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.
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.
Mt. Tabor Park
When’s the last time you walked on an extinct volcano? Located right inside city limits (just east of the shops and restaurants of Southeast Hawthorne), Mt. Tabor Park offers paved and natural-surface trails that wind through evergreen forest and to the top of the 636-foot (194 m) cinder cone, where you’ll enjoy great views of the city skyline. Challenge yourself with some reps up the stairs near Southeast 69th Ave. or circle the picturesque reservoirs on the park’s west side.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Minutes from downtown Portland, between the Willamette River and the Sellwood neighborhood, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a haven for birds and pedestrians. The park’s Bluff Trail connects to the Springwater on the Willamette for a 2.3-mile (3.7 km) loop that offers views of marshland that draws scores of great blue herons as well as the vintage rides of Oaks Amusement Park.
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.
Metro-area walking routes
One of the best ways to explore the Rose City is on two wheels.
If you’re looking for epic views and a unique perspective, look no further than the Portland Aerial Tram.
Beyond big trees and picnic tables, Washington Park offers a zoo, two museums, gardens and more, all bordered by one of the country’s premier urban wildernesses.