Safe and Accessible Trails

Forest Park Conservancy partners with Portland Parks & Recreation to maintain and improve the soft surface trails in Forest Park for the use and enjoyment of thousands of visitors each year. We conduct trail maintenance and trail improvement projects year-round, through the sun, (partial sun,) rain, hail and sometimes snow. Portland’s wet climate, topography and geology make keeping these trails dry and evenly graded a challenge, which we take on every year through thousands of hours of work contributed by hundreds of volunteers, volunteer crew leaders, trail interns and one full-time staff member. Trail work varies with the seasons and, for much of the year, focuses on keeping the Northwest’s bountiful rainfall from damaging and eroding the trails.

Trail work is hard work, consisting of scraping, digging, grading, and hauling; chopping, lopping and sawing; hiking across creeks and through beautiful forest and watching the birds while you’re at it. In the summer, we cut back encroaching vegetation and rebuild eroded trail. When the rainy season comes, we scrape organic material from the trail surface and sculpt the tread to improve drainage. Year-round, we remove trees that have fallen across the trail, repair bridges and carry out other special projects as they arise.

Report trail hazards including trees down across the trails and fire lanes.


Recent projects 

Quarry Trail

Our staff and volunteers are in the final stages of a reroute of the Quarry Trail that will improve the management of water runoff and provide a more durable tread surface and alignment. This project entailed a small reroute, building several stone retaining walls, and adding more crush stone to harden and improve surface drainage on the trail. Over the winter of 2018 we will be planting native plant species in the decommissioned portion of Quarry Trail to reduce soil erosion and assure that this trail section remains visibly closed. 

Wildwood between mile marker 18 and 19

This one of our larger that will improve the majority of the problem sections of trail between Wildwood mile markers 18 and 19. We have built several small stone retaining walls to raise the trail surface out of muddy areas, built a 12 foot long by 4 foot tall crib wall made of sustainably sourced Juniper lumber (to fix a section of trail that collapsed due to a tree blowdown), removed several small defunct plastic trail culverts, and have completed tread maintenance on the entire section of trail between the junction of Wildwood and Trillium Trail and the junction of Wildwood and Wiregate Trail. The trail repairs are ongoing - stay tuned for more information and photos!

Birch Trail

Early in the summer with the help of several volunteer work events we installed over 8 new drainage dips along Birch Trail in order to encourage surface water to run off of the trail surface and improve the durability of this great soft-surface trail. Volunteers also removed an old defunct soft-surface trail culvert and replaced it with a crush stone filled drain dip. You can now count on Birch Trail as mud-free route to Wildwood from the 53rd Street trailheads. 

Ditch Trail

Thanks to a grant from Metro, we are regrading Wildwood Trail from mile 8 to 8.75. By adding rock retaining walls, drains, and leveling of trail surface, we are making important improvements to this heavily used trail. Ancient Forest Preserve Trail  We are expanding the trail in FPC's Ancient Preserve located North of Forest Park. Thanks to support from REI and the Bill Healy Foundation, we hope to complete the trail by the end of the summer of 2016. We are adding more signage, benches and a longer trail to enjoy this unique old growth forest so close to Portland.

Wildwood Trail above Stone House - Phase II

This section of the Wildwood Trail between the Stone House and Holman Lane (mp 5.5 6) is many people’s first introduction to Forest Park. In connects people from local neighborhoods, with popular trail heads to the Stone House, Lower Macleay Park, the Audubon Society, and Pittock Mansion. It is a popular trail for runners, hikers, and families, many accompanied by dogs. The popularity of this trail has caused multiple areas of erosion, trail narrowing, and the exposing of sharp rocks.  

We will add rock retaining walls to eliminate muddy areas and decrease the slope of the trail in certain areas. This project will make hiking on this section of the Wildwood so much better!

Springville Section of the Wildwood Trail

This section of Wildwood Trail (mp 21 -­ 22.5) is heavily used by hikers and runners, many accompanied by dogs. Six culverts have washed out, causing the trail to become muddy and dangerous during the wet seasons. To avoid hiking through the mud, people walk high ­ creating a second trail. In order to eliminate the widening of trail and promote proper drainage, we will need to construct nearly 250 feet of retaining walls, replace 2 culverts, install french drains, and armor (put down gravel) the entire section of trail with gravel.  

The Big Picture - Greater Forest Park Conservation Initiative

FPC's work maintaining and improving the trails in Forest Park ensures a great experience for visitors and plays an important role keeping our streams free of sediment. This means native fish and other aquatic species have healthier habitats. Our trails work is a critical component of the Greater Forest Park Conservation Initiative. To learn more about our 20 year plan to restore and protect Forest Park and the surrounding land, click here.

This work is funded by individual donors, foundations, public agencies and local businesses. We also count on dedicated volunteers who make a huge difference in Forest Park and even have fun in the process! If you'd like to donate or volunteer on these or other projects, please contact us.  

Do you have suggestions for future trail projects? Let us know!

2014 PROJECTS Completed

Wild Cherry Trail 

Thanks to support from lots of volunteers, we added rock retaining walls, drains, and trail surface maintenance to decrease erosion and difficulty of trail.

Alder Trail Re-Route

Many hikers will appreciate the addition of a new contour trail with North and South approaches from Wildwood trail and decommissioning (closure) of the steep and muddy old Alder trail.



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