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Alder-Wildwood Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Big Douglas-firs, Wildwood Trail, Forest Park (bobcat)
Alder trail plaque, Leif Erikson Drive, Forest Park (bobcat)
Sweet colt's foot (Petasites frigidus), Dogwood Trail (bobcat)
The loop using the Wildwood, Alder, Dogwood, and Wild Cherry Trails as well as Leif Erikson Drive (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Portland Parks & Recreation

Contents

Hike Description

This is a short loop for those needing an outing in nature before going on to other activities in the city. The route passes through mainly deciduous forest, so the prime time to hike it is in the fall, when the big-leaf maples will be putting on a spectacular display. You’ll use the Alder Trail, completed in 1980, and walk along the remains of a canal dug out for the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition.

Hike in from the parking pullout and head left at the first junction on the Keil Trail. There’s a memorial plaque set in a stone here. Hike up to the top of a rise, the high point on this hike, and go left at the sign for the Dogwood Trail. Drop down the slope past a pole fence protecting a replanted area. You’ll pass the biggest conifers on the hike here, some stately Douglas-firs, in a carpet of sword fern and Oregon grape. Reach the Wildwood Trail at the Wildwood and 53rd Trailhead and continue left (north) on that trail.

You’ll now hike along a slope that is primarily composed of deciduous red alder and big-leaf maple with a few assorted conifers: Douglas-fir, western hemlock, grand fir, western red-cedar. Pass the 9 ¼ mile marker on the Wildwood Trail and reach the Wildwood-Alder Trail Junction. Descend the Alder Trail on a slope of the trees that gave this path its name. Cross a small creek and traverse on a level contour. Head into a gully and cross a footbridge before dropping to the Leif Erikson Drive-Alder Trail Junction. A plaque here commemorates the completion of the Alder Trail in 1980.

Go right on Leif Erikson: you're at the 1 ½ mile point of the road. There’s deep gully down to your left. Hike around to another gully where Leif Erikson cuts into the bedrock of the Tualatin Hills – the rocky faces are now festooned with licorice fern. Pass the 1 mile marker at a cottonwood, and then reach the Leif Erikson Drive-Dogwood Trail Junction.

Ascend the Dogwood, crossing a footbridge and switchbacking twice under maple trees shading a carpet of sword fern and invasive ivy. The trail rises up a ridge crest and comes to the Wildwood-Dogwood Trail Junction. Go left and make a generally level transit of the slope. You’ll notice a ditch on the upslope side of the trail. This is the remnant of a canal constructed to deliver water to the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition. Pass a bench, and then cross a couple of footbridges. Reach the Wildwood-Wild Cherry Trail Junction and head up the latter trail. Wind up and switchback at a bench and memorial plaque for Nancy Bergeson. Continue up a slope of Oregon grape and sword fern to the Northwest 53rd Trailhead.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Share Leif Erikson Drive with bikers

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Portland, Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • One City’s Wilderness: Portland’s Forest Park by Marcy Cottrell Houle
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Hiking & Running Guide to Forest Park by Friends of Forest Park

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.