Get Off the Beaten Path
Not all trails lead to taverns, but some do! Choose your own hiking or running adventure from these little-known routes.
The Adventure Begins
You wake up in the morning and think, today is the day I journey into Forest Park! You choose to...
a) Mosey on into the car and crank up the AC. It's a beautiful day for a scenic stroll, perhaps even a run. Go to 1.
b) Sprint to the nearest bus stop! You're full of energy but either disenchanted with or without car. Go to 4.
1. Want to throw in 0.38 miles of uphill to make it a 4.72 mile-long loop?
a) No, I do not like hills and I prefer not to go in circles. Go to 2.
b) Yes, let's go the extra distance! I brought plenty of water and my knees are feeling strong. Go to 3.
2. Scenic Stroll (or Run!)
- Start and End: Wildwood Trailhead on NW Germantown Road (north side)
- Miles: 1.5 up to 11, round trip, out and back
Directions: Park along the gravel shoulder on the north side of Germantown Road. (That's the right side if coming from Portland.) Head north on Wildwood Trail away from the traffic noise and into the deep, dark forest. The trail stays relatively flat, hugging the hillside and taking you by tall, thick trunks of Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar. Wildwood Trail runs about 5.5 miles north of Germantown Road to its terminus at Newberry Road. Go as far as you like and turn back whenever you're ready. In just 0.77 miles, you'll come to a park bench in a special, serene spot. Use this landmark as turnaround point (for a short 1.5 mile hike) or simply as a welcome rest stop along the way. The blue diamond painted trees mark every quarter mile on Wildwood and will help you track your progress.
3. Scenic Loop
- Start and End: Wildwood/Cannon Trailhead on NW Germantown Road (south side)
- Miles: 4.72 round trip
Directions: Park at the pull out parking lot on the south side of Germantown Road. (That's the left side if coming from Portland.) Take the Cannon Trail south to the Leif Erikson Trailhead. Cross the parking lot and continue south on Leif Erikson Drive. Not too far in, you'll find a portable restroom (a rare find in Forest Park). Use it now or forever hold your pee. In 1.85 miles, turn left on Springville Road to make your 0.38-mile-long uphill trek to Wildwood Trail. At Wildwood, turn right to head 2.16 miles north and return back to your starting point.
4. Mountaintop Tavern Trek
- Start and End: Firelane 9 Trailhead via Hwy 30/NW St Helens Road
- Trimet Bus 16, NW St Helens & Hoge, Stop ID 5345
- Miles: 4.58 round trip, out and back
Carefully cross Highway 30 and head uphill on NW Hoge Ave. Take a sharp left onto Wilark Ave and then a sharp right onto MacKay Ave, which dead ends into a Forest Park trailhead. This 0.4 mile hike through the neighborhood is a steep climb so be sure to take your time and admire the local Linnton flavor. At the trailhead, go pass the rusty orange gate and step foot onto the seldom hiked, supremely beautiful Firelane 9. Climb uphill for 0.52 miles to NW Germantown Road, your second careful crossing of the day! On the other side of the road and slightly to the left is the Leif Erikson Trailhead. From here, follow the Cannon Trail 0.33 miles to Wildwood Trail. Turn left onto Wildwood and head south 0.62 miles to Waterline Trail. Here is your final 0.42 mile march uphill to the top of the mountain and the magical Skyline Tavern. Follow the trail pass the water tower to Skyline Blvd. Cross the street and enjoy your well-deserved craft brew. Keep an eye on the time and the setting sun however! You still have a 2.3 mile hike back down to the lowlands and public transportation.
The Forest Park Conservancy organizes guided hikes like these for adventurous souls like yours! To explore more of Forest Park with knowledgeable guides and good company, check out our list of upcoming Discovery Hikes. Don't own a map of Forest Park? Order one today and get out there! If you're set on hiking more in Forest Park this year and want to support the Forest Park Conservancy's important trail and habitat restoration in the process, sign up for the All Trails Challenge 2015, a one-of-a-kind trail-a-thon for Forest Park.