I visited the Hoyt Arboretum the other day with my wife. We decided we deserved a nice, long walk on such a gorgeous day and that this special Portland attraction was just the ticket.
The Hoyt Arboretum is located around the Washington Park area where you'll also find the Oregon Zoo, Portland Japanese Garden and other fun things to do in Portland. It's like a huge museum of over 1,000 species of trees and plants from around the world, covering over 187 acres of wide-open space . If you're looking for a great place to take a jog or just a stroll with your honey around their 12 miles worth of trails, this is it. There are no bikes allowed on the trails (both paved and unpaved), so no worries of getting run down by a speeding cyclist.
The Arboretum is completely free and open from 6am to 10pm, every day of the week. I would recommend getting there early, as we did. There is ample parking as your drive up the toward the entrances, but being a popular place to go, the spaces fill up quickly as the afternoon comes around. Plus, it's a earlier is a better way to beat the heat.
When you're taking your walk, don't worry if you don't know your Pine tree from your Spruce. Everything is labeled, telling the name of the tree or plant and where it comes from. As I walked and looked, I personally found that I gravitated to most toward trees from China, Japan, and around Asia. Those particular barks tended to be very unique in texture and look. Many were very smooth as if they had shed their bark entirely.
It's a very quiet place with only the birds singing to you. It's really nice to go on a warm day, but there is enough cover to keep you in the shade, if you burn easily. If you get tired and need a rest, there's park benches along the trails to sit for a spell.
At one point, we walked into an opening and found ourselves at the Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial. We took some extra time there, reading all about what happened around the state during that period of time and enjoying the pristine landscaping around us. We even had the opportunity to see a bride's photo shoot.
If you want to bring a blanket and lunch, there are some nice wide-open areas to spread yourself out and take a nap or enjoy the view. After all, you are a good ways above the city of Portland.
They have a the Hoyt Arboretum Visitors Center where you can stop in to ask some questions, pick up some materials, and take that all-important bathroom break. ;) They have different maps for taking 1, 2, and 4 mile self-guided tours, information on children's activities and all sorts of documentation and books on conservation and being green. As with many attractions around here, you are given the option of becoming a member and relishing the many benefits that come with it.
We were at the Hoyt Arboretum for about 2 hours or so and we were really glad we went. It made for a very relaxing Saturday.
For a lot more information, visit the Hoyt Arboretum's web site.