Washington Park is one of the oldest and most popular parks in Portland.
The city of Portland is not a typical metropolitan city in the sense that it offers an abundance of scenic nature within the confines of the city. For visitors in Portland looking for a way to exercise and take in the sights, the parks are a great resource. With more than 100 parks in the greater Portland area, choosing a park can be a difficult task. Listed below are brief descriptions of nine parks in Portland that are worth visiting.
4000 SW Fairview Boulevard
6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Hoyt Arboretum consists of 185 ridgetop acres about two miles west of downtown. Offered are 12 miles of established trails including one-, two- or four-mile self-guided walks. The Arboretum is home to more than 1000 species of trees from all over the world. Dogs on leashes are allowed, and other amenities include a wheelchair accessible picnic area, restroom, gift shop, a natural area and unpaved paths.
NW 29th Avenue and Upshur Street to Newberry Road
5 a.m.-10 p.m.
Within the boundaries of Forest Park, more than 112 varieties of birds and 62 mammals can be found. 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 Gersham, through Southeast Portland, along the Williamette Greenway and back to the Marquam trail in Southwest Portland. Amenities include a natural area, guided tours, biking trails, horse trails, hiking trails and a vista point.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
SE 7th Avenue and Sellwood Boulevard
North parking lot closes at 10 p.m. Acreage: 140.94 Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a flood plain wetland located along the east bank of the Williamette River. Portland’s city bird, the great blue heron, is often spotted in this bird watching park, along with hawks, pintails, quail, mallards, coots, woodpeckers, kestrels and widgeons. Oaks Bottom amenities include a natural area, biking and hiking trails.
Powell Butte Nature Park
16160 SE Powell Boulevard
Seasonal hours: Fall and Spring 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Winter 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Summer 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Located in an extinct cinder cone volcano, Powell Butte rises near the headwaters of Johnson Creek, which is an urban creek with populations of native salmon and steelhead. Offered at Powell Butte are wheelchair access to bathrooms, a natural area, biking trails, hiking trails, horse trails and a vista point.
Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area
5300 North Marine Drive
Open from sunrise to sunset
Acreage: Approximately 2,000
Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is one of the largest protected wetlands within an American city. The wetlands house the largest remaining painted turtle population in Oregon, and more than 100 different types of birds have been recorded within the natural area. The wetland amenities include a natural area, paved paths, public art, hiking trails and a canoe launch.
Head of SW Park Place
5 a.m.-10 p.m.
Washington Park is one of the oldest and most popular parks in Portland. Attractions within the park include the chiming fountain, Lewis and Clark Memorial, the Oregon Holocaust Memorial, the Veterans Memorial, a bronze statue of Sacajawea, the International Rose Test Garden, Japanese Garden and the Portland Zoo. There is also a wheelchair accessible play area, restrooms, gift shop, paved and unpaved paths, picnic sites, playground, soccer fields, a stage and tennis courts.
Marquam Nature Park
SW Marquam Street and Sam Jackson Road
5 a.m.-midnight Acreage: 176.66
This is the third largest park within the Portland metro area, and more than five miles of hiking trails are offered. The park connects to the 40-mile loop system and also goes to Council Crest and the Oregon Zoo. Amenities include a natural area, paved paths and hiking trails.
Council Crest Park
SW Council Crest Drive
At 1,073 feet above sea level, Council Crest is one of the highest points in Portland. Hikers who venture to the top of Council Crest will be rewarded with spectacular views of Portland and the Cascade Range, which includes Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jeffers and Mt. Rainier. The park has an off-leash dog area, paved and unpaved paths, picnic tables, public art and a great vista point.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Naito Parkway between SW Harrison Street and NW Glisan Street
This park holds the Battleship Oregon Memorial, the Portland Police Memorial and the Japanese American Historical Plaza. One of the park’s most popular features is the Salmon Street Springs, which are controlled by an underground computer that alters the pattern of the 185 water jets. Amenities include a boat dock, wheelchair accessible restrooms paved paths, public art and biking trails.