When I first moved to Portland, I rented an apartment in NW Portland as it seemed so convenient to get to work as well as it felt such a nice #placetobe. The combination of being walking distance to the city center, having the chance to always do a little neighborhood shopping and the fact of being so close to forest park sealed the deal for me.
Upon today NW is still one of my #placestobe in Portlandia and one of my favorite half day activities is definitely a little hike in forest park accompanied by a brunch, lunch or coffee afterwards.
One option is to park your car somewhere on NW Thurman Street. If you like to fuel up before the walk, get yourself a coffee, a snack and fill up your water bottle at the Dragonfly Coffeehouse and take it from there.
Walk up Thurman Street until you reach Lower Macleay Park. Take the stairs down to the park and turn to the left walking into forest park. If you like stop at the directional signs and get an overview of the trails.
Keep walking uphill, just follow the little creek for about 1.5 – 2.0 miles before you reach the top of Upper Macleay Park. At this point you need to make a decision how much more time you have and how much longer you like to keep going.
It’s totally fine to either just turn around and take the same way back down ( looks totally different as your perspective changes and you will recognize things you haven’t seen before).
The other option is to follow Cornell Road for 0.3 – 0.5 miles walking downhill towards Lovejoy St. You can either keep on walking Cornell or you take one of the stair walks ( you can miss them – coming up on your left). Make sure you enjoy the great panoramic view while walking down.
If you feel fit and you like to make this even more of a work out, cross Cornell Road when arrived at Upper Macleay Park and follow the signs “wildwoodtrail + Pattock Mansion”.
It’s another 2.0 – 2.5miles till you arrive at Pittock Mansion. The visitor platform provides you with a great view all over the city and the benches will invite you to take a break, make a pick nick or just hang out for a little while.
Passing Pittock Mansion easily follow the signs for Washington Park, Hoyt Arboretum and Japanese Garden while continuing your walk on Wildwood Trail. You can’t miss it.
You will have to cross two streets (high traffic), so please be careful but all other you are in pure nature, sometimes it almost feels like a jungle and you are just by yourself.
It will be another 1.5 – 2.0 miles till you arrive at the top of the Japanese Garden. If you feel like a tea, get yourself a treat at the brand new tea house in the garden. It’s beautiful inside out.
Another option is to stroll through Portland’s International Test Rose Garden. Depending on the season, it’s just beautiful, even you are not the biggest flower lover ;-).
No matter if you decided to take the shorter route or went for a longer hike, end your day with a well deserved treat or meal. There are all kinds of options on 23rd Ave as well as 21st Ave.
I like Lovejoy backers on 23rd place, Jo Bar or a something more substantial at Besaw’s, Café Nell or Serrato (just to name a few options) but you can also just wonder 21st or 23rd street and I am sure you will find something….it’s also a very pleasing option to stop by one of the nail places located in the area and get yourself a foot massage or pedi after the hike ;-).
Long story short – you can totally customize your urban hike the way you want and it will always fit in. It’s just such a refreshing, different experience and you almost forget that you are still in the middle of a vibrating city!
PS: Of course you can also make this a great trail run if you like, but please keep in mind that mountain biking is not allowed on most of the trails.