June 27th, 2007 12:00 am Bradley Campbell | Special Section Stories


Tons of public parks, an extinct volcano and nude beach volleyball to keep you jolly. Get out and collect those merit badges, without leaving the city.

Sauvie Island
IMAGE: amy ouellette

Skate: Pier Park

Why go: It's Burnside's hot younger sister. What to expect: 11,070 square feet of ledges, rails and bowls. And a full pipe in case you're feeling loopy. Granite hubbas and a seven-stair feature make this park a skater's wet dream. Pack this: Helmet, kneepads and Vision Streetwear. Google it: Pier Park Portland Dreamland.

Pick: Sauvie Island

Why go: Antioxidants by the pound. What to expect: Many family-owned farms with multiple varieties of juicy, juicy berries. Fingers will love the thornless blackberry patch at Columbia Farms. Pack this: Basket, sunhat and Cool Whip. Google it: Sauvie Island berries.

Bike: Alpenrose Velodrome

Why go: Milk the turns, then milk the cows. What to expect: The dairy's velodrome track is one of 20 left in the U.S. It's also one of the steepest, with a 43-degree bank. For $5 you can rent a track bike and imitate track racer and Olympic gold medalist Marty Nothstein. Pack this: Bike helmet, spandex and vitamin D. Google it: Track bike dairy.

Bike: Springwater Corridor

Why go: How can a ride to Boring be dull? What to expect: A paved, multi-use trail that extends 17 miles into rural Oregon. The route passes by buttes, wetlands, pastures, graveyards and a few ducks here and there. And with two new pedestrian bridges, it avoids traffic in inner Southeast. Pack this: Bicycle pump, spare tube and stale bread. Google it: Boring Springwater Corridor.

Kiteboard: Walton Beach

Why go: Learn to throw a trick called the donkey dick. What to expect: With relatively flat waters and a thermal-driven wind that rarely gets above 20 mph, Walton makes a great spot for beginning kiteboarders. The sandy beach is nice, too. Pack this: 16m kite, $3 parking pass. Google it: Sauvie Island kite.

Paddle: Dragon Boats

Why go: Eragon was a little too dry for you. What to expect: Join a team (there are 24 in Portland) of synchronized paddlers as they push through the polluted waters of the Willamette aboard a floating dragon. It's an instant way to get social, and wet, while exacting vengeance on St. George. Pack this: Paddles, life vests and fire breath. Google it: Dragon boat Portland.

Paddle: Ross Island

Why go: Listen to the cries of our national bird: BLEEAHH! What to expect: Super-still water, quiet ambience and calm strokes. Watch herons do their courtship dances on the downstream tip of the island. If you're lucky, see some bald eagles collect decorations for their nests. Pack this: Canoe or kayak, jacket, binoculars. Google it: Paddle Ross Island.

Swim (naked): Collins Beach

Why go: Your tush needs a good scrub (wet sand is surely more effective than toilet paper). What to expect: A clothing-optional beach where 75 percent of the folks go nude or topless. The south-end volleyball courts are a popular spot for pick-up games. Pack this: Not much. Google it: Collins Beach nude.

Sled: Fernhill Park

Why go: DIY sledding in the former valley of vandals. How to do it: Place a 5-pound block of ice at the top of a grassy hill, lay a towel over it, sit and sled. What to expect: Fernhill used to be a dump site for stolen cars until Parks and Rec rescued it, graded the hills and made it a badass place to ice-block. Pack this: Mittens, ice blocks and the Club. Google it: Ice blocking; Fernhill dumping ground.

Throw: Bocce on the North Park Blocks

Why go: Bocce is the shit. What to expect: Grapefruit-sized balls, two clay courts and a few regulars (including, on Wednesday nights, Oregonian columnist Jonathan Nicholas) who know how to roll. The city acquired this land in 1869, when George L. Woods was governor. Pack this: Bronze balls, one pallino and vino. Google it: Portland bocce North.

Throw: Pier Park Frisbee Golf

Why go: Getting high on your couch is starting to feel a bit stale. What to expect: Cathedral-like trees tower throughout this 18-basket course, where hand-painted arrows lead you from fairway to fairway. There's almost no underbrush, so don't fret about losing your discs. You won't. Pack this: Driver, putter and a joint. Google it: Frisbee Pier Park.

Maim: Bike Polo

Why go: Mallets and mohawks and bikes, oh my! What to expect: Four-on-four pick-up games on the tennis courts in Alberta Park. The addictive game is fast and the players are aggressive. But regulars go easier on newbies and will take the time to explain the simple rules. Pack this: An old mountain bike, gauze. Google it: Axles of Evil Portland.

Throw: Irving Park Basketball

Why go: If Woody Harrelson can dunk, so can you. What to expect: These courts attract the best outdoor street ballers in town. Trail Blazer Ime Udoka lists it as his favorite place to play. It's an unofficial training ground for future Division I players. Pack this: Hightops, sweat bands and a fade. Google it: Irving Park hoops Portland.

Roll: Mount Tabor Wednesdays

Why go: Motor vehicles are banned from the roads on this day. What to expect: An extinct volcano, playgrounds and sunsets. Wednesdays are active with cyclists, longboarders and joggers enjoying the open roads. Pack this: An effigy of Henry Ford. Google it: Tabor Portland.

Move: Eastbank Esplanade

Why go: Flash the statue of former P-town mayor Vera Katz. What to expect: A 1.5-mile multipurpose pathway along the Willamette River. The highlight is the 1,200-foot floating walkway, the longest of its kind in the United States. Pack this: Sunglasses and a trench coat. Google it: Eastbank Esplanade.

Run: Tryon Creek Trails

Why go: You read "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels as a kid. What to expect: A multitude of fast, single-track trails that weave among Northwest flora. The various loops (.49 miles and up—runner's choice!) will work your legs, but the soft ground won't bust them up. Pack this: Short shorts, water, door No. 1 or door No. 2. Google it: Tryon Creek trails.

Throw: Mount Tabor Horseshoe

Why go: Toss a talisman—it brings good luck. What to expect: The perfect summer throwback: two steel pegs, the clang of a perfect toss, your patented victory dance. Play all night—Mount Tabor is open till midnight. Pack this: Your own horseshoes and aim. Google it: Horseshoe Tabor.

Run: Horse Loops at Tryon Creek

Why go: Do it for Barbaro. What to expect: Five miles of trail that amble through the 645-acre park. If you tire, there's terrestrial-mammal watching! Pack this: Trail-runners, camera, jockey. Google it: Tryon horse loop.

Run: Terwilliger Trail

Why go: Get those buns into Kitzhaberlike shape on Pill Hill. What to expect: A popular trail within the local running scene (the Niketown running club frequents it). It pumps past OHSU and has bathroom access. Pack this: Bill Bowerman waffle runners. Google it: Terwilliger trail.

Run: Wildwood Trail

Why go: Somebody conned you into running the Portland Marathon. What to expect: Soft, stable footing. You'll run into other joggers, but moments of solitude are possible on this 30-mile trail in the United States' largest urban park. Pack this: Running gloves and lip balm. Google it: Wildwood trail Portland.

Skate: Burnside Skatepark

Why go: See how a couple of bags of concrete created a legend. What to expect: This is a local's spot—watch their lines before you drop. Created in 1990 by a group of DIY skaters, Burnside is revered around the world by the skateboarding elite. Pack this: Tight denim and an extra deck. Google it: Burnside Dreamland.
Get Out!
These Forests Ain't Virgin Anymore
Over the Edge
Doggin' It
Cycle Tour 101
Get Out 100:
Willamette Valley
The Coast
Great Cascades/Columbia Gorge
Central Oregon/High Desert
Oregon's Outer Edges
Washington State
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