Oregon is for hikers.
Even if you live in the Rose City — or you’re just visiting — there are countless trails waiting to be explored just out your front door. With more than 5,000 acres of greenspace and 80 miles of soft-surface trails, Portland’s Forest Park — the largest urban forest in the U.S. — is calling you.
Let’s just say Portland’s got it made. There’s no shortage of ways to take this all in, but here are 16 ideas to get you started. (Note: Many of the links below go to MapMyHike routes, which were logged by MapMyHike users — exact routes and distances may differ slightly.)
This is a precious gem of Portland that you’re probably not taking advantage of as much as you should. The Maple Trail, in particular, is amazing. It’s a quiet route, perfect for a hike on a whim after a day cooped-up in the office. For an easy 4-mile jaunt, begin at the Lower Saltzman Road Trailhead and turn back once you hit Leif Erikson Drive. For a longer, more challenging loop, continue along the Wildwood Trail for 7.7 miles, circling back to the trailhead.
Clear your calendar or call off work. Elowah Falls needs your attention. It’s a quick 1.2-mile trek with ample reward — consider combining this one with another nearby hike for a full day of exploring. Stand at the footbridge while you’re surrounded by towering rocks speckled with neon green moss and feel the mist on your face as the falls crash down from nearly 300 feet above. On a quiet day, this is one of the most peaceful settings imaginable.
MACLEAY PARK TO PITTOCK MANSION
Get your nature fix and work up a sweat without having to leave town. Starting at Lower Macleay Park Trailhead, climb 800 feet up to Pittock Mansion — the 22-room Victorian-era icon and long-ago residence of Henry Pittock, the onetime publisher of The Oregonian. Tour the interior for $10, or just peek through the windows as you explore the flower-laden grounds and sweeping Portland views. After hiking back down to the trailhead, head for the bar — join your friends for happy hour at one the hot spots on NW 23rd Avenue.
EAGLE CREEK TO PUNCHBOWL FALLS