View of Portland's skyline from Pittock Mansion. Photo by Joe Gooding.
By Jon Shadel
With its 5,157 acres of urban wilderness, Forest Park is a refuge for adventure seekers of all kinds, including runners, hikers, mountain bikers, dog walkers and even equestrians. But with 80 miles of trails winding through the park, choosing a starting point for a quick jaunt can prove to be a challenge for first-time hikers. Thankfully, one of the most easily accessible routes — the in-town hike from Northwest Portland to the historic Pittock Mansion — is also one of the most scenic.
Start this moderate, five-mile round-trip trek at Lower Macleay Park, located at the west end of Northwest Upshur Street just past 29th Avenue. Walk under the Thurman Street Bridge toward a red sculpture where the Lower Macleay Trail begins. Follow this path, which traces Balch Creek, for nearly a mile until it connects with the Wildwood Trail. An abandoned, moss-covered structure, referred to as the Stone House, marks the intersection. Pause here for a moment to stretch your legs before continuing straight on the Wildwood Trail for the ascent to Upper Macleay Park.
For the final stretch, cross Northwest Cornell Road and continue uphill on the meandering Wildwood Trail. The trail zigzags for a half-mile among towering conifers until it reaches Pittock Mansion, perched nearly 1,000 feet above the city and offering panoramic views of Portland’s skyline. If you have time, linger for a moment in the immaculate gardens or take a tour of this 100-year-old home of newspaper tycoon Henry Pittock before returning to the bustle of urban life.
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