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Hike of the Month: Hoyt Arboretum to Pittock Mansion

A woman stands on an observation deck staring up at the surrounding redwood trees

Hoyt Arboretum has 12 miles of hiking trails to discover. | Photo by PDXtoday staff

Table of Contents

Pittock Mansion is one of Portland’s most visited landmarks, known for its rich history, elegant gardens, and stunning views, but if you want to feel the burn on the way to these rewards, you can bypass the parking lot and hike up the hill via the Wildwood Trail instead.

Quick facts

  • Starting point: Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd.
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Route type: Out-and-back or loop
  • Elevation gain: ~670 ft.
  • Trail surface: Dirt and some pavement
  • Wheelchair accessible: At the Visitor Center
  • Open: 5 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leashed
A vista of a city surrounded by trees with a snowcapped peak in the background

It’s hard to beat Pittock Mansion’s view. | Photo by PDXtoday staff

Ben McBee

Brief overview

It’s easy to spend an entire day — regardless of the season — exploring Hoyt Arboretum, a serene paradise just minutes from downtown that’s home to 2,300 species of trees + shrubs from six continents. In 1922, Multnomah County sold this land to Portland for $10, a deal that’s since proved priceless. Today, visitors can join guided tours and even rent out several spaces for events (like the aptly named Wedding Meadow).

Why you should try it

As you follow signs toward the Redwood Observation Deck, the forest envelops you like a verdant hug. “I just can’t believe how green everything is,” was overheard during our latest outing. Take a moment to gaze up at the lofty sequoias, before venturing past gurgling Johnson Creek.

Barbara Walker Crossing, a pedestrian bridge over Burnside Street that was completed in October 2019, is truly a game-changer — before, walkers had to dangerously dodge speeding cars. Once you reach the summit at Pittock Mansion, snap an obligatory selfie with the city and Mount Hood in the background.

A miniature structure resembling a house made of pinecones, sticks and evergreen branches.

Neighbors are green with envy about this pinecone palace. | Photo by PDXtoday staff

Pro tips

You can access the park by public transportation via TriMet Bus Line 63 or Washington Park MAX Station. Once there, look around the tree trunks in the grove below Stevens Pavilion Picnic Center; it’s home to the miniature dwellings of local woodland fairies. Finally, bring shoes that can get dirty; hopefully mud in May means clear blue sky in July.

Let us know

Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts + recommendations.

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