In a city filled with people who love being outside it’s no surprise that Wildwood Trail, Portland’s longest intercity trail system is more than just a walk in the park.
The thirty-mile Wildwood Trail is packed full of switchbacks and steep inclines, making it a challenging trek. The payoff? is being immersed in a vast wildness that exists right inside our bustling city. The trail is the backbone of the five thousand acre Forest Park, beginning in the West Hills neighborhood and paralleling Skyline Boulevard all the way until its end in Linnton Park, where the Willamette meets Sauvie Island.
I like to access the trail at Pittock Mansion where you can get a panoramic view of the city before being swallowed up in the Doug firs, hemlocks and cedars that fill the forest. There are spots along the trail where you can view five of the Cascade Range’s volcanic peaks and throughout the park you’re sure to see and hear evidence of the sixty-two mammal and 112 bird species living inside the park.
Look for the aptly named Stone House at the junction of Lower Macleary Trail. Also lovingly referred to as the “Witch’s Castle,” it was built by the City of Portland in 1929 as a rest station, but after weathering many storms and severe neglect only the vine and moss covered stone framework remains.
Wildwood Trail will make up thirty miles of Portland’s “40 Mile Loop”, a proposed 140-mile trail system that will eventually connect thirty city parks and be one of the nation’s largest intercity trails. Because the trail is so long you will find areas that accommodate all levels of hiking experience. Your leashed dogs are welcomed on the trail and basic facilities are scare but available throughout.