This 24.5-mile (39.5 kilometer) trail leads you through the city. Starting at the World Forestry Center, the trail strings together some of Portland's best nature attractions, Hoyt Arboretum, the Audubon Society and Forest Park. The terrain depends on what portion of the trail you tackle, from the very hilly area of Washington Park to the more gradual ten northern-most miles of the trail. Maps are available at the trail head. For outdoor lovers, a hike along these trail comes most recommended, as you are sure to capture scenic vistas along with occasional encounters of exotic plants and birds.
An oasis of greenery in the scenic environs of Northwest Portland, this municipal park's topography is defined by the slopes and opaque old-growth forests that are sustained by the Tualatin Mountains. A large establishment as far as urban parks go, these protected lands are spread over 5,100 acres (2,064 hectares) that are dotted with relatively-even pathways and trails for hiking and bicycling, which make virtually every nook and corner of the park easily-accessible. A landscape of diverse and complex ecosystems, these forests are home to the hairy woodpecker, Pacific jumping mouse, orange-crowned warbler, northern pygmy-owl among many others. A paradise for plant lovers, the park grounds are bejeweled with exotic Hooker's fairy bells, evergreen violets and English ivy.
The Oregon Zoo houses animals from all parts of the world. Spread over 64 acres of land, there's always something to see. Here one can observe animals in their natural habitats, including elephants, bears, penguins and monkeys. Hop aboard the train for a zoo tour or rent a special stroller wagon for the kids. After a busy day of animal watching, enjoy a waffle ice cream cone from the snack bar, dine at the on site cafe or enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawn.
Portland Japanese Garden includes waterfalls, koi filled ponds, a wisteria arbor and even a tea-house that was built in Japan with ancient construction techniques. It features five unique gardens. The Strolling Pond contains the five-tiered stone pagoda lantern given to Portland in 1963 by Sapporo, Portland's sister city in Japan. Many events are observed in the gardens, including Children's Day, the Tanabata Star Festival and the Obon Spirit Festival. Garden curators also offer classes in Japanese culture and gardening techniques.
A serene sanctum lying to the east of downtown Portland, this picturesque city park is unusual in more ways than one. Built on the grounds of an old volcanic cone, the park is a natural wonderland where trails and paved pathways wind through rolling meadows and dense forests. The park is also home to an amphitheater, a dog park, a horseshoe pit and courts used for various other sports. A delight for the avid hiker, Mount Tabor affords splendid views of the city's diverse landscape. Although much of the volcano's cinder cone has been paved, a part of it still remains, letting visitors in on the long-standing history and geological marvel it cradles in its depths.
For more than 75 years, The Grotto has held a special place in the hearts of the locals. The 62-acre (25.09 hectares) site is a Catholic sanctuary that also features beautifully kept botanical gardens. Visit the shrine of "Our Lady's Grotto," which is not only spiritual, but a geological marvel since it's a cave carved into the base of a cliff with a replica of the Pietà sculpture in the center of the rock cave. After admiring the shrine, take the time to tour the grounds and marvel at the beautiful plants then visit the spectacular gift shop. Visitors are also welcome to attend mass. If you want a real treat visit during annual Festival of Lights. While the lower grounds and gift shop are free to visit, there is a small fee to enter the upper levels of The Grotto.
Resembling a community garden you would find in Suzhou, Portland's sister city, Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful green space near the bank of the Willamette River. The garden is complete with winding pathways, gorgeous plants, a lovely tea-house and a gift store. You can take a tour to get insider knowledge of the garden and try to come during one of their many interesting events, including exhibitions and lectures. This place is a must-visit for its unique beauty. You can even hire this garden for private events such as weddings and receptions.
Jamison Square Park is named after William Jamison, who played an important role in the development of the River District. It is one of the three parks lying between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, all designed by Peter Walker & Partners. Come summer, the park teems with action. The 40,000 square feet (3716 square meter) park becomes the center for loads of fun activities. You can spot lots of teenagers, tiny tots with their parents, even grandparents are regulars. Relax with a book on one of the many benches or stretch on the cool grass. A horizontal cascading fountain grabs a lot of attention. Live entertainment events are also frequently conducted at the venue. Escape from the bustling city atmosphere and unwind as you let your kids squeal with joy on a lazy summer morning.
Spanning a lush green area of 8000 square feet (2438.4 square meters), the Fields Neighborhood Park is located in the Pearl District. It is the city's 33rd dog park and features the first dog off-leash facility. Designed primarily with the focus of being a dog-friendly park, ideas sourced from the city's dog owners were integrated during construction. Come here with your pawed friends and rest on tidy benches constructed for small/shy dogs. The park features a double-access entry as well as a water fountain.
Willamette Jetboat Excursions is an exciting journey that takes you up and down the Willamette River for a two-hour, 37-mile (59 kilometer) boat ride. You will not have the usual slow rolling tour, this boat is fast and you do end up covering quite a bit of the river. Comfortable seats and a smooth ride make it fun. Some sights are incredible, like the plunging falls where the upper Willamette meets the lower part of the river. Also, you could get a glimpse of marine mammals, reptiles and exotic birds on the ride, so keep a keen eye throughout the excursion. This boat ride is one the quintessential experiences of Portland.
Colonel Summers Park is a vast expanse of verdant landscape in the heart of Portland. Originally named Belmont Park, this historic lawn was established in the year 1921. In the year 1938, the park was rechristened as Colonel Summers Park, thus paying tribute to the brave commanding chief and erstwhile state legislator, Colonel Owen Summers. The well-built park features shaded picnic zones, paved walking paths, tennis courts and basketball fields, among other facilities.