Explore Portland’s Forest Park
Portland, Oregon is home to some of the most enchanting urban forest reserves in the U.S., providing residents with tons of opportunities to embark on unforgettable outdoor adventures where they can breathe in the fresh air and soak in panoramic views.
Portland’s sprawling 5,200-acre Forest Park in particular, is one of the country’s largest urban forests, making it a perfect destination for anyone looking forward to a relaxing hike through an incredible landscape filled with soaring woods, rushing creeks, and an abundance of wildlife. Known as “America’s Premier Urban Forest,” Forest Park features more than 80 miles of trails, forest roads, and fire lanes. The park stretches for over seven miles across the Tualatin Mountains’ eastern slope, treating visitors to captivating views of Northwest Portland and the convergence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
Here are some directions to trailheads and hiking routes we’ve compiled for your next visit to Forest Park. To help you find your way around the park, here’s a printable map that shows all Forest Park trails, roads, and fire lanes.
The Big Stump
(2 to 6 miles, 2-mile loop for all ages, 6-mile loop best for hikers 7 years and above)
From Skyline Blvd., turn on Springville Rd. and look for a parking area where you’ll find the Wildwood trailhead. Hike along Fire Lane 7 which will take you to the Hardesty Trail where you’ll be able to reach “The Big Stump.”
On your way back, you can either retrace your previous route or continue hiking by looping to the Wildwood Trail which will take you to Ridge Trail and eventually back to Fire Lane 7. The shorter, two-mile route takes a little under two hours to complete, and a few hours more if you’re going for the six-mile loop.
Lowe Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion
(5.3 miles, 6 years old and above)
This hike is a little more challenging as it features an elevation gain of almost a thousand feet, and the 5.3-mile length in a natural environment is definitely nothing to scoff at, but it’s sure to provide an unforgettable experience!
Look for street parking close to the park entrance along Upshur and NW 29th. The trail runs on a paved path located parallel to a scenic river bank. Along the way, you’ll be able to reach the mysterious “Stone House,” which makes for a nice souvenir photo. From there, you can continue your hike along Wildwood Trail, which will eventually take you to Pittock Mansion, where you’ll be able to soak in breathtaking views of the city.
(1 mile, all ages)
The Wildwood-Newton Loop is a short, easy trail that’s perfect for families with little children. You can reach the trailhead from Skyline Blvd. and then NW Newton Rd., where you’ll find a parking area. From here, look for signs towards Wildwood Trail. Along the trail, turn right onto Fire Lane 10, which will take you back to the starting point. You’ll be able to find a hollowed-out tree along the trail, which makes for a fun photo op with kids.
NW Skyline Blvd. to BPA Road
(2 miles, all ages)
This one’s another easy yet slightly longer trail that’s perfect for hikers looking forward to a nice picnic along the way. Once you get to BPA Road, search for signs towards Fire Lane 13, which will take you to an area with picnic tables – an excellent spot to enjoy a picnic surrounded by panoramic views. On clear days, you’ll be able to get a picture-perfect view of Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens from this spot.
Safety guidelines and trail etiquette
Before you visit Forest Park, take a look at these health and safety guidelines required in all Portland Parks and Recreation natural areas:
- Maintain a distance of six feet at all times – Step away from the trail if needed, and alert other hikers of your presence in case you need to pass.
- Wear a face covering – The coronavirus primarily spreads through the transmission of respiratory droplets, so wearing a mask will help protect you and other visitors from potential transmission.
- Leave no trace – Keep your dog on a leash at all times, and pick up and dispose of their waste properly.
- Sanitize – Remember to wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after visiting the park.
Need more information on Forest Park? For the latest updates, maps and directions, contact details, and other helpful information, visit Forest Park’s official website.