Portland is to runners what Sour Patch Kids are to the taste buds of 10-year olds; invigorating, eye-opening, a sensory sensation that begs you to grab more. The cool comfort of Portland‘s climate makes for many sweet running spots. A variety of running surfaces and stunning natural and urban landscapes are nearby and numerous. Add to this the fact that Portland is just hours away from the birthplace and training grounds of legendary Steve Prefontaine and you’ve got ample inspiration to lace up your shoes. The running community is eclectic. You might find yourself being passed by a pack of gazelle-like elites or finding your panting-pace-soulmate along a favorite route.
There’s space for you out there. But where? If you’re new to the running scene or just haven’t checked-out what is near and dear within Portland try these running spots.
Find Your Pace and Favorite Space With 2 of Portland’s Best Running Spots:
4 miles your style? 6? 11? The cool thing about Portland’s waterfront is that it affords a fantastic view of the water and Portland’s skyline. From short-distance speedsters to those in it for the long haul, there is a waterfront loop to suit. Try exploring the 4-mile route first. If you like it and want more, check out the longer loops.
Try This 4 Mile Willamette Waterfront Loop
Start in the 800 block of South Grand Avenue and head south to Madison Street. Turn right. Run over the Hawthorne Bridge down to the waterfront. Turn left at the waterfront, so the river is on your right. Run over the Steel Bridge. You’ll run along the Eastbank Esplanade for a while before turning left to the Hawthorne Bridge ramp. Turn left to return to start. (Check out this video of the run!)
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You can’t beat the trails in Forest Park for accessibility, convenience, and ambiance. The park sits in the Northwest part of Portland and offers 60 miles of trails that are well mapped and marked. If you haven’t gone, go! 5,100 wooded acres await you. You’ll be running in ample shade on soft trails while enjoying the glorious aroma of cedars, hemlocks and fir trees.
Try the Leif Erikson Drive Trail
A great place for an inaugural run in this forest. The 11-mile trail runs from NW Thurman Street to NW Germantown Road. The great thing about trails in this park is that they are marked every ¼ mile. Leif Erikson trail is marked in white bollards. You can easily run a short or long out-and-back course without getting lost. Park, pick your distance and go!
If you feel your inner ultra-runner emerge on the Leif Erikson Drive trail, try the Wildwood Trail next time. It’s marked by blue diamonds on trees and offers 30 miles of pathways from Washington Park to Newberry Road.
Explore More! One of the best parts about running is that it is simultaneously solitary, yet can be social. Check out the many running clubs in Portland to find running buddies, routes and events.