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Linnton Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Footbridge and creek, Linnton Trail (bobcat)
Traverse through Oregon grape, Linnton Trail (bobcat)
Old reservoir, MacKay Avenue, Forest Park (bobcat)
11-mile marker, Leif Erikson Drive (bobcat)
The loop route into Forest Park from Linnton (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Portland Parks & Recreation
  • Start point: Linnton TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Leif Erikson Drive North Trailhead
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 5.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 930 feet
  • High Point: 880 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, on the Wildwood Trail only


Hike Description

This hike takes you into Forest Park from the small trailhead area at a bus stop in Linnton. The loop described actually takes you through two parks, Linnton (1938) and Clark & Wilson (1927), established before Forest Park came together as a grander entity in 1948. Together with Macleay Park (1897) and Holman Park (1939), these were folded into Forest Park upon its creation. Linnton Park’s acreage was donated by Aaron Meier, from the family of Meier and Frank fame; the Clark & Wilson Timber Company, which operated of and employed much of Linnton at one time, donated its 17 acres to preserve some of the hillside timberland.

From the bus shelter, head up the creek on its north bank under big-leaf maple, Douglas-fir, Pacific yew, and western hemlock. There is an understory of sword fern, licorice fern, salmonberry, and red huckleberry. There’s a tiny waterfall on the creek near the trailhead. At a footbridge over the creek, a trail switchbacks up to the right to a triple-trunked Douglas-fir and then along the slope above the Linnton Schoolhouse to a neighborhood. The main trail crosses the footbridge under a few mossy yews and western red-cedars. You will make nine switchbacks up the slope from here. Note some larger Douglas-firs and groves of cedar. Traverse up below the ridge crest in an Oregon grape carpet. Switchback up to the ridge crest and the junction with Firelane 10.

Go straight up the Firelane road and pass the ¾ mile marker. After the ½ mile marker, an extension, the Keyser Trail, spins off the main track to the left (the trail is named after one of the prime movers in the formation of Forest Park). Follow this road bed down and then up again to rejoin Firelane 10 at the ¼ mile marker. Pass a salmonberry bog and reach the junction with the Wildwood Trail.

Go left here in mostly deciduous forest and cross two creeks. Drop gently into a gully and pass the junction with Firelane 8. Head up and then into another gully before rising to Germantown Road. There is roadside parking here. Walk up the road about 40 yards and cross it to the Germantown Road Trailhead on its south side. Pick up the Wildwood Trail here at a colorful information board. Hike past the junction with the Cannon Trail, which runs down to Leif Erikson Drive. Keep rising, drop into a gully, and then rise again, heading in and out of more gullies. Reach the junction with Waterline Road, and go left.

This track drops steeply and is very muddy in the wet season. Head more gradually down along the ridge crest and then drop steeply again past a rusting gate to Leif Erikson Drive. Go left here and pass the unmarked junction with the Tolinda Trail at a curve in the road. You will pass ¼ mile markers on the right and more precise mileage markers off the road to your left. Cross a slope of young alders and rise gently past the 10 ½ mile mark. Cross a deep gully under cedars, Douglas-firs, big-leaf maples, and hemlocks. Pass the junction with the Cannon Trail and then the 11-mile marker and a port-a-potty. Soon reach the large Leif Erikson Drive North Trailhead, with its own colorful information board. Head up to Germantown Road and cross it to gated Firelane 9.

The firelane drops down a ridge crest and reaches a green gate. To your right are the ruins of an old reservoir. Reach moss-covered MacKay Avenue and go right. (There is a connector going left here to the Linnton Trail, but the descent to the creek is extremely steep and slick and any use of this trail will cause more erosion.) There are views across the Willamette to huge lots of new cars in the port area north of the St. John’s Bridge. Pass a plaque commemorating Clark & Wilson Park and reach Wilark Avenue. Go left down Wilark to the junction with Hoge Avenue. Keep straight on Wilark down to a dead end and go right down a staircase. This leads to an elevated sidewalk above Highway 30/St. Helens Road. Go left here for about 100 yards and reach the Linnton Trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Share firelanes with mountain bikers


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • One City's Wilderness: Portland's Forest Park by Marcy Cottrell Houle
  • Portland Hill Walks by Laura O. Foster

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.

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