Portland hiking

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!

Don’t Even Know…

It’s Saturday afternoon as I write this. Just poured a glass of white wine after doing a bunch of chores. Listening to Kate Bush. Logan is watching Wreck It Ralph. Bella is snoring on the couch. Michael ran to the store. First the bad news.

Michael got laid off Friday morning. I guess in a way we should have seen it coming since he was a contractor and lots of people are being laid off, and lots of companies are freaking out right now. But it was still awful. We are crossing our fingers it’s temporary and he’ll be back with his same company/team when this is all over with. His team was unaware of the plan to lay him off. It sounded like an HR decision. It’s still devastating and upsetting and stressful.

Logan’s birthday party was supposed to be Saturday but we cancelled that, obviously, so we decided to go for a little drive Saturday and then hike and have a picnic as a distraction for everything and it helped.

We had breakfast and did a few things then packed the car and drove out toward the beach to LL Stub Stewart Park. It’s a great place, that we’ve gone a bunch of times for hikes and day trips.

I picked it because it was about an hour drive from our house. It got us out of our house, out of the neighborhood, and I figured that with the social distancing it would be an ok place to go to. The park is huge. And I assumed most people would go to local Portland places (like Forest Park) or out in the Gorge to go hiking. (I was sort of right.)

There was still a fair amount of people at Stub Stewart but everyone was doing a good job of distancing themselves from each other. Families stayed together and away from other people. We went for a hike in the forest and didn’t see any other hikers (but did see a few mountain bikers out there–like two pairs).We were there early enough to miss the crowd apparently. I was honestly surprised at how many people were there after we left…

It was so empty we even took Bella off leash! (And you know how I feel about off leash dogs!) She did great. We were out in the woods alone.

It was a little on the chilly side, since it was kind of towards the beach. But we warmed up with our hike. The park was free. The bathrooms were open and had soap and toilet paper and smelled like bleach, so they were cleaning. That was nice. I still used Clorox wipes after using the bathrooms.

It was really good to get out of house after working from home for 5 days, not going to the gym, not going swimming, not seeing friends or family, cancelling Logan’s birthday party, and Michael’s bad news. We all needed a reset. Fresh air, hiking, getting a change of scenery was good for our mental health!

Then we had a picnic lunch on a table in the parking lot. The picnic tables were all spaced out really far from each other, so that was good. There were more people at the park by this time and I saw a lot of people on the other trail (not the one we did), so it was kind of defeating the social distancing thing with that many people. SIGH. This was when we packed up quick and left.

It was a pretty good day, despite everything. I was glad we got out, I was glad there were no people near us. I was glad we weren’t potentially spreading anything or catching anything. We just got a hike in, cleared our heads, and went home.

We came home, unpacked, I took a long hot bath and read a book and made huli huli chicken and roasted vegetables for dinner. It’s a super stressful time and it’s hard not to resort to old patterns dealing with stress. But trying.

QUESTION: HOW ARE YOU!?!?