The Park is open to the public from 5 am to 10 pm daily
- The Wildlife and watershed at the park is always protected, always stay on the trail, don’t litter and follow rules for trail use
- Dogs must be on a leash when in the Park premises at all times
- Dog owners are should clean all dog trash and waste. Waste bags should not be left on the trails, no one will pick them up so you must bring them with you for proper disposal
- Forest Park is a city park, no camping, fires, fireworks, and firearms are allowed
- Keep your pets on a leash at all times and clean and remove pet waste from the park
- You can’t remove any plants or animals without permission, fishing and hunting are not allowed
- If you bring your vehicle to Forest Park, do not leave valuables inside. Motorized vehicles are not allowed inside the park
- Wedding and events are allowed just coordinate with Portland Parks and Recreation at 503-823-7259 to check if your event would require a permit
- Horseback and Cycling are allowed as long as you follow the trail guidelines for bikes and equestrian