Categories
Hiking Oregon Portland Trip report Willamette Valley

Forest Park Loop (Leif Erikson, Wild Cherry, Wildwood and Nature Trails) – 10/24/2020

With Heather’s foot still a little sore from her fall at Abbott Butte we wanted to find a hike that wasn’t too strenuous for her to test it out on. An 8.8 mile loop in Portland’s Forest Park fit the bill, especially since there would be several shorter loop options available in case her foot didn’t respond well. The loop we had chosen is the longer of two options given by Sullivan for the Balch Creek hike in his “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” guidebook (hike #4 in the 4th & 5th editions). The shorter loop option involves Balch Creek itself while the longer 8.8 mile loop never comes near the creek. For this hike we parked at the end of NW Thurman St. at the gated Leif Erikson Drive.
IMG_7967

In August 2020 Portland Parks and Recreation began a pilot program of one-way loops in an attempt to reduced visitor interaction and possibly help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Parts of our loop were included in one of the one-way pilots.
IMG_7971.

We followed the paved Leif Erikson Drive for .3 miles to the Wild Cherry Trail (near a set of outhouses).
IMG_7973

IMG_7977

We turned up the dirt Wild Cherry Trail (following the one-way signs) and quickly encountered people coming down the wrong way (so much for the signs). The Wild Cherry Trail gained about 400′ as it climbed to a junction with the Wildwood Trail in .6 miles.
IMG_7983

IMG_7986Switchback along the Wild Cherry Trail.

We turned right onto the Wildwood Trail at the junction and remained on it when the Wild Cherry Trail continued uphill to the left a few yards later.
IMG_7989

IMG_7992

This was our fourth hike involving the 30.2 mile Wildwood Trail having hiked portions of it on our Washington Park (post), Maple Trail (post), and Northern Forest Park (post) outings.
IMG_7993

After .6 miles on the Wildwood Trail we arrived at a 4-way junction with the Dogwood Trail, part of the 2.75 mile one-way loop.
IMG_8001

Heather’s foot was doing well so we continued on the Wildwood Trail. In another .6 miles we arrived at parking area along NW 53rd.
IMG_8004

IMG_8006

IMG_8011This was the first slug we recall seeing of this color.

IMG_8014Interpretive sign at the NW 53rd parking area.

In another .3 miles we ignored the Alder Trail on the right (another option to shorten the loop) continuing on the Wildwood Trail.
IMG_8020

IMG_8018

IMG_8016

The next loop option came almost 2 miles from the Alder Trail when the Wildwood Trail crossed Firelane 1. There were some nice clumps of mushrooms along this stretch. There was also a damaged bridge near the middle of this section which there were several warnings posted for.
IMG_8024

IMG_8030

IMG_8032

IMG_8035

IMG_8037The bridge damage was not an issue.

IMG_8038Another bunch of musrhooms.

IMG_8046

Approximately a half mile before reaching Firelane 1 we passed the Morak Trail on the left (a 100 yard connector to Firelane 1 that is not shown on all maps).
IMG_8047

IMG_8050Firelane 1 junction.

With Heather still going strong we stuck to the Wildwood Trail arriving at the Nature Trail in another half mile.
IMG_8054

IMG_8055

We turned right and when the trail split a tenth of a mile later we stayed left (the right hand fork would have taken us to Firelane 1).
IMG_8056The fork, left was downhill right up.

The Nature Trail followed Rockingchair Creek downhill to Leif Erikson Drive in just over a quarter mile where we turned right back toward our car.
IMG_8056

IMG_8067

IMG_8064

IMG_8068

IMG_8073

IMG_8075

It had been busy when we had started our hike with the parking already nearly full but things had picked up even more since then. Even with it being busy there were moments where no one else was present along the 3.5 miles back to NW Thurman Street.
IMG_8076

IMG_8078Firelane 1

IMG_8081Somewhere along Leif Erikson there was supposed to be a view of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood along the way but the clouds never burned off like the forecast had called for.

IMG_8083

IMG_8091The Alder Trail at Leif Erikson Dr.

IMG_8093An orange one-way marker along Leif Erikson Drive between the Dogwood and Wild Cherry Trail junctions.

For the most part people appeared to be doing a pretty good job of covering their faces and maintaining social distancing (at least better than following the one-way trail designations). It was another enjoyable hike in Forest Park and an encouraging outing for Heather’s foot. At some point we plan on returning to see Balch Creek and explore more of the park. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Forest Park 10/24/2020

Categories
Hiking Oregon Portland Willamette Valley

Maple Trail (Forest Park) and Tilikum Crossing – 12/14/2019

For our final outing of 2019 we combined a little hiking with a bit of Christmas Shopping by heading up to Portland for the day. Our plan was to do a pair of Sullivan’s featured hikes before visiting the Portland Saturday Market.

We started our morning at the 5,200 acre Forest Park for a 7.5 mile lollipop hike using the Maple and Wildwood Trails. Our hike started at the Lower Saltzman Road Trailhead

We were the second car at the small parking area where we set off past the green gate blocking further access to Saltzman Road.
IMG_1958

We followed the closed road for .4 miles to a junction where the Maple Trail crossed the road. Here we turned left onto that trail.
IMG_1961

IMG_1962

IMG_1965

We followed this trail for a mile and a half, ignoring side trails, as we climbed gradually to Leif Erikson Drive. It was a cloudy morning and the forest was damp but it wasn’t raining which made for a pleasant walk amid the trees.
IMG_1968

IMG_1974

IMG_1975Bridge over a small stream.

IMG_1977Heading into a little bit of fog.

IMG_1981Too cloudy for any real views.

IMG_1983Leif Erikson Road.

We crossed the closed road and continued on the Maple Trail for another .4 miles to a fork where we veered right at a pointer for the Wildwood Trail.
IMG_1984

IMG_1989

A short climb brought us to the Wildwood Trail where we turned right and headed up some wooden steps.
IMG_1990

This was our third time on the 30 mile long Wildwood Trail (11/18, 5/18) and we followed it for 3.2 miles through a variety of scenery.
IMG_1992

IMG_1996

IMG_2006

IMG_2017

Along the way we crossed Saltzman Road.
IMG_2018Saltzman Road at the 2.5 mile mark of the 3.2 mile stretch.

Approximately .7 miles after crossing Saltzman Road we turned right onto signed Firelane 5.
IMG_2022

This windy track was rutted by bike tires as it made its way downhill to Leif Erikson Drive after about half a mile.
IMG_2023

IMG_2025Aproaching Leif Erikson Drive.

We turned right onto Leif Erikson for .2 miles to a curve with a grassy flat on the left with a sign for the Maple Trail.
IMG_2027

IMG_2028

We followed the Maple Trail for 1.2 miles back to Saltzman Road where we turned left and hiked the .4 miles back to the trailhead. The forest along this section of the Maple Trail was nice and on a clearer day there may have been a few views but we settled for the trees and some passing geese.
IMG_2030

IMG_2032

IMG_2034

IMG_2035

IMG_2041

The trailhead was full when we got back so we quickly changed our shoes and opened up a spot for another trail user. We headed for downtown Portland for our next stop at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. We actually parked at a lot on the corner of 4th and Harvey Milk St. and walked 3+ blocks to the park.
IMG_2044

IMG_2050

The Saturday Market was just a bit to the left but we went right heading for the Morrison Bridge and planning on hitting the market at the end of our loop.
IMG_2045

There were almost as many geese as people in this section of the park.
IMG_2052

We followed the Waterfront Park Trail along the Willamette River under the Morrison Bridge and toward the Hawthorne Bridge.
IMG_2053

IMG_2056Hawthorn Bridge

IMG_2060

After about three quarters of a mile we passed through the South Waterfront Park Garden.
IMG_2062

IMG_2063

This was quickly followed by Poet’s Beach under the Marquam Bridge.
IMG_2068

IMG_2069

After passing under the Marquam Bridge we had a good look at OMSI and the USS Blueback Submarine on the far side of the Willamette and the OHSU Aerial Tram on our side of the river on Marquam Hill.
IMG_2073

IMG_2072

IMG_2071

IMG_2078

There was also an interesting piece of art near the Tilikum Crossing Bridge where we would be heading across the river.
IMG_2074

IMG_2076

The bridge was opened in September 2015 and is restricted to transit, pedestrian, and cyclist use only.
IMG_2080

IMG_2081

IMG_2083Marquam Bridge from Tilikum Crossing.

After crossing the river we turned left towards OMSI on the Eastbank Esplanade.
IMG_2085Tilikum Crossing from the esplanade.

We followed the Eastbank Esplanade for a total of 1.75 miles to the Steele Bridge. The scenery along this stretch was a bit more industrial with sections not too far from the Interstate, but there were still some interesting and pretty sights along the way.
IMG_2086Behind OMSI

IMG_2090More geese.

IMG_2091

IMG_2093

IMG_2094Cormorants

IMG_2097

IMG_2098

IMG_2103

IMG_2099

We recrossed the Willamette on the Steele Bridge arriving back at Waterfront Park near the Japanese American Historical Plaza and the Portland Saturday Market.
IMG_2106

IMG_2110

IMG_2112

IMG_2113

We wound our way through the market visiting all the booths before returning to our car and heading home. We did manage to find a couple of Christmas gifts so it had not only been a fun day hiking but it had been productive as well. We walked about 5 miles between the loop around the Willamette and the market which was just about as much as our feet could handle for the day.

That’s it for us as far as hikes go for 2019, we hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (and Happy Trails too!)

Flickr: Maple Trail and Tilikum Crossing

Categories
Hiking Oregon Portland Trip report Willamette Valley

Forest Park – Wildwood Trail & Leif Erikson Drive Loop

Heather and I recently celebrated our 23rd anniversary with a morning hike in Portland’s Forest Park followed by dinner at Sisters Irish Bistro in Salem.

We started our hike at the Germantown Road Trailhead where the Wildwood Trail crosses the road.
Wildwood Trail at Germantown Road Trailhead

We chose this loop due to the presence of some low clouds. This section of trail didn’t offer the mountain views that some others do so we thought it was a good day for it. From the parking area we headed south on the Wildwood Trail which briefly climbed before leveling out on a hillside.
Wildwood Trail

Wildwood Trail

We followed the Wildwood Trail for a little over four and a quarter miles through the foggy forest. Junctions were well marked along the way with maps located at several of them.
Forest Park from the Wildwood Trail

Wildwood Trail junction with the Waterline TrailWaterline Trail junction

Wildwood Trail

Wildwood TrailMap at the Springville Road junction.

Wildwood Trail

Wildwood Trail

Wildwood Trail junction with the Ridge TrailRidge Trail junction

Wildwood Trail

We turned off of the Wildwood Trail at Fire Lane 7A which we followed downhill less than a quarter mile to a pointer for Leif Erikson Drive.
Wildwood Trail junction with Fire Lane 7A

Fire Lane 7A

Tie trail to Leif Erikson Dr.

A short path led fairly steeply down to the closed road where we turned left.
Leif Erikson Drive

Leif Erikson Drive

After one and a quarter mile on the road we came to the remains of an old building on the left.
Remains of an old building along Leif Erikson Drive

Remains of an old building along Leif Erikson Drive

A little over three miles after turning onto Leif Erikson Drive we arrived at another small parking lot along Germantown Road.
Leif Erikson Drive Trailhead along Germantown Road

Signboard for Leif Erikson Drive at Germantown Road

From this trailhead we followed the Cannon Trail uphill for a third of a mile back to the Germantown Road Trailhead and the Wildwood Trail.
Cannon Trail

Cannon Trail

Our loop was approximately 8.4 miles long with about 500′ of total elevation gain. It had been a good day for this particular hike and although we saw quite a few other people it never felt overly crowded. Shorter (or longer) loops could be done using the numerous other trails in the area.

Dinner at Sisters Irish Bistro was a perfect way to end our anniversary celebration, the food was excellent and so was the relaxing atmosphere. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Forest Park