About a week ago we were having some gorgeous weekend weather, and Dan and I both had the day off so we decided to find a local hike. Growing up, every summer we would travel to the Adirondacks in NY to stay in a cabin on a lake and do lots of day hikes. It's something I didn't really enjoy as a child, and never pictured myself doing as an adult, but here I am hiking for fun, without anyone making me do it. I've wanted to explore Forest Park a bit more every since taking an ecology class in college, so I hit the internet for some suggestions. I remembered that there was a hike through Forest Park up to one of Portland's historic landmarks Pittock Mansion, so that quickly became our destination of the day.
This is one of the more popular hikes in Portland, and with limited parking we ended up parking a few blocks from the trailhead. There's not much between the parking lot and the end of the hike, so I suggest you do everything you need to before you start (if you know what I mean).
The hike itself is moderately difficult. There are several different ways to get up to Pittock Mansion. We started at the Lower Macleay Park Trailhead and hiked up from there. Round trip it's a little over 5 miles as a out and back hike with a small optional loop towards the top. You gain about 900 feet in elevation, which left my butt feeling quite toned the next day (consider that an excuse to skip squats for a couple days afterwards). We saw several families with small children and lots of dogs, so this is definitely a family friendly day trip, although I might consider starting at one of the shorter starting points if I was brining little ones along.
On the hike you go from the middle of the woods with views of gorgeous old pine trees, old brick buildings, redwoods, and streams to a beautiful end view of the entire city with Mt Hood in the background. I would definitely recommend doing this hike on a clear day so you can really take in the entire view at the top.
Being a warm spring day, the hike was fairly busy but not annoyingly so. While we saw lots of other hikers and wanderers, we were able to enjoy most of our hike just the two of us walking, talking, and annoying the beautiful Portland scenery. We had such a nice time on this hike, we are planning to make it more of a routine this summer and I hope to share some other fun day hikes with you as we explore the gorgeous place we live in!