Via Oregon - September/October 2021 - 28

» Regional and Local Parks:
Winding trails and river views
Aptly called a " living museum, " Portland's Hoyt Arboretum
in Washington Park boasts around 2,300 global plant species
along roughly 12 miles of trails. Only two miles west of downtown,
there's a MAX Light Rail stop in the park complex,
so it makes for an easy outing. Check out the helpful video
made by Access Recreation, a Portland advocacy group that
developed detailed trail reviews and videos for metro park
accessibility, to preview the best routes. Executive Director
Anna Goldrich recommends the gentle slopes of the halfmile
paved Overlook Trail (with views of Mts. Rainier and
St. Helens) and Bristlecone Pine Trail. A database of plants
is available on the website for reference. Road-trippers
should look for the lovely Dawn redwoods, an ancient species
previously thought to be extinct, visible at the end of the
Bristlecone Pine Trail near the accessible picnic area.
Considered a model for many old Western rail lines
converted into paved trail systems, the Trail of the Coeur
d'Alenes stretches from Plummer to Mullan, Idaho, for 73
miles along valleys, river banks, and Chatcolet and Coeur
D'Alene lakes. Converted from the Union Pacific rail bed
into an asphalt trail in the wilderness of the Idaho panhandle,
it was named one of the best trails in the United States
by the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Frequent visitors recommend
the Plummer area, where motorized wheelchair and
adaptive e-bike users enjoy picnics at scenic waysides in
rolling farmland; the regulars caution that some areas can
be flooded in the rainy season.
Another great option for a gently graded, paved outing
is the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail near
Hood River, Ore., which passes several waterfalls and offers
lots of access points along the original highway skirting the
rugged banks of the Columbia River. You'll see many people
enjoying the views of the sheer basalt cliffs of the Columbia
Gorge in wheelchairs, power-driven mobility devices, and
e-bikes. Locals recommend the new section from the Wyeth
trailhead as well as the access point at Starvation Creek,
with views of a cascading waterfall in the lovely park there.
With so many cities in Oregon and Idaho developed
along their expansive rivers, it's perhaps unsurprising that
city parks include paved river path systems that are beloved
by visitors. The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System in
Eugene, Ore., for example, passes through a set of popular
wooded parks along the Willamette River that remain
shady on warm days. Wheelchair users might particularly
enjoy the eye-level summer blooms that line the accessible
packed-gravel paths at the Owen Rose Garden. Some
4,500 rose bushes of more than 400 varieties flourish on
the 8.5-acre site.
Similarly, Esther Simplot Park, one of several parks in the
" Ribbon of Jewels " named after notable local women, can
be accessed by the 25-mile Boise Greenbelt path that runs
28 VIA | SEPTEMBER+OCTOBER 2021
top: Hoyt Overlook Trail in Portland's Hoyt Arboretum. bottom: Chatcolet
Bridge along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.
through the heart of the City of Trees. The 55-acre park's
hardened gravel paths and boardwalks allow for birdwatching
and fishing in a remarkable 23 aquatic acres of ponds and
wetlands. Be sure to bring a picnic for a lazy afternoon relaxing
out at boardwalk-accessible Friendship Island. ●
jennifer burns bright writes and teaches about the
special places of the Pacific Northwest.
TOP: ASHLEY ANDERSON; BOTTOM: COURTESY IDAHO
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION

Via Oregon - September/October 2021

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Via Oregon - September/October 2021 - 1
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