In addition to navigating downtown, the Pearl District and Portland’s many other walker-friendly neighborhoods, your feet can take you to some fantastic places around town.
Just a short stroll from downtown hotels, the Waterfront Park/Eastbank Esplanade loop is a three-mile (4.8-kilometer) route along both sides of the Willamette River that offers walkers unparalleled views of downtown Portland and the river. The trail is accessible at any point between the Steel and Hawthorne bridges on the west side of the Willamette River. The closest MAX stations are Yamhill, Oak/SW 1st Ave, Skidmore Fountain and Old Town/Chinatown, all served by the Blue and Red lines. The Transit Mall, which carries the Yellow and Green MAX lines, as well as most downtown buses, is six blocks from the waterfront.
Forest Park, northwest of downtown, includes 70 miles of forested trails. Most trailheads are only accessible by car; the easiest access for those without cars is via Macleay Park, which is served by bus lines 15 and 17. From the park, it’s less than a mile’s hike to the 30-mile Wildwood Trail, which connects Forest Park, the Audubon Society Sanctuary, Pittock Mansion and Washington Park and is part of the region’s 40-Mile Loop system; for a shorter trek, try a 4-mile out-and-back from the Washington Park MAX station to the scenic Pittock Mansion or, for a more local loop, miles 9-11 are especially scenic, foot-friendly and easily accessed via N.W. 53rd Drive off of Cornell Road.
At Hoyt Arboretum, 2,000 species of plants and trees — more than in any other arboretum in the country — are showcased on 189 acres of hilly terrain within Washington Park. An interpretive center to this “living museum” offers restrooms, maps and brochures and a gift shop. The arboretum’s 21 trails cover 12 miles; two miles of trail are suitable for wheelchairs, baby strollers and visitors who appreciate firm footing. The arboretum visitor center is half a mile from the Washington Park MAX station (served by the Blue and Red lines); however, several trails are very close to the station. The arboretum is also accessible via bus line 63 and the Washington Park Shuttle.
The 4T trail is a self-guided tour that lets you explore the city — and see some of the best views — without a car. All it takes is about four hours, five dollars and a bit of leg power. The route is well marked with signs, and includes about 2.5 miles of walking.
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