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Forest Park - Ridge Trail

Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - OR
45.5824, -122.7680 Map & Directions
Length
4.25 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
982 feet
Highest Point
1075 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
Sunlight filters through the trees on the Forest Park Trail. Photo by Ryan Ojerio. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Wildlife
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Fall foliage
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

Traverse Forest Park via an out-and-back or a point-to-point, soaking in urban forest that has old growth, wildflowers, mushrooms, berries and fauna, enjoying occasional glimpses of the Willamette and the fantastic St. Johns Bridge. If desired, take a side excursion along one of the connector trails near the Springville Road trailhead for an extended Tualatin Mountains experience. Continue reading

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Hiking Forest Park - Ridge Trail

Forest Park is a 5,200-acre urban nature preserve set in the Tualatin Mountains (or Portland West Hills), and the trails follow the contours of this 7-million-year-old geologic formation. The Ridge Trail is a short ascent to the spine of the range, midway between Dixie and Cornell Mountains to the northwest and southeast, respectively. The Ridge Trail climbs nearly 1,000 feet, from the lower trailhead on NW Bridge Road to the Springville Road trailhead on top of the ridge, meandering just over 2 miles in a southwesterly direction. The trail is moderately steep, with most of the elevation gained over the first 1.4 miles.

From the trailhead at the NW Bridge Road parking area, follow the edge of the road 0.14 mile until reaching steps and a sign for the “Ridge Trail.” Climb the two flights of stairs and ascend northwest briefly. At 0.22 mile there is a small wood bridge with fantastic peekaboo vistas of the St. Johns Bridge, Willamette River, Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams. 

The trail next makes its turn to the southwest and switchbacks up the spine of the Tualatins. Wildflowers and groundcover include candy flower, herb Robert, buttercup, thimbleberry, salmonberry, Himalayan blackberry, blueberry, vine maple, English ivy, English holly, garlic mustard and ferns. Some of those species are invasive. The forest canopy is composed of alder, big leaf maple and Douglas fir, with lots of old growth specimens along the way. You may spot chipmunks in the forest.

At 0.84 mile, join a service road briefly and follow the trail sign to veer right and resume the ascent. At 1.24 mile there is a junction with the Wildwood Trail; continue straight. Carefully built turnpikes handle the rainfall that hits this trail in the winter and spring months. At 1.4 mile the climb begins to ease up, and at 1.7 mile you reach the junction with Firelane 7 in Forest Park.

To continue to the upper (Springville Road) trailhead, veer right and continue west on Firelane 7. A magnificent green canopy hangs above you. The total one-way distance to the upper trailhead is 2.12 miles, but you can extend your experience with a foray along one of the side trails (Hardesty or Trillium, for example). 

WTA pro tip: consider bringing two cars to perform a point-to-point hike on the Ridge Trail with side trips on the Hardesty, Trillium, or Wildwood Trails. Some hikers park in the St. Johns neighborhood and walk across the bridge to the lower trailhead.

Hike Description Written by
Maxwell Krem, WTA Correspondent

Forest Park - Ridge Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.5824, -122.7680 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

driving directions

Lower trailhead: From downtown Portland, take US-30 northwest to the intersection with NW Bridge Ave. Turn left onto NW Bridge Ave and continue 0.5 mile to a pullout parking area on the left. There is room for 6-7 cars. Coordinates: 45.5824, -122.7680

Upper trailhead: From downtown Portland, take US-30 northwest past St. Johns Bridge to the intersection with NW Bridge Ave. Make a sharp left onto NW Bridge Ave, go 0.1 mi, and make a sharp right on NW Germantown Road. Go 2.1 miles, and turn left on NW Skyline Road. Go 0.9 mile and turn left on Springville Roadd and proceed 0.2 mile to the trailhead. There is room for about 16 cars. Coordinates: 45.57447, -122.78863

take transit

This trailhead is accessible by bus! Plan your visit by bus using TOTAGO.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - OR

City of Portland

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Forest Park - Ridge Trail

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