While hosting my friend Ryan in town, I wanted to give him a classic Portland hiking experience culminating in lovely views. I’ve done this 5 mile, 900 ft. elevation gain hike only once before, just weeks after moving to Oregon. But that was summer. It was now winter and the mansion was decked out for Christmas. I’ve never been inside Pittock Mansion before, so hiking up to it and going inside was to be a treat for the both of us.
First of all, hiking Forest Park in winter versus summer are completely different experiences in terms of feel. It was drizzly and gray during our trek, giving off a very ‘legend of sleepy hollow’ aura:
The gremlins are waiting to attack…
It was actually really neat and other-worldly. We started at the Lower Macleay Park trailhead, taking us through Balch Creek Canyon, past the ‘witch’s house’, then switchbacking up, up, and up to the mansion.
During summer you can soak in some pretty phenomenal views of downtown stretching out to Mt. Hood, but due to the gray cloudiness of the weather, all mountain views were obscured. However, the view from the mansion wasn’t too shabby:
We proceeded to tour around the Christmas-y mansion (which was built for and belonged to Oregonian newspaper tycoon Henry Pittock 100 years ago and lived there with his family until his death). Afterwards we made our way down, down, and down back to the trailhead. Ryan was very happy with the experience, and I’m glad I got to treat a New Yorker to the wilds of Portland’s most majestic park.
Treks Down: 40, Treks to Go: 12