Forest Park, at 5,200 acres, provides critical refuge for hundreds of native wildlife and plant species and acts as an important air and water filter. With more than 80 miles of trails, it also provides invaluable access to nature, exercise, and educational opportunities for the region.
Learn more about closures and postponements related to the COVID-19 pandemic response.
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!
One-Way Trail Loops
These loops are intended to reduce the chance of visitor interactions by creating a one-way traffic flow. You'll find maps and signs along each route.
Loop 1: Upper Macleay Loop
- Length: 1.25 miles
- Access from:
Upper Macleay Trailhead on NW Cornell Road
Wildwood Trailhead at Pittock Mansion parking lot
Loop 2: Wild Cherry/Dogwood Loop
- Length: 2 miles
- Access from:
Leif Erikson Drive on NW Thurman Street
Wildwood/Keil Trailhead on NW 53rd Drive
Wild Cherry/Dogwood Trailhead on NW 53rd Drive
Loop 3: Springville Loop
- Length: 4.75 miles
- Access from Upper Springville Trailhead off NW Skyline Blvd
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are these routes one-way?
One-way travel is a great way to reduce the number of times trail users have to pass each other on the trail. Offering one-way loop options in these high-use areas allows more people to use narrow trails with fewer interactions. These one-way loops will help us achieve 6-foot physical distance recommended by the Governor in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
What should I do if I see someone going the wrong-way?
You shouldn't feel responsible to enforce the one-way loop. You can politely ask someone if they are aware that they are on a one-way loop and inform them why this route is one-way. Kindness goes a long way and positive peer-to-peer interaction can be powerful.
Am I required to follow the one-way loop direction?
We are asking trail users to follow the recommended direction to provide a better and safer experience for everyone. As with face-coverings, we ask that everyone respect these rules to protect yourself and others.
How do I pass someone on the loop? I'm a runner, do I have to stay behind someone on the loop if I catch them?
If you are traveling faster, you may catch up to slower users and need to pass them. As you approach, call out to alert them to your presence. A friendly, “ Hi there, can I pass?” goes a long way. Make sure you have a face covering on. Continue forward, as far to one side of the trail as you can, stepping off, if needed, to pass.
I support one-way loops but want to go out-and-back on Leif Erikson, is that okay?
Absolutely! Along these routes, narrow trails, like Wildwood Trail, are one-way only. However, the roads and firelanes along each route are still open in both directions, since there's plenty of space to keep 6 feet of distance while passing.
Did my loop just change direction?!
Yes—we apologize for any confusion! Based on feedback, we changed the direction of two loops so the direction of travel on Wildwood Trail is consistent. The Upper Macleay Loop and the Springville Loop changed direction on October 9th. Now Wildwood Trail runs south to north in all three loops.
Can I still visit Pittock Mansion?
Definitely! Starting from the Upper Macleay Trailhead (Wildwood Trail at NW Cornell Rd), climb on Wildwood Trail all the way to Pittock Mansion. On your return trip, about half-way down, follow the one-way loop onto Upper Macleay Trail to return to NW Cornell Rd. Trips starting south of Pittock Mansion are not impacted by the one-way loop.
Can I still get to the Stone House?
Yes, you can! The Stone House is not on a one-way loop. Both the Lower Macleay and Upper Macleay Trailheads will get you there without using a one-way loop.
I start my run/walk/hike from the Wildwood Trailhead on NW 53rd Dr and want to go south on Wildwood. Can I still do that?
Yes, using a slightly different route! The one-way loop in that area begins about ¾ mile south of the Wildwood/NW 53rd trailhead, so that’s where Wildwood Trail changes to one-way, going in the south to north direction. You can always go out-and-back to there, but to continue your journey, you can either hop onto the one-way loop, dropping down Dogwood Trail to Leif Erikson and up Wild Cherry Trail OR from the trailhead, you can take Keil Trail to Wild Cherry Trail and continue heading south on Wildwood Trail from there.
The Springville loop is too long for me.
Luckily the Springville area has many loop options, so as long as you plan your loop in the counter-clockwise direction, you can take any of the connector trails down or up, using Wildwood Trail in between. Trillium, Firelane 7A, Ridge, and Hardesty Trails can be used to shorten the one-way loop to your desired length.
There are more than 40 access points to Forest Park. Popular trailheads and the trails they connect can be found on the Forest Park Trails Printable Map.
Traveling by Car
Parking conditions vary widely and have been categorized below by capacity. Many parking areas are shared with neighbors, so please be respectful and follow posted signage. Please also note that not all trails are served by parking facilities. Parking is free. Carpooling and ride hailing are encouraged, as most trailheads are rustic and have limited capacity.
ADA Accessible Parking
ADA accessible parking spaces are located at the Lower Macleay and Wildwood/Pittock Mansion Trailheads.
10 or Fewer Parking Spaces
- Leif Erikson/Thurman Trailhead
- Wild Cherry/Dogwood Trailhead
- Tunnel Trailhead
- Firelane 1/Forest Lane Trailhead
- Tolinda Trailhead
- BPA Trailhead
- Linnton Trailhead
- Firelane 15 Trailhead
11-20 Parking Spaces
- Birch Trailhead
- Wildwood/Keil Trailhead
- Upper Saltzman Trailhead
- Leif Erikson/Germantown Trailhead
- Upper Springville Trailhead
- Newton Trailhead
- Wildwood/Newberry Trailhead
More than 20 Parking Spaces
- Wildwood/Pittock Mansion Trailhead
- Lower Macleay Trailhead
- Upper Macleay and Macleay Park Trailheads
- Lower Saltzman Trailhead
- Wildwood/Germantown Trailhead
Neighborhood street parking may be available but is not reserved for park visitors. Please be respectful of neighbors and do not block driveway access.
- Leif Erikson/Thurman Trailhead
- Cumberland Trailhead
- Macleay Trailhead on NW Macleay Blvd
- Aspen Trailhead
- Lower Holman Trailhead (No parking on NW Holman Ln. Please park on NW Aspen Blvd.)
Traveling by Transit
The Lower Macleay, Leif Erikson/Thurman, Aspen, and Lower Holman Trailheads are a short walk from TriMet Line 15 stops.
TriMet Line 16 serves the Linnton Trailhead, Lower Firelane 1, and Lower Newton/BPA Trailheads.
Use TriMet’s Trip Planner to plan your trip and find current schedule and service information. All TriMet vehicles are ADA and stroller accessible. Children under 7 ride free. Adults over 65 get 50% off fare.
Traveling by Bike
Bike racks are located at the Lower Macleay and Leif Erikson/Thurman Trailheads. You can also ride into the park on Leif Erikson Dr and find more racks at Wild Cherry Trail, about a quarter mile from the Leif Erikson/Thurman Trailhead. Park your bike and go for a hike!
Please note that not all trails are open to bikes. More information on exploring the park by bike is in the Trails section, below.
Forest Park’s trails transport visitors from Portland’s urban core into more than 5,200 acres of native northwest forest. Anchored by the 30-mile Wildwood Trail, a National Recreation Trail, Forest Park’s trail network provides unparalleled recreation and transportation opportunities within Portland city limits.
Forest Park’s trails follow the gentle contours of the Tualatin Mountains. Wildwood Trail and Leif Erikson Drive run roughly parallel and are each marked with distance markers. Wildwood Trail’s blue diamonds mark the distance, every quarter mile, from its southern terminus at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington Park. White bollards lining Leif Erikson Dr mark the distance from the Leif Erikson/Thurman Trailhead at quarter mile intervals. The remaining trails, roads, and firelanes generally bisect these two routes, creating opportunities for loop and lollipop hikes.
Allowed uses vary within the park, though all trails are open to people on foot and dogs on-leash. To ensure you’re on the right trail, look for usage symbols posted at all trailheads and intersections. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if they are missing!
Dogs in Forest Park must be on-leash. Obeying leash laws keeps the park safe and healthy for other people, other dogs, and protects park land and wildlife. Off-leash dogs threaten wildlife and damage fragile habitat, like streams and native plants. Dog owners are responsible for packing out all trash and dog waste. Please do not leave waste bags by the side of the trail. No one will pick them up and it causes harm to the park’s ecosystem.
For those riding a bike, there are more than 25 miles of roads, firelanes, and trails open to bikes within Forest Park, including Leif Erikson Dr, Saltzman Rd, Springville Rd, and many firelanes. Firelane 5 has the park’s only narrow natural surface trail open to bikes and can be looped with Saltzman Rd and Leif Erikson Dr for as many circuits as you can take! E-bikes, electric scooters, and other motorized transport are not allowed in the park.
Nearly 25 miles of roads, firelanes, and trails are open to people on horseback. However, equestrian users should be aware that there is no designated horse trailer parking and parking areas can fill quickly.
Wildwood Trail is a 30-mile natural surface pedestrian trail that runs the length of Forest Park, from W Burnside Rd, where it enters Forest Park, to its northern terminus at NW Newberry Rd. From its more rugged northern end to its connections to popular destinations in the south, including Balch Creek Canyon, the Stone House, and Pittock Mansion, the Wildwood Trail can be part of an hour’s excursion or a full day hike, end-to-end—a popular challenge for long-distance hikers and runners!
The Wildwood Trail was dreamed up in the early 1980s by a group of visionary and committed volunteers and Portland Parks & Recreation staff. Through close collaboration between Portland Parks & Recreation and the Friends of Forest Park (now Forest Park Conservancy), property acquisitions, and hard work, it was completed in 1999, just following Forest Park’s 50th anniversary. It is a National Recreation Trail and a key segment of Metro’s Regional Trail Network.
Be aware that wind, rain, and high water can leave trails and roads a bit of a mess with hazards like downed trees, landslides, and flooding. Portland Parks & Recreation addresses weather-related impacts as soon as resources allow. Visit Trail Closures and Delays for current information.
Forest Park’s trails are primitive and can be steep, with average grades of 10%, average cross slopes of 7%, and natural obstacles up to 10 inches high.
Forest Park’s only ADA Accessible trail segment is located on the Lower Macleay Trail and can be accessed from the Lower Macleay Trailhead. The closest address is 2960 NW Upshur St. The segment, 0.2 miles and paved, travels from the open Lower Macleay Trailhead into the cool canopy of Balch Creek Canyon before ending at a viewing area looking out over Balch Creek. There are two accessible parking spaces at the Lower Macleay Trailhead.
There are ADA accessible parking spaces in the Wildwood/Pittock Mansion Trailhead parking lot, but no ADA accessible trail access from that location. The route from the parking lot to the Pittock Mansion grounds, which offer panoramic views of the city and mountains, is paved, but not ADA compliant. Visit the Pittock Mansion website for more information.
For information for people of all abilities about recreational trails in the Portland-Vancouver region, including a profile of the hike from the Hoyt Arboretum Visitor Center to Pittock Mansion, visit AccessTrails.
Forest Park is located on the northeast slope of Portland’s West Hills, the southernmost segment of the Tualatin Mountain Range. This narrow peninsula of land provides habitat connection all the way to the Oregon Coast Range. The park landscape is shaped by 30 miles of seasonal and perennial streams originating along the crest of the slope and draining east to the Willamette River. At nearly 8 miles long and 1 mile wide, the park encompasses nearly 5,200 acres between four major arterial roads: NW Newberry Rd, NW Skyline Blvd, W Burnside Rd, and NW St Helens Rd.
The park’s steep terrain and silty soils support a diversity of plant species. Forest Park’s community of plants is called a Westside Lowlands Coniferous-Hardwood Forest and has a canopy dominated by Douglas fir, big leaf maple, grand fir, red alder, Western red cedar, and Western hemlock. Ferns, forbs, and shrubs are common native plant types in the understory, including Polystichum munitum (sword fern), Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern), Acer circinatum (vine maple), Mahonia nervosa (Oregon grape), and Trillium ovatum (trillium).
The forest canopy, creeks, and terrain provide habitat to over 100 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, and 400 species of invertebrates. The park also contains three fish-bearing streams with resident (non-migrating) trout: Balch Creek, Saltzman Creek, and Miller Creek. Salmonids have been documented in Forest Park only within Miller Creek, confirming that there is fish passage to the Willamette River.
Approximately half of the park is in good ecological health, supporting native species and proper watershed function. The other half is significantly impacted by the presence of invasive species and weedy trees, most prominently ivy, clematis, non-native blackberry, laurel, and holly. This has resulted from a history of disturbance caused by logging, wildfire, and the park’s exposure to residential and urban development along its perimeter.
Renew Forest Park
Renew Forest Park is a 20-year initiative to invest holistically in the park’s ecological health, infrastructure, and public access.
Want to give back to the park you love? How about meet other people or explore new parts of Forest Park? Our Natural Area Volunteer Stewardship Program works with volunteers to restore natural area habitat and maintain trails for park visitors.
Our staff works hard to keep Forest Park’s trails safe and accessible. Please let us know if you encounter unsafe conditions, including:
- Downed trees blocking trails, roads, or firelanes
- Missing or damaged signage
- Hazardous trail conditions
Email email@example.com describing the issue, location, and your contact information, if you would like us to follow up with you.
Portland Parks & Recreation works hand in hand with Forest Park Conservancy (FPC) to help ensure Forest Park will remain safe and healthy for future generations. Forest Park Conservancy’s mission is focused on protecting Forest Park’s ecological health while encouraging responsible recreation and access.
Volunteers have always been at the heart of Forest Park Conservancy’s work. From administrative support to removing invasive plants and repairing trails, FPC could not do their work without the support of hard-working individuals, community groups, and businesses. To get involved, click here.
Forest Park Conservancy is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization and donations are critical to ensuring this partnership continues and our collective work is accomplished. To make a donation to support the Forest Park Conservancy, click here.
Portland Parks & Recreation works with many other community partners in managing Forest Park, as well, such as AccessRecreation, Friends of Trees, Hoyt Arboretum Friends, Pittock Mansion, and Portland Parks Foundation.
Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan (1995)
The Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan (NRMP) outlines a set of management guidelines to meet conservation, recreation, and education goals. Adopted in 1995 by City Council, it continues to provide the foundation for the work we do and the investments we make in the park.
Desired Future Conditions (2011)
The Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) identify five ecological goals for Forest Park, and provide targets for ecological conditions that will be used to build yearly work plans and long-term action plans. Along with the NRMP and the Ecological Prescriptions, it is a critical element of Forest Park’s overall ecosystem management strategy.
Ecological Prescriptions (2011)
The Ecological Prescriptions add more specificity to the DFC. For each ecological goal, a series of projects and practices are identified to accomplish that desired condition. Along with the NRMP and the DFCs, it is a critical element of Forest Park's overall ecosystem management strategy.
Wildlife Report (2012)
The Wildlife Report provides a broad description of Forest Park wildlife and detailed species information based on the best available data, whether historical, recent, anecdotal, or rigorously collected via research. The report also identifies gaps in our wildlife knowledge, identifies threats to wildlife, and defines next steps in the research and management of wildlife to address them.
Recreation Survey (2012)
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 increasing recreational demands with baseline data on the intensity of use, preferences, quality of existing park features, and demographics of surveyed park users.