Northwest Leif Erikson Drive

Forest Park, Oregon

Distance10.2mi
Elevation Gain4,259ft
Trailhead Elevation339ft
Top734ft
Elevation Min/Max339/734ft
Elevation Start/End339/339ft

Northwest Leif Erikson Drive

Northwest Leif Erikson Drive is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Portland, Oregon. It is within Forest Park. It is 10.2 miles long and begins at 339 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 20.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,259 feet. Near the trailhead there are drinking water and parking. The Forest Park (elevation 719 feet) wood can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Maple Trail, Nature Trail, Water Line Trail, Chestnut Trail, Koenig Trail, Wild Cherry Trail, Hardesty Trail, Northwest Firelane 5 Road, Northwest Saltzman Road, Dogwood Trail, Cleater Trail, Northwest Firelane 3 Road, Gasline Trail, Northwest Springville Road, Northwest Firelane 2 Road, Ridge Trail, Northwest Firelane 1 Road, Wiregate Trail, Alder Trail, Firelane 4 and Quarry Trail.

Northwest Leif Erikson Drive Professional Reviews and Guides

"Nonmotorized multi-use gravel-dirt road with distance markers that winds through 5,000-acre Forest Park in Portland. Occasional views. This civilized multi-use trail is an easy cruise on a multi-use gravel road that takes you through the heart of Forest Park’s 5,000-acre urban sanctuary.

You can keep track of your mileage by handy mileage markers that are strategically placed on the right side of the road every quarter mile. Most likely you’ll encounter blazing mountain bikers doing laps on this stretch. Stay on the right side of the trail and keep an ear out for passing warnings. Water is available at the start of this route."

"Portland’s Forest Park is a wilderness setting in a world-class city providing a spectacular loop that combines both gravel and dirt roads and pavement. You’ll ride for 6 miles on Leif Erikson Drive, winding through a landscape of hardy bigleaf maples, dark green sword fern, Oregon grape, and red elderberry.

After a short paved section, you’ll ride a steep descent on Firelane 1, where you may have to dodge a few boulders, roots, and rocks. Nowhere else can you be so close to a city, yet feel so far from it all. Trail surface: 0.9 mile of singletrack; 11.2 miles of gravel and dirt roads; 2.9 miles of paved road."

"The route travels on singletrack trails and a doubletrack gravel road through the scenic treed setting of Forest Park. Tree roots. Bridge crossings. This loop route takes you on a wild and free run through the lush canopy of 5,000-acre Forest Park.

A large section of this trail follows the Wildwood Trail that sweeps along the ridgeline through a predominantly big-leaf maple and Douglas fir forest, ducking in and out of side canyons and rolling up and down the fern-covered hillside. The return portion of this trail takes you along the popular Leif Erikson Drive, which is usually packed with walkers, mountain bikers, and runners. Water is available at the start of this route."

"This route takes you on a 16.0-mile out-and-back section of Leif Erikson Drive, a gravel multiuse trail that journeys through Portland’s famous 5,000-acre Forest Park. You will pedal within a landscape of shady big-lea f maple and alder trees carpeted with sword fern, Oregon grape, and red elderberry. Along the way there are viewpoints from which you can see the Columbia River and downtown Portland.

There aren’t many city parks where you can pedal through a 5,000-acre forest that is home to more than sixty-t wo species of mammals and 112 species of birds. But, as one of the largest city parks in the world, Portland’s Forest Park is one such place. Thanks should go to those who lived in Portland at the turn of the century, and who had the foresight to secure what is today a wonderful park system enjoyed by mountain bikers, runners, and hikers alike."

"When it was constructed, Leif Erikson Drive was supposed to be the main artery that would connect Northwest Portland to a yet-to-be-constructed development of stately homes along the Tualatin Mountains.

The combination of a massive landslide and a slumping economy prevented any further development. Investors defaulted, and the land fell back into the city’s lap. That entire stretch of land is now Forest Park. And the road that was supposed to lead to high- end real estate now carves an easy path that winds its way from Northwest Portland to Germantown Road in the heart of the park."

"Highlights: This is a gated road traversing Forest Park, which is one of the largest city parks in the country. The trail is close to town, surrounded by deep forest, and has a couple of great views of the city.

Tread: 22.6 miles gravel-and-dirt road. Hazards: The roads and firelanes are not marked very well. Lots of hikers and runners. Use caution when passing, and control your speed. Remember that all singletrack in Forest Park is closed to mountain bikes."

Northwest Leif Erikson Drive Reviews

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8/8/2018
I love this trail and retreat here often because it is so close to Portland. A lovely escape with lush green trees and beautiful scenery all around. While it is peaceful and relaxing, a lot of the rest of Portland comes here, as well, so I always expect to see cyclists and trail runners besides us walkers. There are various trail networks to choose from.
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7/4/2018
Beautiful ride through the forest on mostly gravel roads. A couple of steep (short) sections. Overall nice ride close to the city.
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7/29/2012
A pretty scenic and fast beginner trail. Overall the climbs and descents are very gradual. This trail is made fun by cranking up your speed and givin'er in the corners! Just watch out for other trail users in the first and last 2 miles.
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2/8/2010
This is a great trail. It's nice because of its proximity to downtown Portland. There were many people hiking and jogging and just generally getting exercise. My trainer, Nick, (with Portland Personal Training and Weight Loss) had organized a group outing to get several of us out to do something active that wasn't in a gym. All in all it was a great trip, and I would do it again. http://www.portlandpersonaltraining.com/
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3/28/2008
Perhaps a good "beginner" trail, for anyone else it's a pretty boring flat Out-and-Back that's very popular with runners, dog walkers etc. Best used as access/return from some of the firelane trails.
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2/2/2008
I started the Leif Erikson fromt the NW 23rd area of Portland. It was snowing that day and yet several people were still out. Parking was hard to find, people were parking a half mile down the road. The start of my run started on a slush covered gravel road. Running was kind of slow, but the view was incredible. The forest is so green here. Heavy slush/snow was covering everything. Approx 0.8 miles up the road I turned onto Dogwood trail and then approx .75 miles up the road turned onto Wildwood. Unbelievable! Snow everywhere. Lot's of fun. I even saw 60ft tree fall about 40 feet from where I was. One of those once in a life time runs. Felt very surreal. Almost like something from JRR Tolkien or CS Lewis. The only reason it didn't get five stars from me was the slip factor! Have fun.
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6/5/2007
Awesome run. Narrow smooth trails through beautiful trees.
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6/29/2000
This trail is not really mountain biking the most tecniqual part of the trip is riding on the gravel. The trail is an old logging railroad. So it has a long shallow inclines. Half of the trip is on pavement.
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Northwest Leif Erikson Drive Photos

Trail Information

Forest Park
Nearby City
Forest Park
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Oregon Road & Recreation Atlas: Page 106 D4
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018