Getting Fit in Forest Park

Small waterfall off of the Macleay Trail.

Small waterfall off of the Macleay Trail in Forest Park, Portland, OR

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Forest Park is a Local Gem

by Jocelin Higgins

There are a plethora of wonderful outdoor places and experiences to blog about and I plan to share more of them in future posts. A sure-fire way to improve your mood is to get out in nature where you can get your RDA of the natural elements and fresh, clean air. Sitting inside too often under halogen lights or breathing smoggy, city air is just not good for you.

Since I live in the Pacific Northwest and find hiking to be a great way to improve one’s mood and get the endorphins circulating, I’d like to tell you about this local gem. It’s known around town here in Portland as Forest Park and it’s nestled within the city of Portland, Oregon. It is a mossy, green wilderness inside a city and it’s wonderful to spend time in and get fit in.

Forest Park is such a local landmark and it’s a close and fun place to visit for anyone living in the area. Since it’s located in the Tualatin (West Hills) one can get away into nature without really leaving the city. I try to head up there whenever I can for a refreshing trek, exercise and to improve my mood.

Here are some great trail shoes that I recommend. I own the pine colored Merrell  ones and love them! Merrell Women's Grassbow Sport Waterproof Trail Running Shoe

Forest Park is Incredibly Vast

So, whether you want to go for a short hike or a much longer one, a jog, some mountain biking, walking the dog or a relaxing scenic view-the numerous trails stretch through 70 miles of winding wilderness in this 5,100 acre public park. One of the nation’s largest municipal parks to explore.

What You’ll Find During Your Visit to Delight You:

The area is lush with green second-growth and old growth douglas firs, western hemlocks, red cedar as well as being able to spot a  smaller number of grand fir, red alder, big-leaf maple, cottonwood, madrone and western yew or perhaps you’ll spot an elk, bobcat, or northern pigmy owl. Not to mention the mushrooms galore and pretty wildflowers that abound. Or, you can visit just to take in the wealth of negative ions floating around that help revitalize your lungs and renew your energy.

Access to The Pittock Mansion

Forest Park

The Pittock Mansion in Forest Park, Portland, Oregon

If you hike far enough up through the Upper Macleay Trail, it will take you to the incredible Pittock Mansion, which is $10 per adult for admission beginning in February.  It offers incredible views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood as well as hosts a gift shop and café so you can browse and relax.

It’s Definitely Worth a Visit

So, if you are coming from out-of-town, a visit this grand natural park will take your breath away and if you are a local, well, you know what I mean-one of the many reasons Portland is such a fantastic place to live!

Best Hikes and Free Map

Portland Monthly did a write up with its suggestions on the best hikes in Forest Park. They also have a great downloadable map of the park (albeit a few years old, but it’s still good information to pass on).

Stone House at the junction of The Wildwood Trail and The Lower Macleay Trail.

Stone House at the junction of The Wildwood Trail and The Lower Macleay Trail.

Who Maintains Forest Park?

The Forest Park Conservancy has the important task of stewardship by maintaining and keeping the park in great shape. Because I visit often, I also enjoy volunteering with them on occasion to give a little back to help keep it in pristine condition as well as to meet other like-minded folks. I find it to be quite rewarding. ( 

Yelp Reviews

Forest Park is so cool, that it has even earned five stars on Yelp.


Here’s to your enjoyment of our natural environment! Feel free to comment below on your experiences in Forest Park Thanks! Or, perhaps we’ll see you out on the trail! (:

Forest Park

View of Mt. Hood from The Pittock Mansion






[amazonjs asin=”0870715887″ locale=”US” title=”One City’s Wilderness: Portland’s Forest Park, 3rd edition”]

*Photos by Snow Lion Photography.

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7 thoughts on “Getting Fit in Forest Park

  1. tony

    Outstanding site about getting fit in Forest Park. It is an excellent way of spending time with family and nature. Air and water in the mountains are really relaxing.

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