KEY: H – Hike | B – Bike | W – Water Route
Hoyt Arboretum | H
Blessed with right-off-the-MAX accessibility, this virtual arboreal biosphere, with its more than 6,000 plants, offers urban hiking at its finest. But don’t be fooled. Stretching 12 miles, the network of trails here is surprisingly vast. (Take the free trail maps at the visitor center, and don’t count on a cell signal.) And marathoners, take note: Forest Park’s famed 30-mile Wildwood Trail begins on arboretum grounds. Access: 4000 SW Fairview Blvd
Tryon Creek State
Natural Area | H
July temps inside Tryon Creek’s shade-drenched ravines seldom crack 80 degrees, making its 675 acres a go-to summer oasis. The showiest hike follows Maple Ridge Trail down a gentle decline toward Middle Creek and photo-ready High Bridge. Along the way enormous toadstools, old-growth cedar stumps, and late-blooming woodland flowers like fairy slippers and false Solomon’s seal vie for attention. Don’t forget to scan tree trunks for owl nests and bat boxes—numerous barred owls and little brown bats inhabit the park. Access: 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge | H
In 1988, heeding pleas from the Audubon Society, the 160-acre Willamette River floodplain here became Portland’s first urban wildlife refuge, making it “Intertwine 101” for local naturephiles. On one half of the three-mile loop you’ll encounter willowy vegetation, open meadows, shallow ponds, and waterfowl. (The year-round cast of avian all-stars here includes Anna’s hummingbirds, osprey, purple martins, and dozens of duck species.) And on the next half you’ll be joined by cyclists and joggers streaming down the Springwater Corridor as you catch glimpses of the Portland skyline through the trees. Near SE Sellwood Boulevard scope out the Portland Memorial Mausoleum’s enormous hand-painted mural depicting the refuge’s diverse wildlife. Access: SE Sellwood Boulevard and Seventh Avenu
Looking for outings in Forest Park? Visit The Ultimate Guide to Forest Park from our July 2011 issue, which features 22 of the best trails in the park and a printable map.
No time for a walk in the woods? These urban greenspaces provide bite-size nature escapes.
PSU Native American Student Center Even the most frazzled souls can reclaim their Zen among the calming mix of medicinal herbs, wild grasses, and reclaimed wood iconography evoking petroglyphs and salmon migrations. 710 SW Jackson St
Multnomah County Building Climb to the fifth floor and greet a choir of songbirds and an orange, pink, and purple perennial sea. To the west, sandwiched between the Willamette River and the fir-laden West Hills, Stumptown’s skyline has never looked earthier. 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse The “Law of Nature” creations by sculptor Tom Otterness provide company at this low-traffic, ninth-floor sculpture garden. Shade trees and views of leafy Chapman and Lownsdale Squares add welcome splashes of green. 1000 SW Third Ave
Post-Trail Watering Hole
Aquariva This South Waterfront hotspot commands views of Ross Island and, on Sundays, a killer DIY Bloody Mary bar. The scenery is just as delicious during happy hours when veal and pork meatballs go for five bucks. 4650 SW Macadam Ave; aquarivaportland.com