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Forest Park

Natural Area
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.
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One-Way Trail Loops

In light of the guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coupled with reopening strategies for Multnomah County, PP&R has discontinued the One-Way Loop system piloted in Forest Park. These loops were intended to reduce visitor interactions by creating a one-way traffic flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has given us an opportunity to recognize how essential natural area and park access is to keep our community healthy and centered. We thank everyone who has done their part to make this outdoor access feel and be safer for Forest Park's users.


Visiting

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 

On-street Parking 
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 Drive 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. 


Trails

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 Drive 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 
Allowed uses vary within the park, though all trails are open to people on foot and dogs on a leash. To ensure you’re on the right trail, look for usage symbols posted at all trailheads and intersections. Email parktrails@portlandoregon.gov to let us know if they are missing! 

Dogs in Forest Park must be on a leash. Obeying leash laws keep 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 Drive, Saltzman Road, Springville Road, and many firelanes. Firelane 5 has the park’s only narrow natural surface trail open to bikes and can be looped with Saltzman Road and Leif Erikson Drive for as many circuits as you can take! Motorized mobility devices are allowed for people with disabilities. Beyond this exception, 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 
Wildwood Trail is a 30-mile natural surface pedestrian trail that runs the length of Forest Park, from W Burnside Road, where it enters Forest Park, to its northern terminus at NW Newberry Road. 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

Trail Closures
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. 


Accessibility 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. Motorized mobility devices are allowed in the park for people with disabilities.

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 Street. The 0.2-mile segment of the paved trail 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


Natural History

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.


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.


Giving Back 

Volunteering 
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.   

Reporting 
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 parktrails@portlandoregon.gov describing the issue, location, and your contact information, if you would like us to follow up with you.  

Partners 
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 AccessRecreationFriends of TreesHoyt Arboretum FriendsPittock Mansion, and Portland Parks Foundation


Management Documents 

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. 

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.  

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.  

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.  

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.

Size in acres

5099.68
Images
Forest Park Sun Shining Through Trees

In this Park Facility

Open hours

Park hours: 5:00 am-10:00 pm

Permitted activities include pedestrian use on all trails; cycling and equestrian use on designated trails. Motorized mobility devices allowed for people with disabilities. Dogs on-leash only.

Prohibited activities include off-leash dogs, fires, drones, motorized vehicles, camping, fireworks, hunting and fishing, and possession of firearms.

Accessibility Notes: The Lower Macleay Trailhead has 2 ADA-accessible parking spaces and 0.2 mi of ADA-accessible paved trail. 

Upcoming Events

Location
Location
Location

Contact

Portland Park Rangers Call Center

PP&R Public Safety

Kendra Petersen-Morgan

Natural Areas Supervisor

Upcoming construction

Forest Park Entrance completion expected spring 2022

Past construction

Completed October 2019

News and notices

Updated

Park amenities/activities

Vista Point
Trails (Biking)
Trails (Equestrian)
Trails (Hiking)

City section

Downtown
NW