So you want to go outside but are at a loss for where to go? Maybe you don’t have a car and are too poor to rent one? Well, you’re in luck! Portland is absolutely full of parks, hiking trails, and other fun things to do that are within biking, walking or public transit distance.
First, seriously just go out to the Park Blocks. Have you ever actually spent time out there? I spend a lot of my time in a basement and in classrooms that have no windows (I’m lookin’ at you Neuberger Hall). So the Park Blocks are seriously rejuvenating. Just go out there and look at the trees! Sit on the grass! If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll meet Beef the Pig.
If you really want to get off campus, there are still a crazy amount of options. Mt. Tabor is just a few miles across the Hawthorne Bridge. You can catch the 14 from downtown or ride a bike if it’s sunny out. Mt. Tabor has beautiful walking trails, big stretches of grass that offer views of the city, and water reservoirs that are interesting to look at. It is a mountain, so it can be tough to get your bike up there, but the view and the breeze that comes when you’re so high up are most definitely worth it. Bring a picnic and lounge on the grass to read a book or tan your pasty white appendages that probably haven’t seen the sun in many moons.
Forest Park offers a different nature experience. Located just up from the Pearl District, Forest Park is literally a forest within our city. It’s huge. There are miles and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Beautiful, wild trees and shrubs and stuff. You might find some animals out there too. It’s easy to get lost in Forest Park, so if you go it’s advisable to do some research beforehand or bring a map so you know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Maybe tell some people where you’re going just in case you don’t come back for a few days.
If you like to bike or run, the Springwater Corridor Trail is a pretty neat option. It’s a super long, paved trail that starts near OMSI and heads down to Sellwood and then east toward Gresham. You can bike until you’re tired and then just turn around and come back the other direction until your legs feel like they’re going to fall off. Keep in mind that you might run into some tent camps, so it might be best to go out in the daytime.
Portland is pretty lucky to be the home of some pretty amazing city parks. Laurelhurst Park is on Southeast Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard and Start Street and is huge. It’s got a duck pond, and a dog park, and lots of walking trails and trees. It’s also got a few basketball courts and tennis courts and even a gazebo or two.
If Laurelhurst is too big for your taste, you can visit Mill Ends Park on Southwest Naito Parkway and Taylor Street. It’s the tiniest official park in the world and it’s super cute. Plus it’s a short walk from campus, so there’s no excuse not to go see it.
Just go outside, ya dummy. It’s beautiful out there.