What You Should Know Before You Go To Forest Park

Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States. It is situated on over 5,200 acres of land, and there are over 80 miles of trails. This urban forest stretches over seven miles, along the eastern side of Tualatin Mountains. It also overlooks the Northwestern side of Portland, as well as the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.

Forest Park provides visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience a real forest in the Northwest without having to leave outside the city limits of Portland.

So, if you have never been to Forest Park before, there are certain things that you should know before leaving for your once in a lifetime urban forest experience.

Brief History

This area was first settled by Native Americans over 10,000 years ago. The first European settlers arrived in the area during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s. By the middle of the 1800s, the Native Americans were removed from the area by federal and state authorities.

It was in 1903 when the first proposals were presented for the area to become a ‘forest park.’ The densely wooded area narrowly escaped developed, and this was due to it being considered geographically unsuitable. Nearly 50 years after hard work and advocacy by community leaders, Forest Park was finally dedicated in 1948.

Before visiting Forest Park, it is important to understand the guidelines that have been developed by Portland Park and Recreation to promote recreation and conservation.


The Conservancy wants you to be aware of the operating hours of Forest Park.

It is open every day of the year from 5 in the morning to 10 at night. All dogs who are entering into Forest Park with their owners must be on a leash at all times. Dog owners are also responsible for packing out all dog waste and trash. Waste bags cannot be left along the trails. These bags not only harm the ecosystem of the park, but they are also unsightly.

To protect the watershed and the wildlife in the park, you should move away from the trail at any time, and you should also not litter while you are visiting.

Since Forest Park is considered a city park, it is public land. This means that firearms, fireworks, and camping is not allowed.

Guidelines For Cycling

When riding bicycles through the park, you should never ride in unauthorized areas or on unmarked trails.

It is important to show courtesy to others in the park including pedestrians, hikers, and other cyclists. This means that you should slow down when approaching intersections and busy trails. You should also yield to those who are on horseback and foot.

There are several locations within the park where you can rent bicycles. These locations are:

Water Front Bike
Pedal Bike Tours
Cycle Portland

Forest Park in Portland is America’s, Premier Urban Forest. With its unparalleled and serene beauty, you cannot go wrong no matter where you decide to wander while you are there.

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