3 Active Ways to Tour Portland

by Sandra Scott

Rain or shine, Portlanders can be seen walking, biking and hiking. The weather never puts a damper on the day for locals and it shouldn’t for visitors either. Take a short walk through one of Portland’s gardens or hike along the Wildwood Trail or explore one of the city’s neighborhoods on a rent-a-bike.

Walk It

A zen-like walk through the 5.5-acre Japanese Garden is even more brilliant just after a light rain—the colours glisten. Just one of several gardens in the area, the much-acclaimed authentic Japanese Garden has five distinct garden styles, each creating a sense of peace, harmony and tranquility based on the essential elements: stone, water and plants. You can also visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which offers a window into Chinese culture, history and philosophy.


Credit: Sandra Scott

Art is everywhere—you can pick up a “Guide to Portland Public Art” and explore it on foot. Or try one of several other walking tours of the city; my favorite walkabout was the Chocolate Decadence Walking Tour that in two hours covered only a little more than a mile but included eatable, drinkable and chewable chocolate and even oil and vinegar infused with chocolate.

Hike It

Pittock Mansion is a pride of the city and a tour of the 100-year-old mansion is in order, as is a walk around the grounds, where the gardens have roses in bloom most of the year. But at the top of the parking lot you can also begin the 30-mile Wildwood Trail and explore Washington Park. Multnomah Waterfalls is another must-do when in Portland—it’s a 30-minute drive to these beautiful falls, but the 611-foot cascade can be viewed from the base or by taking the paved trail to the Benson Bridge for an up-close perspective. The hardy and fit may want to hike another mile up the steep path to the top of the falls or continue on for miles though the woodlands.


Credit: Sandra Scott

Bike It

There are many opportunities to bike Portland like a local. You can mountain bike in 5, 400-acre Forest Park, the largest forested urban park in the United States. The Portland Bureau of Transportation also has online biking maps of the various Portland neighborhoods, and new trails are always in progress. The Waud Bluff Trail, a $3.2 million project, includes a recently opened 1, 700-foot trail that connects North Portland to Swan Island. Most of the bridges are bike friendly.


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