12/14/13

Walk Leif Erickson Road - NW


If you don't mind facing fog or little drizzle, grab a raincoat and walk along Leif Erickson Road. This lush, scenic road runs right through the heart of Forest Park and is semi-paved so that your shoes don't get too muddy. 

Leif Erickson Road is the perfect trail to show out-of-town guests the beauty of the area without the commitment of doing an intense, muddy hike. You can casually walk along the road and turn back any time you get tired, or you can choose to do a loop through the trail system.

The trailhead is at the end of NW Thurman. Park near the gate. 


The road will meander for 11 full miles and is a favorite spot for runners and cyclists. Unlike Washington Park or the Rose Garden, this part of Forest Park is mostly used by locals and is even considered to be somewhat of a secret gem. You'll see many valleys like this:

One great thing about winter hikes  in Portland is the fog. Fog evokes a feeling of mystery and beauty, while also keeping the local ferns green and bright. This is one of the first valleys you'll see.

Leif Erickson is beautiful, but if you are up for a little more of a challenge, my favorite loop is 3.4 miles long from your car and back takes about 1.5 hours to hike. Here is a complete map.

Walk along Leif Erickson for a mile until you see a trailhead sign on your left for Alder Trail. Start up the trail and walk for a mile until you connect with Wildwood Trail. You are going to stay on Wildwood for one more mile. You'll see a number of diverging trailheads, but always stay on Wildwood. This one is the trickiest:


Along the way, you'll see amazing trees, ferns, mushrooms, and all of the NW nature elements that make this place so special.

Check out this fog! Whoa! Feels magical.

When you get to Wild Cherry Trail, take that back down for .4 miles to Lief Erickson. Walk another .25 miles and you'll be back at the trailhead. Voila!

Hungry afterwards? Well, you deserve to eat a big meal after exercising. Head down to NW 21st and Lovejoy where you can partake in a $9.99 Indian lunch buffet at Swagat any day of the week or choose a cheap and huge burrito next door at Laughing Planet. Here's a map to get you there.

So good every time. They have beer there, too.

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