The Best Places to Hike, Trampoline, Skate and Play in East Portland

These are the best parks east of I-205.

Ed Benedict Skatepark

Southeast 100th Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

Ed Benedict is Portland's only street-focused skatepark, and accordingly, it is filled with kick-flipping teens pretty much all the time. There is a small transition section (a spot that goes from horizontal to vertical), but tweakers like to steal the pool edging, and the lack of decks makes it difficult to skate. If bowls are your pleasure, there are better options in the city. The skatepark is long and narrow with lots of banks, boxes and rails, but in true Portland fashion, everything is a bit weird. For skateboarders looking for the fun of street skating without the bust factor from police, Ed Benedict is your best bet. While anyone can find something to skate here—there's plenty of flat and small features—the crowd tends toward the aggressive side, and they don't take kindly to small children on scooters. BROOKE GEERY.

Related: The Many, Many Skateparks of Portland

(Emma Browne) (Emma Browne)

Powell Butte Nature Park

16160 SE Powell Blvd.

At a stoplight marked only by a gas station, a road rises into cleaner pine air, arriving at Portland's most breathtaking public park since…well, Mount Tabor. A visit means negotiating with the teens grimly vaping in the parking lot; they are, in their way, welcoming you to wonderland. The city's easternmost Benson Bubbler water fountain (and another one for dogs) leads to paved, wheelchair-accessible trails that tangle into forested glens, grasslands where swifts whirl and dive, and a 360-degree lookout that showcases Mount Hood burning the color of a cherry Slurpee in the sunset. (Other awards this place deserves: best moonrise, best lover's lane, best spot to smoke weed outdoors.) Powell Butte is the zenith of an untamed, inclusive, less homogenous Portland—the kind of location naysayers claim this city no longer nourishes. It's the best money we ever spent. AARON MESH.

Jenne Butte Park

According to Google Maps, Jenne Butte—which straddles the border between Portland and Gresham—is located in someone's driveway at the end of a cul-de-sac. One blogger's dropped pin leads to the middle of an apartment building's parking lot. This hike is almost impossible to locate without directions, so pay attention. Wander across the border of Portland to park at the Linnemann Station trailhead in Gresham, and walk west along the Springwater Corridor (a right turn if you're facing the path from the parking lot). Walk under the Highland Drive overpass, and continue until you cross a bridge over Johnson Creek. The trail starts in about 50 feet on your left. Now you're hiking up a butte! It's an unmarked little gully that's partially obscured by vegetation. Most of the hike is through thick greenery, so there's not much of a lookout, but you'll probably have the whole trail to yourself. Plus, the foliage provides welcome protection from the heat in Portland's ever-warming summers. Just watch out for the occasional stinging nettle. GRACE CULHANE.

Parklane Park

Southeast 155th Avenue and Main Street.

Parklane is not a special park at first glance. There's a standard-issue play set on some woodchips, a standard-issue basketball court on some sort of red synthetic surface laid out in the middle of the grass. And then you notice something that separates East Portland from inner: the children. In inner-Southeast Portland, Colonel Summers Park is home to drunken and drugged adults playing Frisbee and Hacky Sack, while Laurelhurst Park is a minefield of twinned lovers sprawled atop each other like an acres-big lawn made of opium. But at Parklane—near the grade school of the same name—children play cruel and happy games. One kid sits on a smaller kid amid a pack of tiny people making the loudest sounds they know how to make, while their presumed tender tries desperately to read a magazine. What a world, in which children play in parks! MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Related: Summer Guide: Park Life

Luuwit View Park and Gateway Discovery Park

Luuwit: Northeast 126th Avenue and Shaver Street;

Gateway: Northeast 104th Avenue and Halsey Street.

Neither of these parks exist. But they will in summer 2017. They are Portland's version of East Portland park reparations, a remedy to the dearth of tended greenspace. Gateway Discovery Park—at the edge of Portland's new gentrification zone, near a confluence of freeways and MAX stops—will be some kind of wonderland. There will be canopies, a skatepark, a fountain of some kind, something called a "sand and water discovery center," a performance space, a picnic grove, and a goddamn boulder hill. It's like an Epcot version of a park. Luuwit View, meanwhile—named after the most obnoxious transliteration of the Klickitat word for Mount St. Helens— will contain an amphitheater with tiered rows of grass. Concept drawings show plenty of people doing yoga. However these parks actually end up getting used, the vision for them is…so upper-middle-class. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Related: Best Swimming Holes Near Portland

Glendoveer Golf Course

14015 NE Glisan St., 503-253-7507,

Golf is dying—fewer rounds are being played every year, and the average age of players is only getting older. Private courses are closing across the country as the resource-intensive sport fades. And yet, Glendoveer endures, recently surviving a plan to shave a few holes off the 242-acre complex, one of the largest parks in East Portland. Yes, in Portland, government-run golf courses are one of the last vestiges of Greatest Generation political power. Someday, it'll be soccer fields and a giant skatepark. Until then, if you're old enough to know how to hit a 200-yard drive instead of an ollie, come and enjoy it. It really is a beautiful course. MARTIN CIZMAR.

East Portland Community Center

740 SE 106th Ave., 503-823-3450,

This community center isn't at the center of any particular community—but it's easily accessible by transit, it's near the mall, and there's a water slide, a rock wall, some basketball hoops and a big ol' play set. The building may look like a 1960s elementary school aside from the strange spire at its entrance, but when school lets out it will be packed as all hell with seemingly every unattended child within 60 blocks—especially since as summer hits, the center offers camps that double as really cheap baby-sitting, at about $10 for a full day if you enroll for both morning and evening sessions. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

G6 Airpark

10414 SE Washington St., 503-255-3334,

Your rambunctious 9-to-15-year-olds can wear themselves out on the wall-to-wall trampolines at G6 Airpark this summer. Though it is technically advertised as an all-ages recreation area, it would be unusual to find anyone old enough to drive hanging out there during the day, playing dodgeball with a bunch of middle-schoolers. For older crowds that really want to bounce around, you can always schedule a private party or show up late on a Friday night and go as hard as you want without fear of launching some child into the ceiling with your back-bounce. RUSSELL HAUSFELD.

(Christine Dong)

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