A Hike That’s Both a Workout and a Forest Bath

Don’t miss the soaring Douglas firs above you and the ferns at your feet in Forest Park.

Forest Park Hike (Anthony Effinger)

Calling Forest Park a park is a little like calling New York City a town.

Forest Park is huge and wild, and it has so much to offer that choosing a hike can be tough. If you want a little of everything, try a loop that begins with BPA Road, the super-steep dirt track that goes straight up from Highway 30 and leads into a fairy forest of cedars and moss.

It might be the best place to raise your heart rate, and then lower it, in all of Portland.

The only downside to this hike is getting out of your car and being marauded by Ford F-350s heading south. But you ascend quickly from the valley floor, thanks to the 18% grade on BPA Road (named for the Bonneville Power Administration, which owns the power lines overhead). In very short order, you’ll have a view of Sauvie Island and, on a clear day, Mount St. Helens.

Start at the BPA Road trailhead on the west side of Highway 30 (about 1 mile north of Linnton). Ascend—and we mean ascend—for 1.3 miles until you reach Firelane 12, where you’ll take a right. Firelane 12 loops down and around to Firelane 15; take a left there.

If you dabbled in a little psilocybin at the trailhead, it should be hitting by now, just in time to enter a Lord of the Rings-worthy forest. Don’t miss the soaring Douglas firs above you and the ferns at your feet.

Walk about a half-mile on Firelane 15 and you hit the Wildwood Trail (no introduction necessary). Take a left there and wind 2.1 miles southeast through more glorious forest until you reach Newton Road, a fire road that feels closer to a trail. Descend Newton for 1.3 miles back toward Highway 30, and you’re at your car, having exercised, meditated and forest bathed, all in the course of a couple of hours. Total mileage: 5.6.

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