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Firelane 7-Springville Road Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Trillium and cedar, Firelane 7, Forest Park (bobcat)
Alder alley, Firelane 7, Forest Park (bobcat)
House foundation, Leif Erikson Drive (bobcat)
The "Big Stump", Hardesty Trail (bobcat)
The loop described using Firelane 7, the Wildwood and Hardesty Trails, Leif Erikson Drive, and Springville Road (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Portland Parks & Recreation

Contents

Hike Description

In the central and northern sections of vast Forest Park, numerous fire lanes and old road tracks run from east to west down the slope of the Tualatin Hills. Before the Wildwood Trail was built through here, these were the principal avenues of access. This loop uses a Firelane 7 on the way down the slope and Springville Road on the way back, both routes making use of ridge lines where you won't see a lot of other visitors. Springville Road is an old wagon road that Tualatin Valley farmers used to haul their produce up and over the hills to the Willamette River. In between Firelane 7 and Springville, you'll hike along the more popular Wildwood Trail, following contours in and out of gullies in secondary forest. Look for forest wildflowers in spring and early summer and mushrooms in the fall.

Walk down Springville Road through a green gate. In about 30 yards, Firelane 7 peels off to the right. The firelanes and roads in Forest Park are also used by mountain bikers, so keep alert on this section of the hike. Big-leaf maple, red alder, sword fern, salal, western red-cedar, Oregon grape, Douglas-fir, grand fir and a few hemlock saplings make up the woodland here. Come to the Hardesty Trail-Firelane 7 Junction and keep right. The trail rises briefly and passes the junction with the Trillium Trail, which offers a shortcut to the Wildwood Trail. To complete this loop, however, stay on Firelane 7 in an avenue of alders and maples and then descend again. Keep right at the junction with the Ridge Trail. The wide firelane levels and rises. Alders dominate here. Reach the junction with Firelane 7A and stay right. This is also called the Oil Line Road (part of Firelane 7). There are more evergreens on this section. Warning signs declare a petroleum pipeline. Arrive at the Wildwood Trail-Firelane 7 Junction and go left.

Alders, maples, cascara saplings and old stumps make up the woodland. The forest becomes young hemlocks under Douglas-firs and maples. Sword fern, holly, and Oregon grape make up the understory. Then enter deciduous groves of maple and alder with thickets of salmonberry along the draws. Keep straight at the junction with Firelane 7A. There are glimpses of the industrial area far below and always the sounds of traffic and trains. The woods are very open in the winter on this section as many of the trees are deciduous. Pass a pit next to the trail. Head into a deep draw with cedars and drooping vine maples on a maidenhair-lined trail. Cross a seasonal creek and then the trail heads gently up. Pass the junction with the Ridge Trail. Descend on an old road bed and pass through a grove of hemlock and cedar, crossing a seasonal creek on a footbridge. Then hike under more hemlocks and cedars to arrive at the Wildwood-Hardesty Trail Junction, where you go right.

Descend and cross a creek; then pass the "Big Stump", a huge cedar stump with springboard notches: this tree was brought down over 100 years ago. The Hardesty is a wide, packed trail that loses altitude rather quickly. A creek runs on your right. We come to the junction with Leif Erikson Drive, which is very popular with runners and bikers, and go left at Milepost 9. Cedar, hemlock and Douglas-fir predominate down here. Sword fern and inside-out flower verge the road. Ivy crawls high up many of the conifers and carpets the forest floor. On the left are some cement steps from a house that once stood here, a reminder that, beginning in 1914, Leif Erikson Drive (then Hillside Drive) was platted out as a subdivision. A damaged, feathery branched Arizona cypress, snapped off about ten feet up, still survives here. Come to a Forest Park map sign and head up Springville Road to the left. Note the occasional Pacific yew amongst the other conifers. Soon come to the junction with the Wildwood Trail and cross it. Pass an orange gate on your left and keep rising to the junction with Firelane 7, where you go right through the green gate to parking.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Watch for bikers on roads and fire lanes
  • Park hours: 5:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

Parts of this loop are described in these guidebooks:

  • One City's Wilderness: Portland's Forest Park by Marcy Cottrell Houle
  • Portland Forest Hikes by James D. Thayer
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain

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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.