Forest Park Wildwood Trail

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Overview

Trail Features

Dogs
Allowed
Fees
None
Kids
Allowed
Route
Point-to-Point
Users
Hikers Only
Length
30.2
Parking
Yes
Surface
Dirt and Rock
Bathrooms
Yes
Elevation
2,755
Difficulty
Advanced
Trail hours
5 am - 10 pm
Parking hours
5 am - 10 pm
Water fountains
None
Vending machines
None

*Note: A section of the WIldwood Trail is closed through Fall 2019 between Pittock Mansion and the Hoyt Arboretum for construction of a pedestrian bridge.

Forest Park Wildwood Trail is a 30-mile point-to-point hike in Portland Oregon, making it the longest forested urban trail in the United States. Because of the length, most completing the trail in a day will bring a friend and use a two car shuttle, leaving a car at Wildwood Trailhead and Newberry Road Trailhead. While difficult for its length, Wildwood Trail's elevation gain is moderate and rarely-to-never steep. Those seeking a shorter hike or with children can use multiple cut-in spots along the trail to explore different segments of the Wildwood Trail as an out-and-back hike. Blue diamond markers mark the trail every quarter of a mile.

Wildwood Trail overlooks the Willamette River as it travels through the Tualatin Mountains, passes through Forest Park, and passes through the Hoyt Arboretum and its Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The trail is year-round, but if hiking during the wet season be prepared for a lot of mud! There are bathrooms available at times along the trail, such as through the arboretum or Pittock Mansion. Dogs are allowed if leashed.

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Description

Most choose to begin the Forest Park Wildwood Trail at the Newberry Road Trailhead. The trail is a thick forest canopy of red alder, big-leaf maple, and Douglas fir trees. Cross a footbridge at the 30-mile marker as you move into a deep gully. After crossing a few creeks, cross Firelane 15 and through another gully. After you cross the B.P.A. Road turn left, where the Wildwood Trail resumes in 40 yards.

You’ll come along Newton Creek as the next creek crossing. There are vine maples and ferns along the trail, and tall Douglas firs. Cross Newton Road to find Newton Road Trailhead. Through this section of the hike you will cross Firelane 10 and more streams and gullies. Passing the junction with Firelane 8, you will enter another gully before coming to Germantown Road. From here find the Germantown Road Trailhead.

Follow the trail past junctions with Cannon Trail and the four-way junction with Waterline Road. At Springville Road the trail resumes 20 yards downhill. From here to the Wildwood-Trail/Firelane 7 junction the forest features Douglas firs, maples, and alders. Underneath growth includes ferns and holly. Moving past the Firelane 7 Junction you continue through gullies until passing over Firelane 5. Once you’ve reached the Wildwood Trail-Salzman Road Junction you are just past the halfway point of the trail!

Traverse more forested gullies and two more Firelane trails before coming to the Wildwood-Maple Trail junction. At the next Firelane junction, Firelane 1, there are a few picnic tables. From here you hike around the east side of the ridge passing several well-marked trail junctions, also passing over many creeks.

Once you move past the Holman Lane junction, you will descend towards Balch Creek. In the fall, bright yellow vine maples decorate the trail. You can also see the tallest tree in Portland as you near the creek on the Lower Macleay Trail; the Douglas fir stands at 242 feet high and is 17.3 feet around. Pass an ominous Stone House and come to the junction with Lower Macleay Trail; here, keep right on the Wildwood Trail as you continue up along the creek bed. At Macleay Park Trailhead you will have to cross Cornell Road to continue uphill on the Wildwood Trail. Traveling up, you’ll be able to see the Pittock Hill water tank after the Wildwood-Upper Macleay Trail Upper Junction. Once you reach the upper parking area for Pittock Mansion you’ve made it to the high point of the hike. From Pittock, a new trail has been constructed after a slide. Head down the south slope of Pittock Hill, passing the 3 ½ mile marker. There is an unmarked trail to Valle Vista Terrace to the right; after two switchbacks down to a gravel road you are at a closed section of Verde Vista Terrace. Walk under a graffitied wall supporting the road and turn down a gully. Here you have to cross Burnside Road until the new Barbara Walker Crossing bridge is completed in 2019.

After a gentle ascent you will be entering the Hoyt Arboretum and taking a left at a trail junction. Heading down to Johnson Creek and over the footbridge, keep left at the junction with Creek Trail. Once you’ve reached Fairview Boulevard and the junction with Fir Trail, cross Fairview and hike down to the junction with Oak Trail; stay left. After crossing Upper Cascade Drive and then Cascade drive you’ll reach Beech Trail and the Winter Garden. Moving towards the Japanese Gardens the trail enters Washington Park. Hiking above the Japanese Garden, you can get glimpses of the garden’s paths and koi ponds. Continuing through the park, you’ll pass the park’s Archery Range before rising back into the woods climbing towards the ridgecrest. Once past Holly Trail Junction, you cross Knights Boulevard and stay right above the staircase before reaching the junction with Hemlock Trail. Take a left to move under more Douglas firs and big-leaf maples. Keep to the right and then to the left for the next two junctions that pass the junction with the Marquam Trail. At the next road intersection you should see the Wildwood Trailhead!

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History

Wildwood Trail takes its hikers through Portland’s Forest Park, which at 5,200 acres is the largest urban forest in America. The natural area has over 80 miles of trails, fire lanes, and forest roads. The land was originally inhabited by Native American settlements dating back to 10,000 years. Lewis and Clark were the first Europeans to explore the Willamette Valley in 1806, but by the mid-1800s European settlers had come to inhabit the area, pushing the Native populations out.

The park was originally a dense Douglas fir forest. By the mid 19th century, settlers in the Portland area wanted to create a natural preserve in the woods that would eventually become Forest Park. From 1897 to 1936 the city would acquire land in small pieces, largely through donations and government action, that would eventually make up the larger Forest Park area.

After a 1945 study on park feasibility was produced, the land was finally formally recognized as Forest Park at 4,200 acres. Since then, it has grown to over 5,200 acres in size.

Sources

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