You can watch the time-lapse video of our hike on our YouTube channel!
On the first day of the New Year, we ventured up to Forest Park and hiked around for a couple of hours. We started at the Lower Macleay Trailhead in Northwest Portland (note: parking can be challenging in this area, so mentally prepare yourself for it).
Since everybody and their brother had today off, the trail was a little crowded, particularly as we approached the Stone House (i.e. Witch’s Castle), but didn’t start getting busy again until we met up with the Wildwood Trail to go up to Pittock Mansion…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Along the way and after the Stone House, there were a number of waterfalls in Balch Creek and a couple of bridges to cross (just another note here: the bridges can be a bit slick when it’s frosty outside, so don’t be afraid to hold onto the rails).
After crossing NW Cornell Road, we took the Upper Macleay Trail which had much more intensive elevation change, as opposed to just taking the Wildwood Trail, the “meandering” trail within the park. What a workout! About halfway up, we decided that instead of making the day’s hike a loop, we’d go up to Pittock Mansion and turn it into an out-and-back.
Eventually, the Upper Macleay Trail met up with the Wildwood Trail and it wasn’t not too far to the Pittock Mansion parking lot. We wandered down to the viewpoint (you do NOT have to pay for the view) and took a break, watching the downtown fog FINALLY retreat. And the view of Mt. Hood!
As the low-level clouds subsided, we readied ourselves for a trip back down the trail. By this time, it was just after noon and you could tell that the sleepy New Year’s Eve-ers had rolled out of bed. There were big groups of folks hiking around, some with 10-15 people(!). We navigated back easily, taking the Wildwood Trail (rather than the Upper Macleay) until it met up with the Lower Macleay and headed back to the car.
It was a GORGEOUS day for a hike, but chilly!
Conditions: Start Time: 10:35am; Starting Temperature: 35F/1.6C and foggy. Ending Time: 1:20pm; Ending Temperature: ~40F/4.4C and mostly sunny.