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Forest Park

Natural area

With its massive tree canopy and substantial undergrowth, the park serves as a natural air purifier, water collector, and erosion controller. An abundance of wildlife (more than 112 bird and 62 mammal species) can be found in Forest Park.

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COVID-19 related information

Learn more about closures and postponements related to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Natural Area Trail Etiquette

A graphic illustrating proper physical distancing while on Portland Parks trails.

For the safety of all visitors, the following trail etiquette is now required in all Portland Parks & Recreation natural areas: 

  • Keep six feet distance. Stop and step off-trail when needed.
  • Wear a face covering. Do your part to protect our community.
  • Pass with caution and care. Faster users must pass with courtesy.
  • Leave no trace. Leash your dog and pack out dog waste – it's the law!

Forest Park - One-Way Trail Loops

PP&R has developed a one-way trail loop pilot in Forest Park. These are intended to reduce the chance of visitor interactions by creating a one-way flow of traffic. Visitors will find maps and signs along each route.

Loop 1: Wildwood/Upper Macleay

  • Length: 1.75 miles
  • Access from:
    Upper Macleay Trailhead on NW Cornell Rd
     Wildwood Trailhead at Pittock Mansion parking lot

Loop 2: Leif Erikson/Wild Cherry/Wildwood/Dogwood/Leif Erikson

  • Length: 2.75 miles
  • Access from:
    Leif Erikson Dr on NW Thurman St
    Wildwood/Keil Trailhead on NW 53rd Dr
    Dogwood/Wild Cherry Trailhead on NW 53rd Dr

Loop 3: Springville/Wildwood/Trillium/Firelane 7A

  • Length: 4.75 miles
  • Access from:
    Upper Springville Trailhead off NW Skyline Blvd

About Forest Park

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 waterline. 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.


Barbara Walker Crossing Project

In 2014, the Portland Parks Foundation adopted the project and partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation, the Portland Bureau of TransportationMetro, and hundreds of Portlanders to bring the bridge to life.

Visit the Barbara Walker Crossing project page on the Portland Parks Foundation website to learn more.

Barbara Walker Crossing  Bridge

Forest Park Bridge Replacement

Thanks to funding from the voter-approved Parks Replacement Bond, this project replaced bridges at three locations on the Lower Macleay, Maple, and Wildwood Trails in Forest Park. This project is also part of the Renew Forest Park initiative.

Visit PP&R's main trail closures page to find information about other trail closures in Forest Park.

Bridge Design: ESA Vigil-Agrimis, Grummel Engineering, Fieldwork Design

Project Schedule

Winter 2015 - Summer 2016
Design Process, Public Involvement, and Permitting

Fall 2016 - Spring 2017
Final Permitting and Bidding

June 2017 - March 2018
Construction

July 2018
Removal of old bridge abutments, end of construction work


Forest Park Trailheads

Newberry Road: Trailhead access for the end (30.1 mile) of Wildwood Trail. Limited parking, pedestrian access only.

Newton Road: Provides access to Newton Road & Firelane 10. This area is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians. Provides pedestrian access to Wildwood Trail via a short connector trail. Small parking lot at trailhead.

Germantown: Wildwood Trail Trailhead access to Wildwood/Canon Trail for pedestrians only. Parking available on both sides of Germantown.

Upper Springville Road: Small parking lot and turn around which provides access to Springville Road and Firelane 7. Springville is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians; FL7 is open only to pedestrians and equestrians. Also nearby are the Hardesty, Trillium, and Ridge Trails which are pedestrian access only.

Ridge Trail: Roadside pullout with minimal parking trailhead access from Ridge Trail, which is open only to pedestrian use. To find the trailhead, park at the obvious pull-out on the way down Bridge Ave, roughly 0.2 mile, to find actual trailhead which is closer to bridge’s western terminus.

Upper Saltzman & Firelane 5: Small trailhead parking area provide access to pedestrian and bike use.

Lower Saltzman Road: Access to Saltzman Road, which climbs through the park up to NW Skyline Blvd. Open to pedestrians and cyclists. This trailhead also provides the most direct access to the Maple Trail, which is open only to pedestrians.

Forest Lane: Firelane 1 Trailhead access to FL1, which is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians. Follow Forest Lane until it dead-ends at a gate and find parking along the road (without blocking the gate). Equestrian access with a trailer can be problematic as turn-around space is limited.

NW 53rd at Birch Trail/Holman Lane: The trailhead for Birch Trail, which is only open to pedestrian use. The Birch Trail intersects with the Wildwood Trail in 0.22 miles. It also provides access to Holman Lane, which is open to pedestrians and cyclists (riding uphill only).

NW 53rd at Dogwood & Wild Cherry Trails: Trailhead access for the Dogwood & Wild Cherry Trails, both of which are open only to pedestrian use.

Thurman: Leif Erikson Drive Provides access to Leif Erickson Drive which is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians. Equestrian access is not recommended from this trailhead as parking is limited. Also nearby is the Wild Cherry Trail which is open only to pedestrians.

Germantown: Leif Erikson Drive Provides access to the 11-mile Leif Erikson Drive which is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians.

Aspen Trail: This trailhead provides access to the Aspen Trail, which is only open to pedestrians. The Aspen Trail connects to the Wildwood Trail in 0.23 miles. Parking is limited to on-street.

Lower Macleay Park: One of Forest Park's most popular entry points, this trailhead provides access to the Lower Macleay Trail, which is only open to pedestrian use. This trail parallels Balch Creek, one of Forest Park's few year-round streams, which supports a resident population of cutthroat trout. You can access the Wildwood Trail .84 mile up this trail, which also happens to be the location of the Stone House, a remnant rest station from the WPA era.  Holman Lane This trailhead provides access to the lower end of Holman Lane, which is open to cyclists riding uphill only. There is a maintained meadow near the trailhead, a unique feature in Forest Park.

Upper Macleay Park: Trailhead access to the Wildwood Trail, which is only open to pedestrian use. Parking is only available on the north side of the road. You can travel in either direction on the Wildwood – north (dropping into Balch Creek) or south (cross NW Cornell and begin the steep climb to Pittock Mansion).

Pittock Mansion Area: Access to Pittock Mansion, and to the Wildwood Trail heading north and south from this location. As you might imagine, the trail quickly loses elevation in both directions.

Tunnel & Cumberland Trails: Trailhead access for the Tunnel and Cumberland Trails, both of which are open only to pedestrian use.


Renew Forest Park

Renew Forest Park is a 20-year initiative that includes three critical components: Restore, Rebuild, and Reconnect.


Forest Park Management Initiatives

Desired Future Condition
A critical aspect of the 1995 Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan, the Desired Future Condition (DFC) and Forest Park Ecological Prescriptions will provide targets for ecological conditions that will be used to build yearly work plans and long-term action plans.

Security and Safety
Portlanders are calling for better management and enforcement of park rules. Issues with camping, off-leash dogs, illegal trails, and other activities require the attention of a full-time staff member with enforcement capability. A park ranger has been dedicated to Forest Park.

Recreation Survey
PP&R worked with Portland State University's Survey Research Lab to complete a Forest Park Recreation Survey. The survey provides objective data about use within the park to help the bureau better manage the increasing recreational demands on the park with baseline data on the intensity of use, preferences, quality of existing park features, and demographics of typical park users.

Budget Planning and Funding Sources
The Portland City Club, as a whole, voted to support the Forest Park Study Committee report and establish an advocacy committee. To help inform their advocacy work, Commissioner Fish appointed a Study Committee member to the FY 2011/12 PP&R Budget Advisory Committee.


Forest Park Conservancy

Volunteers have always been at the heart of Forest Park Conservancy. From working in the office to removing invasive plants and repairing trails, we could not do our work without the support of hard-working, caring people, community groups, and businesses. Each year, FPC recruits and trains 2,000 volunteers who log more than 7,000 hours in Forest Park.

Go to Forest Park Conservancy for additional trail information, and opportunities to get involved.

Accessibility Notes

ADA and accessibility notes here

Size in acres

5099.68

Year acquired

1947

History

In 1803, William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) paddled far enough up the Willamette River to see Forest Park's present location. He described this forest as having Douglas fir as its predominant tree, with trunks ranging from five to eight feet in diameter.

From almost the earliest time of subsequent European settlement along the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, the vision of a great natural park along the eastern slope of Portland's northwest hills, which Native Americans called the Tualatin Mountains, was pursued over the years by various civic leaders. The first of these visionaries was the Reverend Thomas Lamb Eliot who arrived in Portland in 1867. His persistence led to the formation of the Municipal Park Commission of Portland in 1899. The Commission brought in the famous landscape architecture firm, Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, to prepare a park planning study for the City in 1903. Their recommendations included the development of the 40-mile Loop and the acquisition of the wooded hills west of the Willamette River for a park with a wild, woodland character. In their report, they maintained that "...a visit to the woods would afford more pleasure and satisfaction than a visit to any other sort of park..." and "...no use to which this tract of land could be put would begin to be as sensible or as profitable to the city as that of making it a public park."

Frederick Van Voorhies Holman, a prominent lawyer in Portland during the 1890s and a president of the Oregon Historical Society, donated a 52-acre parcel to what would become Forest Park. Part of the Holman property had been flushed down to Guild's Lake by Lafe Pence's flume in 1909. After Pence was brought to task, Holman had a plaster of paris scale model made of the property to estimate how much it would cost to return the property to its original contours in order to develop it. Discouraged by the City from taking such a great risk, he offered the property as a park if the property between it and Macleay Park were acquired. The property was donated to the city by his siblings George F. and Mary Holman on August 16, 1939.

Various setbacks delayed the formation of the forested park, including rumors of oil existing in the hillside, until the City Club of Portland undertook a feasibility study which it published in 1945. From there the 'Committee of Fifty' civic leaders persevered until 4,200 acres were formally dedicated as Forest Park in late September 1948. Additional acres have been added over the years; Forest Park now includes over 5,100 wooded acres making it the largest, forested natural area within city limits in the United States.

In 2017-18, bridges were replaced at three locations on the Lower Macleay, Maple, and Wildwood Trails in Forest Park with funding from the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond.

Images
Forest Park Sun Shining Through Trees

Park Location or Entrance

Forest Park main entrance
NW 29th Avenue and Upshur Street to Newberry Road
Portland, OR

Open hours

Park hours: 5:00am-10:00pm Forest Park is a city park, therefore no fires, camping, fireworks, or firearms are permitted.

For current trail closures and delays in Forest Park, please click here.

Forest Park Topographic Trail Map (35 MB)

Upcoming construction

Forest Park Entrance and Nature Center

Construction slated to begin in Spring 2021

Past construction

Barbara Walker Crossing

Completed October 2019

Park amenities/activities

Trails (Biking)
Trails (Equestrian)
Trails (Hiking)
Tours (Guided)
Visitor Attraction
Vista Point

City section

Downtown