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One Adventure After Another!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Walking Forest Park

Despite my injured neck, I've been itching to walk!  I need to drop about 20 pounds and chelate the last two years' worth of chemicals that my body is housing. The Arboretum in Portland has a few nice trails, but I"m at the point where I really want to walk farther than 2 miles each trek. Portland has some wonderful walking trails, many of them in Forest Park.

Forest Park is a public park in the Tualatin Mountains west of downtown Portland, Oregon. It is the largest wooded city park in the United States, and covers more than 5,100 acres (2,064 ha) of mostly second-growth forest with a few patches of old growth.  There are about 70 miles (110 km) of recreational trails crisscrossing the park. 

An abundance of wildlife (more than 112 bird and 62 mammal species) can be found in Forest Park. In the spring, hillsides sparkle with trilliums amidst the sword ferns; hundreds of other kinds of flowers and shrubs bloom during the year. With its massive tree canopy and substantial undergrowth, the park serves as a natural air purifier, water collector, and erosion controller.

The 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park is part of the region’s 40-Mile Loop system that links Forest Park to pedestrian and trail routes along the Columbia River to Gresham, through southeast Portland, along the Willamette Greenway, and back to the Marquam Trail in southwest Portland. A landmark on the trail is the Stone House. This structure was built in the mid-1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a public restroom. The infamous Columbus Day storm on October 12, 1962, took out the water line. Because the structure had been heavily vandalized over the years, the decision was made to gut the building rather than embark on costly repairs. It remains as a favorite spot to rest along the trail.
8 year old Eleanor walked the full 30 mile Wildwood Trail in 3 days!
There are markers on the trees every 1/4 mile and I was able to know exactly how far I was walking. Because my neck is so painful right now, I didn't want to jar it too much. This is only my second day trekking since I arrived in Portland, and I'm really out of shape. So I kept my walk to approximately 3.5 miles yesterday.  My plan is to try to walk two or three times each week and to slowly increase my distance.

Since there is no camping in the park, it's easiest to break the trails into manageable pieces. That is simple, since access to the trails can be found all around the perimeter. 

When 8 year old Eleanor decided to challenge the 30 mile Wildwood trail, they broke it up into 3 sections, staying at a hotel the first night, at a friend's house the second night, then walking to their own home the 3d night. Not bad for an 8 year old! See the whole story at this blogspot link. 

If you're in Portland, Oregon and you like to walk, be sure to trek a section or two of this lovely trail system. Drive or take the bus or MAX up to the Arboretum near the Portland Zoo, where you can pick up trail guides for free at the Arboretum Visitor's Center.

Time to get back in shape!
Let's WALK!


  1. I'll have to focus on this more. I've mostly ignored Forest Park in my hiking plans. Will have to change that.

  2. I saw a great book at Powell's that lists all the trails in Forest Park. I'm going to try to pick it up when I get paid next.


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