Forest Park Guide: The Best Runs

Pick up the pace and work up a sweat—and an appetite—on a pair of park runs.

Edited by Brian Barker June 29, 2011 Published in the July 2011 issue of Portland Monthly


Chasing rays on the Wildwood Trail

Image: Ryan Moore

Moderate to Hard/see map l7/Hike #10
The secret ingredient for the perfect run: variety. Find plenty on this kitchen-sink loop that sprinkles in gentle paved paths, with stints of all-out trail dashing. Sharp uphill switchbacks on the Maple Trail will ignite your quads, but once on Leif Erikson, it’s smooth sailing along a sylvan two-mile stretch of gentle-graded road that’s bathed in sunlight. Then, once back on the Maple, a mile-and-a-half finish scampers over a rolling, stream-splashed downhill pitch. Now that’s a runner’s high.   
SUGGESTED ROUTE: From Saltzman Road off of Hwy 30, turn right on the Maple Trail, left on Leif Erikson, and then left on Maple to return to Saltzman. (Round trip: 6.22 miles)


Easy/see map H5/Hike #11
For the casual runner—or anyone with creaky knees—this section of the Wildwood Trail is just what the doctor ordered. Here gentle rolls, twists, and turns are rejuvenating rather than exhausting, and the trail’s out-and-back simplicity means you can zone out to the views of big trees and deep canyons, disturbed only by the sound of your footsteps and a rush of wind. When you hit Firelane 1 after two miles, take a moment to catch your breath in a small, picnic-table-strewn meadow.

SUGGESTED ROUTE: From NW 53rd Drive, go left on Wildwood Trail to Firelane 1. Return the same way. (Round trip: 4 miles)

Download a printable version of a map of Forest Park and a guide to all the hikes, runs, and bikes.

Image: Michael Byers


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