Five Classic Portland Runs

Whatever your quadrant, there’s a beautiful route for you.

By Jonathan Frochtzwajg With Sarah Cadwell April 15, 2016 Published in the May 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Shutterstock

Oregon is, in many ways, the place where Americans started to run for fun. In 1967, iconic University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman’s Jogging was published, and many still credit the book with popularizing the sport in the US. Today’s Rose City runners continue the tradition with an assist from a thriving activewear scene—anchored, of course, by the company Bowerman cofounded, Nike. And, quite simply, our city offers so many beautiful places to run. Here’s a circuit for each quadrant.


Explore five miles of NoPo borderland between city and country via the Columbia Slough Trail, where herons fish in the marshy waterway and dragsters drone around Portland International Raceway.


Green-space-hopping to avoid heavily trafficked corridors, this 4.42-mile route begins on relatively sleepy Dekum Street before cutting across Concordia University’s campus, rounding lovely Fernhill Park, and heading back through leafy neighborhoods.


A study in contrasts: hike the verdant Lower Macleay Trail up to the spooky “Witch’s Castle” and back, then traverse Northwest to an industrial stretch of Naito Avenue, all in just a little more than five miles.


This 6.11-mile parcours through the Laurelhurst and Mount Tabor neighborhoods hits not one but two jewels of Portland’s parks system, complete with a victory lap around one of Tabor’s reservoirs.


This wooded, 4.56-mile butt-burner descends from Hillsdale to Johns Landing using a trail underneath I-5. Following a gravity-fueled stride along the Willamette, you’ll need to climb a public staircase to complete the loop.

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