Portland’s Forest Park

The City of Portland has over 8100 acres of natural areas in its park system and has been named one of the best in America. 

Forest Park, in Portland’s West Hills, covers more than 5000 acres and includes Washington Park and Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, the International Rose Test Gardens and the Japanese Gardens as well as acres of wilderness park and more than 70 miles of trails.

No fences! Some of Portland’s priciest real estate borders the park. Long before Hoyt Arboretum was founded this area of Portland’s West Hills was the site of Multnomah County’s Poor Farm established in 1868.

Arctostaphylos densiflora – a variety of manzanita.

Portland’s International Rose Test Gardens is the oldest public garden of its kind.

The International Rose Test garden has over 10,000 plants of more than 550 varieties.

The primary purpose of this garden is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties. The City of Portland Gold Medal Awards are issued annually to the best introductions. The first “Gold Medal” rose award was given in 1919.

The Cornus florida – or flowering dogwood tree.

“The 5.5 acre Portland Japanese Garden is composed of five sub-gardens.  As a Japanese garden, the desired effect is to realize a sense of peace, harmony, and tranquility and to experience the feeling of being a part of nature.”   Wikipedia

The Flat Garden is typical of urban garden design, but here it contrasts with the park’s folds and contours. Raked white sand represents water and vividly contrasts with lawn, moss, evergreens, and azaleas.

The garden was designed by Professor Takuma Tono and opened to the public in 1967. In a study conducted in 2004 by the Journal of Japanese Gardening, it was ranked second out of 300 public Japanese gardens outside Japan for highest quality.

The Natural Garden has multiple ponds with koi fish, waterfalls, and streams.

Many of the tourists to Portland include a visit to Forest Park.

They are lucky if they see the iconic view of the City of Roses with the majestic 11,245′ snow-covered Mt. Hood in the background. I did not. 

From Portland the snowy peaks of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens are not always visible due to low valleys, hills, trees and cloudy skies. So when we find ourselves somewhere where we can actually see them we gleefully exclaim, “Oh, look! The Mountains are out today!” This photo was taken from the I-205 viewpoint looking across the Willamette River wth Mt. Hood overlooking Oregon City.

I have truly enjoyed the last 6 weeks in my own bed with my old pillow. Let me know when you’re coming to Portland. It would be fun to Meet You in the Morning…

10 responses to “Portland’s Forest Park

  1. I agree! I’ve traveled around the world and seen a lot of beautiful places, and Oregon and the Pacific Northwest can’t be beat. The only negative for me are the gloomy days as one who suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affectation Disorder.)


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