Forest Park’s name is no exaggeration: this verdant space, which spans more than 5,200 acres (2,100 hectares, is one of the largest urban forested areas in the country. Located along the Willamette River on the northwestern edge of Portland, the park is known for its tranquil scenery, wealth of wildlife, and many hiking trails.
Formally established in 1948, Forest Park has been cherished by Portlanders and visitors as a tranquil urban oasis for generations. Home to over 80 miles (130 kilometers) of walking trails, the municipal park is also host to a thriving ecosystem of second-growth forest, hundreds of bird species, and numerous mammals, from bobcats to flying squirrels. It offers up a lovely dose of Pacific Northwest scenery—and best of all, it’s completely accessible from Downtown.
Guided hiking tours offer a thorough introduction to the park (and many of its highlight attractions), while general city sightseeing tours provide a more casual introduction to the area. For another perspective, take to the skies on a helicopter tour.
Things to know before you go
- Find your way using the Forest Park PDX smartphone app, which includes trail maps and other helpful information.
- Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
- There are several cycling trails in the park, and off-road biking is prohibited.
- The Audubon Society of Portland Sanctuary flanks the park and offers an introduction to the area’s avian life.
How to get there
As Forest Park stretches for a length of roughly 7 miles (11 kilometers), there are numerous entry points to access the park; if you’re coming from Downtown, one of the most popular places to begin your excursion is at the Lower Macleay Park trailhead. If you’re using public transportation, take the 16 or 63 bus lines.
When to get there
Forest Park is open every day of the year, from early morning until late evening. If you’re a first-time visitor, begin your hike in the morning to take advantage of the daylight and comfortable temperatures. That also gives you the freedom to stay for a longer hike than you’d initially planned.
The Wildwood Trail
Part of Portland’s 40-Mile Loop of walking trails, the Wildwood Trail is the longest in the park, and one of the most popular places to begin exploring. It stretches for upwards of 30 miles (50 kilometers) along the park’s entire length, and also links to Pittock Mansion—one of the city’s most popular heritage buildings.
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