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Hoyt Arboretum Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Stand of young sequoias and redwoods, Hoyt Arboretum (bobcat)
Basket of Air, Bamboo Garden, Hoyt Arboretum (bobcat)
Fruit of the Chinese yellow magnolia, Hoyt Arboretum (bobcat)
White-barked Himalayan birch, Hoyt Arboretum (bobcat)
Pacific madrone displaying red berries in the fall, Hoyt Arboretum (bobcat)
Tupelo tree, Hoyt Arboretum (bobcat)
The loop described above (bobcat) Courtesy: Portland Parks & Recreation


Hike Description

The Hoyt Arboretum, former site of a "poor farm" (the predecessor to Edgefield), displays a variety of coniferous and deciduous trees, including most native varieties from the Pacific Northwest as well as other North American species and a selection of exotics. Since the Arboretum has been going since 1928, many of the trees are mature specimens and represent over 1,000 species. As evidenced by the trail names, the area of the arboretum west of Fairview Boulevard is devoted to conifers, while the slopes to the east support an array of deciduous trees; this part of the park puts on a colorful display in the fall. A web-like arrangement of trails, at least 12 miles' worth on 187 acres, takes you to all corners of the park, including some stands of native forest, and your options are many. The two principal places to park are at the Wildwood Trailhead just north of the Oregon Zoo and at the Hoyt Arboretum Visitor Center. This loop, taking in all the main sights of the park, is described as from the former, but there are numerous other points to begin, including via a couple of major connector trails: the Marquam from the south and the Wildwood from the north.

From the Wildwood Trailhead, cross the road near the parking lot entrance and pick up the Wildwood Trail as it heads uphill. Keep right at the first trail junction, but then go left at the next junction. Hiking under Douglas-firs, keep right at another junction, stay left where a connector trail joins the Wildwood, and then come to a T-junction. Go right here, still on the Wildwood Trail, under hazels, Douglas-firs and big-leaf maples. At the junction with the Hemlock Trail, make a left up to S.W. Fairview Boulevard, and cross it. The trail switchbacks down through a grove of hemlocks on a gravel tread. Reach an open area: Go left and then left again back into the woods. Cross a footbridge, and turn right on the Creek Trail for a few yards before making a left on the White Pine Trail, passing thimbleberries, sword fern, hazel, vine maple, maidenhair fern, and Armenian blackberry. At a junction, switchback up to the left. The trail follows a boundary fence on an open slope forested with maple, cedar, hemlock, Douglas-fir and grand fir. Pass through a stand of red pines, and at the next two junctions, keep left on the White Pine Trail, heading back into native woods and descending a ridge crest. Switchback at the nose of the ridge and meet the Himalayan Pine Trail.

Go right on the latter under a canopy of Scots pines. At the next junction go left, passing by Rhaetic pines from Switzerland peppered with drill holes by a sapsucker. Look out for Himalayan pines and a large grand fir here, too. The trail crosses Fischer Lane, borders a stand of Alaska yellow-cedar, and arrives at the Creek Trail. Go right on the Creek Trail to hike by the former site of the Arboretum's bamboo collection: The bamboo now resides at a sunnier spot up the slope near the junction of the Redwood and Fir Trails. Make a left to cross a footbridge up to the Redwood Trail. Turn left on the Redwood, walking under incense cedars and then through a stately grove of sequoias and redwoods, to rejoin the Wildwood Trail. Turn right here and switchback up, passing a junction with the Spruce Trail, to enter native woods. Then switchback under ponderosa pines to S.W. Fairview Boulevard. Walk right for 20 yards on Fairview, and then head up the Fir Trail. Hike under maritime pines and different species of Asian firs. Drop down at a grove of Norway spruce, and keep left on the Fir Trail to cross Fischer Lane. Reach a shelter, and then go left up a staircase to reach Fairview Boulevard again. Cross the road to the Hoyt Arboretum Visitor Center, which dispenses handy maps and is well worth a stop.

Facing the Visitor Center, walk left to keep straight at a paved trail, and then turn downhill on the Oak Trail. Switchback to the left at a junction on the Oak Trail under a shingle oak, and then descend, viewing a grove of black oaks on the left. Note some swamp white and basket oaks, and reach the Wildwood Trail again. Go right here to switchback down to the right. Cross Upper Cascade Drive and then Cascade Drive before making a right on the Magnolia Trail to enter the Winter Garden, with its heathers and daphnes. Enjoy a planting of white-barked Himalayan birch, and recross Cascade Drive. Come to the junction with the Beech Trail, but keep left to stay on the Magnolia Trail. Switchback up, and keep right at a spur going up steps onto private property. At another junction, keep left and ascend to see plantings of different magnolia species. Make a left at the next junction before making three switchbacks up the slope, passing some sassafras and sweetgums. Cross Upper Cascade Drive, and step around a green gate before walking towards a water tank.

Come to a junction with the Wildwood Trail, and go left under honey locusts. Stay left again at the next junction to switchback down at a splendid birchbark cherry. Pass under cherries of various species, and then switchback in native Douglas-fir, red-cedar, and maple woods. Note some crabapples, and then reach the junction with the Cherry Trail. Keep left, and descend into native woods once more. At the next junction, go right on the Walnut Trail. Cross a grassy area and then a tongue of forest. At the junction with the Maple Trail, go left and begin making a traverse across the slope. Hornbeam, Douglas-fir, buckthorn and raisin trees have been planted here. A variety of maples grow close to the junction with the Hawthorn Trail. Keep left here. The sugar maples below display bright orange finery in the fall. Walk by a stand of birch and green ash. At the junction with the Overlook Trail, turn left and head down. Look up to the right at a beautiful flowering ash, another dazzler in the fall. Cross S.W. Kingston to the parking area.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • No bicycles on trails
  • Arboretum open 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Visitor Center open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily
  • Pay for parking


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

Note: All of the guidebooks below describe the Hoyt Arboretum, but none address the exact loop detailed above.

  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Urban Trails: Portland by Eli Boschetto
  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Urban Hikes Oregon by Adam Sawyer
  • Best Outdoor Adventures Near Portland, Oregon by Adam Sawyer
  • 100 Hikes: Northwest Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • 50 Hiking Trails: Portland and Northwest Oregon by Don and Roberta Lowe
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Portland, Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Walking Portland, Oregon by Sybilla Avery Cook
  • Easy Portland Outdoors by Teresa Bergen
  • Hiking Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • The Disabled Hiker's Guide to Western Washington and Oregon by Syren Nagakyrie
  • Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine by Michael C. Houck and M.J. Cody (editors)
  • Peaceful Places: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • The Dog Lover's Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson

More Links


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.