This loop hike can be your base for exploring and an introduction to all that Washington Park has to offer. From a hiker’s perspective, the heart of the park is Hoyt Arboretum, founded in 1928 on land that was completely clear-cut in the early 20th century. Stop at the visitor center (which is on this loop) for a helpful map. Beginning your walk at the Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial, follow the trail under and then across the bridge and through a circular series of memorials describing events at home and in Southeast Asia from 1959 to 1972.
Follow the trail out of the memorial, and then turn left onto Wildwood Trail. (To your right is the beginning of this “wonder trail,” which wanders some 30 miles through Washington and Forest Parks.)
"Yet another of the many things that make Portlanders feel so lucky to live here: this hilltop park complex practically right in the middle of town features a network of wilderness trails linking a huge range of family-friendly things to see and do, not to mention postcard-quality views in all directions. This is Washington Park, the Southwest Portland companion to the adjoining (and somewhat wilder) Forest Park, an awesome 5,000-acre forested woodland that occupies a large part of Northwest Portland. Best of all, Washington Park is easy to get to: just hop on MAX Light Rail, take an elevator up to the surface, and you’re standing in the midst of a handful of attractions, including several good museums and the Oregon Zoo. From there it’s a short hike along softly winding forest paths to reach a pair of beautifully sculpted gardens. You’ll want to bring snacks or a picnic for this walk, if only because you’ll have an excuse to linger." Read more
"This 332-acre park offers sweeping panoramic views, play and picnic areas, tennis courts, a zoo, and an amphitheater for outdoor concerts. It is one of Portland’s oldest and best-loved parks. Former German sailor Charles Meyers, the first park keeper, relied on his memories of European parks as he developed what was then called City Park. Former seaman Richard Knight, a Portland pharmacist, had begun purchasing the animals collected by his old shipmates during their travels. When his acquisitions outgrew his exhibition space, he donated the animals to the city for a zoo. Meyers added the role of zookeeper to his duties. He dug the world’s first sunken pit to house the zoo’s bears." Read more
"Washington Park now covers 400 acres of the 5,100-acre Forest Park. The formal northeastern corner developed into a European style of park when prosperous Portlanders admired East Coast elegance. Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm developed vistas and a master plan. The southwestern corner, a more-informal, child-accessible, and nature-oriented park, has a zoo, museums, the tranquil Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, and access to trails throughout Forest Park. The longest trail, Wildwood, begins here." Read more