A morning spent exploring the rolling hills of this 185-acre wilderness museum will introduce visitors to nearly 9,000 tree and plant specimens from around the globe. Along the arboretum’s 12-mile system of interconnected trails, hikers can ogle enormous coastal redwoods, duck under leafy shoots of towering bamboo, admire a grove of blooming dogwood trees, or simply plop down on a well-placed park bench to soak up the sun and enjoy the fact that this woodsy oasis is only two miles away from downtown Portland.
ROUTE: With some 20 trails crisscrossing this city park’s grounds, even a tried-and-true outdoorsman could lose his way. Fortunately the arboretum’s cozy visitor center comes well-stocked with a bevy of free maps outlining hikes ranging from one to four miles. The four-mile option begins just north of the visitor center and winds past many of Hoyt’s seasonal highlights, including an impressive collection of flowering magnolia trees, many of which begin to sprout their starlike blossoms this month.
For a shorter jaunt that lets you explore the Arboretum in less than 2 miles, follow the Overlook Trail uphill to Wildwood Trail and turn right. Turn right onto Hemlock Trail (be careful crossing SW Fairview Blvd). Stay on Hemlock until a right turn onto Creek Trail, cross the road and continue down and take a right at the intersection with Wildwood. Follow Wildwood up the slope to cross back over SW Fairview Blvd, then right onto Oak Trail to return to the parking lot.
DIRECTIONS: From downtown, travel west on U.S. 26 for two miles. Take exit 72 and turn right onto SW Canyon Road, which becomes SW Knights Boulevard. Turn right on SW Fairview Boulevard. Drive about 1/8 mile to the visitor center parking lot on the right. The southern end of the arboretum can also be accessed from the Washington Park MAX Station. No fees or permits required.