Being from the greater Pacific Northwest area, I’ve visited the Pittock Mansion before. Whether to get away by myself to enjoy the great views from the courtyard, or to show my out-of-towner friends something in Portland that’s not a bar. What I didn’t know until recently is that my favorite way to get up to the mansion would actually be by trail.
I recently went to lunch with a buddy of mine with whom I run pretty frequently. He’s nuts – sprints up any elevation like he’s taking a walk in the park. I’m an avid runner, but more in the street sense. I’ve been wary of trails since I regularly end up sounding like I’m on the giving end of an obscene phone call if I try to take on large hills. Anyway, he told me about the short (five miles, roundtrip) trail that runs from Macleay Park up to the mansion. A couple days later, I had some time to kill early in the day, so I decided to give it a try.
The trail is really clean and well marked. The scenery is awesome too. The first portion showcases tons of mossy trees, little footbridges, and mini waterfalls. After that, the trail intersects with Wildwood Trail, which, with the exception of crossing NW Cornell Road, is a straight shot to the mansion. Once across the road, I felt the trail steepen, and the dread set in. It was tough, but doable. I was able to slow my pace enough to complete the whole thing without walking. It didn’t help that we’d seen some rain, so the trail was a bit muddy. I reached the top, feeling very accomplished with my first trail run, and hung out to stretch for a bit before heading back down.