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Portland Sightseeing Tour Including Columbia Gorge Waterfalls
"You’ll be picked up from your Portland hotel in the morning and driven through downtown Portland to see sites such as Pioneer Courthouse Square affectionately known as Portland’s ‘Living Room’ while learning about the city’s history and modern-day culture from your guide. Learn about the final resting places of many prominent Oregon citizens including governors and United States senators. Pass Portland’s famous food carts which sell a diverse range of cuisine from Vietnamese to Greek to Polish. Catch amazing mountain views from beautiful Washington Park. Stop to walk through Pittock Mansion a French Renaissance château listed on the National Registry of Historic Places
From $105.00
Best of Portland City Morning Tour
"Travel through the various parts of the city from downtown Portland to the Pearl District to Nob Hill and several neighborhoods. Visit all the must-see attractions including the sites of Pioneer Square and learn about the great diversity found in Portland’s downtown area the historical importance it has played in the state’s history and the fast-growing culture that exists in the City of Portland.On this tour learn about many prominent and notable citizens of Oregon. Experience sights of Portland Food Carts were you can satisfy your appetite at Portland Food Carts all over town. Next tour through the Pittock Mansion a meticulously preserved architectural landmark that symbolizes Portland’s transformation from a small lumber town into a bustling city. As we travel let the fragrance of our International Rose Gardens embrace you with over 550 different varieties of Roses
From $60.00
Portland City Tour
"Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle and when compared to those cities Portland’s environment is not as fast-paced; instead it has a more laid-back smaller town feel to it that has been created by planning policies. Portland however is still a city just shy of 610000 people with a metropolitan area population of about 2.4 million and as such has its fair share of cultural amenities
From $55.00

Washington Park Tips (29)

Wildwood Trail: Washington Park to Lower McLeay Pk

The Wildwood Trail used to be a famous Portland feature that has now become somewhat overshadowed now by a number of other things. It still provides an interesting look at Portland's preserved West Hill forest lands.

The trail runs some 35 miles (some 55 km) from Washington Park and the Portland Zoo through the Hoyt Arboretum to the Pittock Mansion, then through Upper and Lower McLeay Park, and then into Forest Park and runs northward across Germantown Road and eventually ends at Newberry Road.

This is simply too much distance to cover in one tip, especially considering that features of each section of the trail are somewhat different. In this tip I will cover the section from Washington Park to Lower McLeay Park as this is a fairly short loop that can be walked in two hours or so, depending on what other attractions you visit along the way and how fast you walk. Also, since this section of trail connects

The section from Lower McLeay Park into Forest Park is mostly the same as any of the other trails in Forest Park, but the section of the trail from Washington Park to Lower McLeay Park passes by a number of attractions and deserves a bit more extensive a description.

The most difficult problem that you face on this section of the trail is where the trail crosses Burnside Road (see photo 3). For years this wasn't a problem, but the rude fashion in which people drive now means that it is extremely difficult to get across Burnside at this location today. It isn't unusual to have to wait 10 minutes to get across at this location even though there are signs in each direction indicating that people cross here. Also, people drive quite a bit faster than the speed limit now than they did only just a few years ago, meaning that you have much less warning before getting run over by drivers at this road crossing. There are curves both uphill and downhill from this location. You are better off trying to cross at this location during low traffic periods (such as very early in the morning) rather than during peak travel periods but Burnside is now a very busy street thanks to continued suburban sprawl and so you have to be very careful any time of the day or night when crossing at this location.

That being said, it is possible to get across Burnside without getting killed, as every once in a while it is possible to run across the rare driver that will stop for someone trying to cross here.

Officially speaking, the trail starting point (milepost 0.0) for the Wildwood Trail is up hill from the Washington Park MAX station and zoo. It is somewhat near the Vietnam memorial, and reasonably well marked if you are coming from the MAX station uphill to the trail. There are quite a number of local trails in this area, and if you keep following them up the hill eventually you will intersect the Wildwood Trail. If you start at the Vietnam memorial and simply follow the trail there up the spiral and continue on the main trail up the hill you will eventually run into the Wildwood Trail as well. The official milepost 0.0 is found by walking uphill on the sidewalk along the road in front of the World Forestry Center, and you will find it perhaps 200 feet beyond the Forestry Center.

If you are coming into the area on the Wildwood Trail, the way to the MAX station and Zoo are not marked that well, but walking down the hill from there the station should be pretty obvious. There is a large crosswalk connecting it to the World Forestry Center.

Unfortunately, there are relatively few mile post markers on the trail, so it is somewhat hard to give good directions in terms of the mile posts on the Wildwood Trail.

You can make the trip a bit shorter by cutting over the top of the hill on several trails in the Hoyt Arboretum, but you'll want to use the local maps for the arboretum for that as it is not easy for me to describe what you need to do there. The trail system in the arboretum is a bit of a tangle and there are a couple of dozen trails. Also, doing that cuts out the loop of the trail that goes over to the Japanese Garden and Rose Garden. The Wildwood Trail makes the whole route along the end of the ridge, but the trails inside the Hoyt Arboretum can bring you directly over the top of the ridge if you so desire.

Most everything is reasonably well marked, but the signs have had a nasty habit of being vandalized or completely disappearing in the last few years.

There are signs for the Japanese gardens, and the Rose Garden is across the street from the gardens. Getting back to the Wildwood Trail from there depends a bit on where you wind up, as there are several options. The easiest option for going south on the Wildwood from the Rose Garden is probably going to be to go to the Elephant House (a rentable children's play and party house near the playground at the south side of the Rose Garden) and take the trail that is across the street from there. It climbs back up the hill and re-joins the Wildwood trail. This trail actually goes to the downhill side of the Rose Garden but it isn't easy at all to find from the Rose Garden itself, so finding it by the playground is probably your best bet. At worst, you will have to go back the way you came.

To go north on the Wildwood from the area around the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden it is easiest to start at the Japanese Gardens. At the gate at the top of the hill of the Japanese Gardens (there is a lower and upper gate. The upper gate, where you want to start this process, is where you actually pay to enter the garden) there is a paved road that connects the two gates. Follow this road slightly north, and be looking for signs on the uphill side of the road just outside the Japanese Garden area that mark a trail leading from this gate to the Wildwood Trail.

The Pittock Mansion is not particularly well marked, but the Wildwood trail delivers you to the parking lot. Just walk down the hill in the parking lot and you will come to the mansion. This is the parking lot that you come to at the top of the hill between crossing Cornell Road and crossing Burnside.

The trail between the Wildwood Trail and the Audubon Society is only about 100 feet long, but doesn't have a sign in it. On the north side of the Cornell Road crossing, you will come to a small open area with a picnic table and some out of service restrooms. This is Upper MacLeay Park. By the concrete restroom buildings, follow the unmarked trail down the very slight hill through the grass area and you will come to the Audubon Society office, store, entrance to their trail system, and the wildlife care center they operate.

Downhill from the Audobon Society the trail runs along Balch Creek and eventually arrives at an abandoned stone building. Continuing on the Wildwood Trail continues north into Forest Park, while going straight and downhill goes to the trailhead at Lower MacLeay Park. The bridge over the park is

The following attractions are located along this route of the Wildwood Trail, and research into the various attractions may help your walk:

the Audubon Society of Portland site includes a bird sanctuary with a few trails
And their wildlife care center

The Pittock Mansion features views of downtown Portland and the mountains.

Hoyt Arboretum has plants from all over the world

The Rose Garden

The Japanese Garden

The Vietnam Memorial

The Oregon Zoo

You could easily spend an entire day just visiting all of those attractions along the route, so the length of time that you need for this section of the Wildwood Trail depends a lot on how long you spend visiting all these different sites.

glabah's Profile Photo
Aug 09, 2016

Rose Test Garden

This garden is known as the largest in a nation and features over 6800 rose bushes and 557 varieties. There is a garden of nominated varieties inside the garden. Some of them are really beautiful - like "Merilin Monro" this year (2007)... And of course, the bushes are changing from year to year to give space to new varieties.

aquatic's Profile Photo
Apr 04, 2011

International Rose Test Garden

Portland is known as the City of Roses for a reason. There are several rose gardens and There are several different Rose Gardens in Portland, but Washington Park is, I believe, the largest. There are over 7,000 rose bushes which bloom during the summer months. Unfortunately for us, late May is not the best time to visit the Rose Garden, but, we were in the area and decided to stroll through. (Our friends told us October is a great time to visit to see the garden in full bloom.) Despite the roses not being in bloom, we enjoyed the walk through the well maintained garden and admired the other flowers in bloom. The public garden offers free admission and some great views of downtown Portland as well.

In June, the annual rose testing takes place. Certain sections of the garden are reserved for rose testing, and gardeners throughout the world submit hybrid roses, one of which is selected as the fairest of them all.

goingsolo's Profile Photo
Apr 04, 2011

Rose Gardens

Just like you can't go to Jake's Famous Crawfish restaurant and not eat crawfish, you can't go to the City of Roses and not go see the roses.

If you are interested in roses, go see my City of Roses travelogue.

mcpangie's Profile Photo
Apr 04, 2011
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International Rose Test Garden

The largest rose garden in the US, and I think the world, and best of all free admission. Just park, bring a picnic lunch and relax in the beauty.
Full bloom is June-August (July being best), and an amazing view of the city and Mt Hood.
Not uncommon to see someone getting a marriage proposal here. A beautiful place has that effect.
If your here during summer, don;t miss it. Even a very serene place during winter - still has the great view.

Shaft28's Profile Photo
Apr 04, 2011

Rose Garden (Washington Park, Not the Arena)

There is a new arena in town, and it may be called "The Rose Garden" (which has few, if any roses anywhere near it), but the much older and at one time much more famous rose garden located in Washington Park is used for some of the official Rose Festival activities, and is where the plaques giving the past Rose Festival Queens are located.

The true rose garden features views of Mt. Hood and downtown, a few items of public art, and roses. In fact, there are some 10,000 plantings and over 550 varieties of roses here.

The official name of this Rose Garden is actually the "International Rose Test Garden" and it is one of several rose gardens operated in city of Portland parks by the Portland Rose Society.

The Rose Garden is broken down into a number of smaller gardens. The Shakespeare Garden has been the most popular place in Portland to have outdoor weddings for a number of years. These sections of the Rose Garden are separated by lines of larger bushes, and so you can't see the entire Rose Garden from a single spot. Therefore, be sure to explore the grounds thoroughly, as you might have missed an entire sub-garden.

Getting Here: There is a bus that comes from downtown Portland to the Rose Garden, but bus route 63 has been severely cut back to the point where it doesn't operate very often at all. Parking is very limited, and even during weekdays during peak tourist season trying to find a place to park can be quite difficult. This is a popular tourist attraction among garden and flower fans! However, during the summer months, it is possible to take MAX to the Washington Park / Zoo station, and the "Washington Park Shuttle" (which only operates during the summer months) from the zoo MAX station to the Rose Garden. If you are going to visit the Portland zoo as well as the Rose Garden, it is also possible to take the zoo train from the Portland zoo to the Rose Garden station, but you must pay zoo admission to take the zoo train, and pay an additional fee to ride the zoo train.

Bus route 20 runs fairly frequently on Burnside, which isn't too far away, so that might be a good option as well depending on your willingness to walk a little ways. Follow signs from Burnside that say "Washington Park".

Driving: I don't recommend it due to the complicated nature of the roads, and the difficulty in finding a place to park near the garden, but here are some options:

+ from Burnside going west, turn left at the sign that says "Washington Park" after you start climbing the hill and enter the forest. This is approximately 24th, but is named Kingston. You will have to carefully follow the signs, as it is a bit of a maze in there.

+ from Burnside going west, turn left onto SW 23rd (you may want to make 3 right turns and go around the block rather than attempt to turn left off of Burnside) going south. After several blocks, turn right onto Park, which is the first traffic light. When you get to the one way streets, turn right at the large stone staircase. Continue around the circle and follow the signs to the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden. You may find some parking places near the traffic circle, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Rose Garden.

+ from SW Taylor Street downtown, turn south onto SW 17th Avenue, then right onto Salmon Street. Continue climbing the hill after you go past the Multnomah Athletic Club. There will be a slight northward jog in the road as you cross King Avenue, and continue climbing the hill on Park Place. When you get to the one way streets, turn right at the large stone staircase. Continue around the circle and follow the signs to the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden. You may find some parking places near the traffic circle, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Rose Garden.

+ Highway 26 to the zoo exit. From the zoo, go up the hill until you are at the uphill side of the parking lot. There is a small road to the right at the very upper end of the parking lot before the steep climb uphill begins. A small triangular shaped parking lot will be on your right just before you need to turn. Follow this road, and the signs to the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden. After much winding around, this road dumps you into the parking area for the tennis courts that are just up the hill from the Rose Garden.

+ from eastbound on Burnside, turn right onto SW Kingston, and follow signs to Washington Park and then signs to Rose Garden.

The Other Rose Gardens:

While it is much smaller, the Peninsula Park Rose Garden should be considered one of Portland's hidden and nearly unknown treasures. If you are headed through town on Interstate 5 during June, this might be worth your stopping to see.

The tiny rose gardens that make up Ladd's Addition Rose Gardens (there are four small Rose Gardens scattered through the neighborhood) might be worth a stop if you are visiting Portland in June, and happen to go to the Hawthorne District or other inner east side neighborhoods.

glabah's Profile Photo
Jun 30, 2010

International Rose Test Garden

The International Rose Test Garden is one of Portland's top attraction as befits a city surrounded by so much natural scenic beauty and referred to as the city of roses. It has a long lineage going back to 1917 and its 4.5 acres hold 7000 roses at any given time. More amazingly they span 550 varieties, many developed right here. Concerts and plays are performed in an amphitheater so the park is a central gathering place for locals as well as tourists. Admission is free.

Peak season is generally June but that is weather dependent. We were there in mid-July after a particularly hot couple of days and the roses, while still pretty, were past their prime.

richiecdisc's Profile Photo
Oct 26, 2009

Washington Park, A Place to Relax

Portland is known as having many parks and pocket parks since it has the largest number of parks in a city in the mainland. Washington Park is the largest and most famous of the parks. The park has a number of notable attractions, including the International Rose Test Garden , Hoyt Arboretum , Japanese Gardens and the Oregon Zoo. The park has 129.51 acres (52.41 hectares) on mostly steep, wooded hillsides which range in elevation from 200 feet (61 m) at 24th & W Burnside to 870 feet (265 m) at SW Fairview Blvd.

Open Hours: 7am-9pm everyday

machomikemd's Profile Photo
Oct 01, 2008

Top 5 Portland Writers

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"Nearest Big City"
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"Portland, an great liveable city"
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"The Pearl of the Pacific Northwest"
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"If it's tourist season, can we shoot them?"
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Hoyt Arboretum: Plants from All Over the World

A large section of Washington Park is maintained as the Hoyt Arboretum, and has a collection of plants from all over the world. There are a number of hiking and walking trails, and the Wildwood Trail wanders touches it twice.

The web site gives much more information for visitors of the arboretum, including areas for students, scientists, and other specialists who come to take a look at specific plants.

Most of us, however, are content to just walk through the grounds on the trails and look at the plants in a casual fashion. There are a number of park benches and some picnic areas and thus it is a popular place for people to enjoy a warm day - or even a cold day if it is clear. One of the picnic areas is covered, and sometimes you can find people enjoying a day with heavy rain here too!

Parts of the arboretum are laid out in an organized fashion with identification on all the plants. Other areas are left a little more wild in nature, but even in those areas tags identify a number of the trees, flowers, and other plants.

There is very little flat ground here, so be prepared for the trails to be on hills.

The roads are steep too, so be careful if there is ice on the road!

The visitor's center has various information, as well as public restrooms and drinking fountains.

glabah's Profile Photo
Nov 02, 2007

Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The memorial is built near the start of the popular Wildwood Trail, but it is intended for respectful rememberance and visitation, not general recreation like the rest of the park (though many visitors ignore the purpose of this section of Washington Park).

The memorial is located up the hill from the zoo and the forestry center, and is somewhat hidden behind the forestry center. Follow the signs closely and you will find it.

It is built in a sprial shape. If you start in the center and work outward you will be following the events of the war, as well as more mundane events here at home. The spiral has a bridge over the main entrance to the memorial. Names of Oregon war dead and events of the war and at home are placed on markers along the spiral trail.

From time to time you will find flowers (such as this rose) near the memorial by names of lost family members.

Among interesting plants in the memorial are hardy roses that bloom much of the year: even in November they put out a few small flowers.

glabah's Profile Photo
Nov 01, 2007

Portland Japanese Garden

In this garden I wished I could have rented it for myself only.... Even a small group of tourists and some lonely visitors on a rainy summer day would spoil the tranquility of it. This garden is joy for your eyes and soul...

aquatic's Profile Photo
Oct 23, 2007

Waterfront Park

Completed in 1978, this 36 acre park is officially called Governor Tom McCall Park. It consists of an esplanade walkway which is part of the riverfront corridor, the "bowl" that forms a natural amphitheater, Salmon Street Springs fountain area, the central lawn which is used for concerts, and the Arkeny Pump Station plaza, near the Saturday Farmers Market. The park hosts some 20 permit events each year, which together draw almost one million people, including 350,000 to the annual Rose Festival. Waterfront Park is used year-round for jogging, biking, walking, and picnicking. Other attractions in the park include the Japanese-American Historical Plaza (1990), the Battleship Oregon Memorial (1956), the Police Memorial (1993), and the Founders Stone honors Portland's founders.

In Portland's earliest years, the area forming the park was the city's busiest area, full of docks, warehouses, and boat traffic. The seawall was constructed in 1929, then Harbor Drive freeway was built on the river's edge in 1943, blocking access to the river from downtown. With the construction of I-5 and I-405, Harbor Drive could be closed and removed in 1974. Over the next 17 years, the city slowly constructed the park at a cost of $20 million.

Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
Aug 21, 2007

Things to Do Near Washington Park

Things to Do

Japanese Garden

A trip to the Washington Park area necessitates a visit to Portland's Japanese Gardens. We took advantage of a beautiful day to visit and enjoyed it very much. There is a fee to get in, $9.50 for...
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Things to Do

Pittock Mansion

Completed in 1914, Pittock Mansion was built for Henry Pittock and his wife Georgiana. Pittock, who had arrived in Oregon in 1853 without a cent to his name, worked his way up in the newspaper...
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Things to Do

Powell's City of Books

While Super Stores are not a big favorite of mine and you might guess would not be popular in an alternative kind of town like Portland, Powell's City of Books is a mega store with a grass roots...
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Things to Do

Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum was founded in 1892, which makes it the oldest art museum on the West Coast. Although its collection was rather small at first, the museum soon gained popularity thanks to the...
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Things to Do

Pioneer Courthouse Square

This is probably considered the center point of Downtown Portland. There is an information center located here along with public restrooms. A large open space with lots of people hanging out, having...
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Things to Do

World Forestry Center and Museum

As part of the conference activities, we dined at the World Forestry Center. We had access to the museum and hiking paths. Also, learned about the importance of forests and trees in our lives, as well...
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Getting to Washington Park


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