Park Facts and User Guidelines

Forest Park: A Brief History

Native American settlement of the area now known as Forest Park is believed to date back 10,000 years. The first European American explorers arrived in the Willamette Valley with the Lewis & Clark expedition in 1806. By the mid-1800's, most Native American people living in the area had been removed by state and federal authorities in favor of European American settlers.

In 1903, John Charles Olmsted and his brother Frederick Law Olmsted, sons of the designer of New York's Central Park and many other iconic green spaces in the United States, proposed that the densely wooded hills above northwest Portland be designated by the City as “a forest park." In the early 20th century, the park narrowly avoided large-scale residential development, largely due to its geologic unsuitability. After nearly half a century of advocacy and hard work by visionary community leaders, Forest Park was eventually dedicated in 1948. That same group of civic-minded individuals formed an organization that continued to advocate and work for the preservation and protection of Forest Park; that organization is now known as Forest Park Conservancy.

The following guidelines were created by Portland Parks & Recreation to help park visitors understand and respect the rules governing the use of Forest Park, and are designed to promote both conservation and recreation. Please note that regulations involving use of the trails in Forest Park are subject to change, please check the PP&R website regularly for updates.

  • Hours: Forest Park is open to the public from 5:00 am until 10:00 pm every day.
  • To protect wildlife and watershed health in Forest Park, please remain on trail at all times, refrain from littering, and observe posted rules for allowed trail uses.
  • Forest Park is a city park, therefore no fires, camping, fireworks or firearms are permitted.
  • Please respect other users and wildlife by keeping your pet on leash at all times, and by cleaning up and removing pet waste from the park.
  • Cycling and horseback riding are allowed only on certain trails in Forest Park; see specific guidelines and map for details.
  • Please do not plant or harvest any plants or animals in Forest Park without permission from Portland Parks & Recreation. Fishing and hunting are prohibited.
  • If you drive to Forest Park, please do not leave valuables in your car. Motorized vehicles are prohibited inside the park.

Cycling Guidelines

  • Never ride off-trail or on unmarked or unauthorized trails.
  • The following trails, forest roads and fire lanes are open to cyclists: Leif Erikson Drive, Saltzman Road, Springville Road, BPA Road, Newton Road, Holman Lane (uphill only) and Fire lanes 1, 3, 5, 10, 12, & 15.
  • Please show courtesy to other trail users by reducing speeds at intersections and on busy routes, letting other users know when you are approaching, and yielding to those on foot and horseback.
  • To minimize trail erosion, please avoid riding on trails that are muddy, and do not widen trails by riding around obstacles; carry your bike around them.

Equestrian Guidelines

  • Never ride off-trail or on unmarked or unauthorized trails.
  • Horseback riding is permitted on the following trails, forest roads and fire lanes: Saltzman Road, Leif Erikson Drive, BPA Road, Springville Road, and Fire lanes 1, 7, 10, 12 & 15.
  • Please note that the only trailhead accessible by vehicles with horse trailers is Upper Springville Rd.

  • Thank you for your interest in Forest Park Conservancy. Just a bit more information to complete your request.

    First Name

    Last Name

    Email Address

    Enter Word Verification in box below

    Captcha Image