Forest Park – Newton Rd/BPA Rd/Wildwood Trail

Newton/BPA/Wildwood Cheat Sheet

Hiking Distance: 4.3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1024′
Difficulty: Strenuous
Traffic: Light/Moderate
Trail Type: Loop
Kid-Friendly: No (strenuous)
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Parking Fee: None
Bathrooms: No
Features: Wildlife, Streams, Views
Distance from Burnside Bridge: 10 Miles

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The north end of Forest Park tends to be a little less crowded than the south end. I hiked this loop starting at 8:00 a.m. on a holiday weekend and only ran into 4 other people, which is pretty light traffic for Forest Park.

The solitude is slightly disrupted by the sounds of airplanes and ship horns, but that can be hard to get away from when so close to the city and the river. The second half of this hike will take you a little deeper into the park and is a bit quieter which is why I suggest following the loop in the direction that I do.

BPA road gains some serious elevation for about a full mile, but rewards you with stellar views of the Willamette River that make the climb totally worth it. You’ll have lots to look at while catching your breath.

I hiked this trail in the summer, but noticed a few spots that could cause some very wet feet during the rainy season. Wear waterproof shoes if the weather calls for it.

Trail Directions: Start at the northern gate of the Newton Rd parking lot. Follow Newton Rd for about 1.7 miles to BPA Rd. Turn left up BPA Rd. Follow for about 0.9 miles until you reach Firelane 13. Turn left to stay on BPA road. Follow for about 0.6 miles until you reach Wildwood Trail. Turn left on Wildwood Trail. Follow for 1.15 miles until you reach Newton Rd. Turn right on Newton Rd to head back to the parking lot.

Notes for getting there: Starting downtown, drive NW on Skyline Blvd. At the intersection of Skyline & Cornell, reset your odometer. Once you’ve reached 5.1 miles past that intersection, you’ll reach Newton Rd. Turn right on Newton Rd and follow it 0.3 miles down to the parking lot. Newton Rd is a single lane. Drive slowly and watch for oncoming cars. Here are the GPS coordinates for the Newton Rd parking lot.

Powell Butte Nature Park

Powell Butte Cheat Sheet

Hiking Distance: 1 – 9 Miles. Short loops make it easy to choose your own adventure.
Elevation Gain: 300′
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Heavy
Trail Type: Loop
Kid-Friendly: Yes
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Parking Fee: None
Bathrooms: Yes
Features: Meadows, Wildflowers, Forest, Mountain Views
Distance from Burnside Bridge: 12 Miles

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Located deep in SE Portland, Powell Butte is my favorite place to go when I’m itching to get out of the city but don’t have a lot of time. There are 9 miles of trails to explore, featuring meadows, wildflowers, scenic views, and then a surprise turn into a thick forest where the only sounds are those of the birds and your own footsteps.

There’s usually a good amount of hiker traffic on a sunny day, but I’ve been here on rainy days where I didn’t run into a single other soul on the trail. The top of the butte features a “mountain finder” which, when the sky is clear, can help you identify which distant mountain is which. Five mountains are viewable from the top, weather permitting.

There are a few paved trails for bikes and wheelchair access and those trails will get you to the mountain finder. If you’re looking to get a lot of miles in on your bike, look elsewhere, since many of the trails are off-limits, but you should be able to fit in a mile or two of easy loops with the kids.

Here’s a link to the Powell Butte Visitor Center.