Urban Hikes

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!

Day 57, or something?

Last week felt like a rough week, mentally. I think we were all struggling. And so many friends were, too. It was week 7 (I think??) of being home. I think, for me, it was starting to wear on me. The constant togetherness. The uncertainty of when things will open up again. The fear of things opening up too soon. The sad news from Georgia. The frustrating politics. The seeming disregard for public health and safety with the protests…

Friday I decided to take a half day off from work. I had a holiday day I needed to use some time from and the weather was nice. I needed a mental break.

So I worked for a few hours in the morning and then went for a bike ride by myself. It was 80 degrees here in Portland, sunny and beautiful. It was also windy, which was unfortunate on the bike! But I still enjoyed it!

I did part of the 205 bike trail and then the trail ended and I did some of the highway out towards Mount Hood (not ideal) and then picked up the trail again and did a loop on bike trails back home.

Despite the beautiful day, I didn’t see a lot of people out! Just a few other bikers. It was such a nice break. I felt really good on the bike, too. Going out for small rides once a week since this started has really helped. I didn’t have low back fatigue or shoulder/neck pain like I have had before, so that means I am getting back to conditioning!

The ride was hilly at times. And I was getting hungry and thirsty (I only brought 1 water bottle, next time I’ll bring more) so I didn’t end up doing 15 miles like I wanted to.

I’m still happy with my ride! I got home and then took a bath in the jacuzzi tub with some sparkling water, relaxing and decompressing, then Logan woke up from his nap and we went out to Lake Oswego for a nature walk as a family. It was a nice little afternoon.

(Not sure if I mentioned that Logan got a quarantine haircut a few weeks ago…that did not go well. So Michael had to fix it. LOL)

It felt silly to take a “vacation day” when we are in quarantine and can’t go anywhere but in the end it turned out to be just what I needed. A mental break, a break from responsibilities, some alone time, some sunshine…