Northwest Portland has several parks that provide natural beauty amid the urban area and surrounding suburb neighborhoods. Each of these parks has a unique draw, be it for their off-leash dog areas, public art, sport fields or its earthy offering of hiking, biking and fitness terrain.
Linnton Park is a great area for cyclists who enjoy the rugged sprawl of low shrubbery and a high canopy of trees. There are a few established cycling routes through the area that connect the neighborhood of Linnton with the larger Forest Park, though much of the acreage here includes narrow runs through the flora and fauna as established by cyclists instead of pedestrian traffic; expect to rush through risky paths that are just narrow enough for a rider and bipedal steed to traverse, keeping a look out for tracks made by other riders when navigating the area.
This section of the vast forest land on Portland’s western edge gets very damp year-round, so dress appropriately and expect to toss some mud on these trails. There is also plenty of wildlife in the area, meaning an encounter with anything from a squirrel to a deer should be expected.
The Aaron Meier (of Meier & Frank fame) estate initially held ownership of this land, though Boy Scouts troops used the area for their group activities and it was gifted to the City of Portland in 1938; Boy Scouts troops then assisted in the reforesting efforts of the area. There is a schoolhouse in the southwest park of the park that is now a condominium property,with most of the park hosting natural space beyond the school until the eastern border provided by US Highway 30 (Northwest St. Helens Road). Donation Land Act author and environmental lobbyist Sen. Lewis F. Linn is the park’s namesake, as he was instrumental in providing Oregon Territory land to settlers and was dubbed the Father of Oregon before his passing in 1843.
Linnton Park is located at Northwest Fifth Street and St. Helens Road. TriMet Bus Line 17 passes by the area and makes a stop across from the park, and there is some vehicle parking available in the neighborhood at the park’s entrance. It is about seven miles northwest of the Pearl District, so it makes a great destination for a bike ride out of the city for some time spent in the forest, with a smooth trip along Highway 30 to and from the park.