Portland

Weekend Walk in the Woods

Last Friday ended up being an unexpected holiday. I am pretty impressed with my workplace, a lot of companies in Oregon and soon the state of Oregon will be recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday. I know it doesn’t undo a lot of the damage that has been done for so long, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.

It turned out to be a very nice day. 85 degrees in Portland. Logan was in daycare and Michael and I had the chance to have a kid-free day! We decided to go for a hike. Originally, I wanted to do Mirror Lake but we got a late start and if you want to do Mirror Lake, you must get there very early in the morning, or there is no parking. I assumed, even during pandemic times, the parking lot would be full. So…we did a hike near Vancouver, WA instead. It’s one we’ve never been to before.

LaCamas Lake Trail Hike

It’s a pretty easy hike, with side trails that are a little more steep. It’s a good kid-friendly hike. We’ll probably take Logan there someday this summer.

It was such a beautiful day! The hike ended up being kind of short.

We finished up and planned on doing another hike just down the street but when we got there, the gate was closed. Bummer! So it ended up being a short hike.

Which was ok. It was getting to be lunchtime anyways. So we drove to Vancouver, picked up taco salads to go and went to a park and had a picnic lunch.

It was a nice day. Sunny, warm, relaxing.

Then for Father’s Day, we went to this hike:

Hopkins Demonstration Forest

It was out in Oregon City, but in the country part of Oregon City. We drove through farms, ranches with horses and goats and sheep, etc, to get there. It was a really nice park!

Despite lack of funding, etc during pandemic times, the main trails were well maintained. The off-shoot trails were overgrown with nettles and blackberry bushes, so not very traversable (especially not with a toddler). But most of the hike was very nice.

There were bathrooms (open but not maintained right now), garbage cans throughout the hike (which is nice when you have a dog), poop bag dispensers, maps and clearly marked trails.

From the parking lot it was all downhill. Then there were various trails and roads you could take. Some were not finished yet. One went around a pond. Logan was very excited to look for frogs!

Bella was in heaven! And got VERY muddy (she got a bath when we got home!).

We did about 2 miles. The hike back to the car was all uphill! We were tired and sweaty. Home for lunch and showers and naps!! It was a good father’s day and a good day–a good couple days in the woods!

Urban Hiking

This post will probably mostly appeal to locals.

When everything shut down here in Oregon, 12-ish weeks ago, we knew we still wanted to get outside and get fresh air and exercise. The Governor shut down the Gorge and Mount Hood and the Coast, so no hiking there. For awhile we mostly went for walks in our neighborhood and we still do as much as possible.

With a toddler out of preschool/daycare, we definitely needed some options. I started looking for places that WERE open still. A lot of parks and nature parks are still open near us, but playgrounds are closed. Bathrooms are closed at trails and nature parks.

Obviously, we are as smart as we can be. We only go to places that are open. We go at times when there won’t be as many people. If there are a lot of cars in the parking lot, or we see too many people, we leave and go somewhere else. We bring our masks, although we don’t necessarily wear them unless we see other people. We don’t touch anything (you shouldn’t in nature parks anyways). We are taking as many precautions as we can and still get outside and get exercise and sanity.

In a way, this time has turned out to be good for exploring new area of Portland. In the past we had favorite hikes we’d go on, they were usually out in the Gorge or on Mount Hood, or Milo McIver Park, or Stub Stewart Park, but all these places closed down so I looked for places that were 5-8 miles within our house so we could stay close.

Here are some suggestions we like:

Forest Park

Forest Park never closed during the quaratine. There are a TON of trails and different trailheads and so many places to explore. We never went here during the covid-19 stuff because I knew there would be a LOT of people there. But it is a good place to hike close to town.

Mary S. Young Park

A pretty big park in West Linn with a lot of trails, a dog park area, river access, picnic areas. There are 5 miles of hiking trails in the woods. There are bike trails and bird watching.

Maddax Woods

Another West Linn gem. It’s short but kid friendly. 7 acres of woods and trails, river access. There’s a trail up to the West Linn Library, or a trail to the river. It was about 1.1 miles roundtrip.

Scouter’s Mountain

A great little nature hike in Happy Valley. NO DOGS. There are a few trails that all connect. It’s hilly so you can get a workout but it’s not long so it’s kid friendly. There’s a parking lot and a nice view of Mount Hood. You are in the woods and the trails are all well groomed. It’s very good for families. And we saw deer!

Mount Scott Nature Park

This is another Happy Valley hike. It’s a nice little find at the end of a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood. The trail is short but steep. It’s kid-friendly because of it’s length and there are old cars with trees and plants growing in them hidden in the woods!

Cooks Butte Hike

This was a cute little hike up at the top of a neighborhood hill in Lake Oswego. This was another one where the trailhead was nestled at the end of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. The trails were all connected and had variations in grading so you can get a workout, but kid-friendly enough (no cliffs, no big dangers, not super long). It was a nice trail in the woods. Dogs are ok (on leash). This one is definitely one we would do again and again.

Tualatin Hills Nature Park

This is a great park! It’s very flat, so not a great workout for hiking. Some of it is paved (so ADA and stroller accessible). It is a great park for running and biking, not so much for hiking. There are some trails off the paved areas that you can hike on and lots of off-shoots to explore. You could spend the whole day exploring. It’s great for kids! NO DOGS.

Springbrook Park

This is a nature park in Lake Oswego. Beautifully groomed and maintained and it looks like they are making some new trails. There are lots of trails that are offshoots into neighborhoods, or schools, and a lot of the trails connect. It’s really pretty. Pretty flat. Mostly gravel and dirt, which is nice because when it rains it’s not too muddy. We’ve already done this hike twice! It’s great.

Tualatin Greenway Trail

This is a cute little paved path in downtown Tualatin, right behind the mall area right off I-205. We discovered it recently and it’s perfect for toddlers! It’s wide, paved, there’s information about the Ice Age and dinosaurs along the way and it’s right by the river. It’s super cute!

It’s about 4.5 miles long, I guess. We only did part of it. We will definitely go back and do the rest sometime! And it looks like the river is a GREAT place for kayaking!

Happy hiking!