Easy/see map R4 /Hike #18
Trees do fantastic things on this bite-size loop deep in the park’s dewy, northern interior. Just before the 26-mile mark of the Wildwood, a hollowed-out fir can fit pint-size nature-lovers inside its belly. Nearby, inspect a large stump festooned with Frisbee-size mushrooms. A few steps farther, a fir’s roots rise out of the dirt like a house on stilts and create a tunnel to scamper beneath. For a crescendo, pass by a maple whose clutch of trunks resembles the tentacles of a giant squid. Like we said—fantastic.
SUGGESTED ROUTE: From NW Newton Road parking lot off of Skyline Blvd, follow Newton Road and turn right on first path to Wildwood Trail. Head south on Wildwood. Turn right on Firelane 10 to return. (Round trip: about 1 mile)
Newton Road to Wildwood Trail
Hard/see map T2/Hike #12
Turn northwest onto the Wildwood Trail from Newton Road, and the forest suddenly becomes eerily still. The hushed tone comes courtesy of the park’s remnant old-growth stands. The next half-mile holds smatterings of firs capable of gouging the clouds. Be prepared to earn your visitation, though. The arduous climb up Newton Road is one of the toughest in the park. It’s also gorgeous, traversing a remote, stream-filled ravine. Lazy-bones option: park at the Newton Road Trailhead off NW Skyline Boulevard and walk less than a mile to the Wildwood Trail.
SUGGESTED ROUTE: From BPA Road off NW Skyline Blvd, descend to Newton Road. Go up Newton to Wildwood Trail and go right. Return via BPA Road. (Round trip: 4.4 miles)
Lower Macleay to Pittock Mansion
Hard/see map E8/Hike #8
This lung-pumping scramble gains 800 feet of elevation during a 2.5-mile trek to one of Portland’s most iconic residences, Pittock Mansion. The former Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock’s 22-room French Renaissance wonder is a stunner, with flower-strewn gardens and commanding gazes of the Cascades and all of Portland. Still, all that opulence doesn’t quite measure up to the grandeur of the gargantuan trees encountered below the manor. Inside tip: to avoid the masses at Lower Macleay, ascend to Wildwood Trail via the short but challenging Tunnel Trail (along NW Cornell Road).
SUGGESTED ROUTE: From NW Upshur Street, take Lower Macleay Trail to Wildwood Trail. Take Wildwood toward NW Cornell Road and up to Pittock Mansion. Return the same way. (Round trip: 5 miles)
Wildwood Trail, Miles 12–16
Hard/see map M2/Hike #13
Titanic trees and distance from civilized roads are the top draws on this must-hit section of the Wildwood Trail. At mile 16 enter the Wildwood along a fern-choked ridge that’s stacked with handsome stands of younger conifers. At mile 15.75 begin looking for stop-a-minute views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. And past Firelane 3, between mile points 13.5 and 12.5, ogle several inspiring sequoia-size firs.
SUGGESTED ROUTE: From NW Saltzman Road off of Skyline Blvd, walk one mile to the intersection of Wildwood Trail (mile 16) and turn right. Continue to mile 12. Return same way. (Round trip: 10 miles)
Wildwood Trail from Newberry Road
Easy/see map V3/Hike #14
Curious what Forest Park looked like 200 years ago? The northern reaches of the Wildwood Trail provide a vivid picture. From Newberry Road the trail plunges into a primordial world ruled by giant sword ferns and groves of behemoth western red cedars with patinas like ancient works of bronze. Occasional blooms of fairy lanterns and false lily of the valley spice up the evergreen palette.
SUGGESTED ROUTE: From NW Newberry Road, take Wildwood Trail south to Firelane 15. Return the same way. (Round trip: 3 miles)
Easy/see map G5/Hike #4
Early bloomers along the sun-?dappled Dogwood include yellow woodland violets and scores of trilliums. Come summer, candy flowers, fairy bells, and false Solomon’s seal, which perfume the air with fragrant, starlike blossoms, crop up. Keep an eye to the sky, though. Overhead, amid leafy maples and slender firs, red-capped downy woodpeckers busily tap away on tree stumps and, beyond the branches, peekaboo views of Mount Hood and Portland’s skyline abound.
SUGGESTED ROUTE: From NW 53rd Drive, take Dogwood Trail. Turn left on Leif Erikson and go left up Alder Trail. Turn left on Wildwood Trail. Return via Keil Trail. (Round trip: 3 miles)