Finding Adventure in Urban Exploration

West Portland ParkLiving in a large metro area can often times make it difficult to get out and find nearby adventures without having to drive long distances.  Often times I find myself wanting to make a long trek to a trail head with the promise of a waterfall, vista point or some other attraction.  The problem is that I cannot always find time to fit both a long drive and a hike into my schedule so I end up scratching the whole thing.  That doesn’t have to be the case, though, and often times you can find a little adventure much closer to home than you think.

I never really gave much credit to the area of Portland we live in when it comes to urban hikes. Sure, there are a few known parks nearby but the trails are short and after hiking them a few times they get pretty boring.  This limited access forced me to think outside the box and try and find my own little hiking area without driving anywhere.

How I found it

I am pretty sure anyone can find hiking areas near them and just set out with an explorer’s mindset.  Before heading out I jumped on Google maps and looked for park areas nearby that I had never actually been to.  I found one called the “West Portland Park Natural Area” and noticed that there were no trail labels on the map unlike so many other urban parks.

Figuring it all out

I headed out towards the park, which was completely surrounded by homes, and actually struggled to find a way to enter the park without crossing private property.  I finally found an area of the park that did not have homes in between myself and it and tried to find a trail leading into it.  There was no actual “entrance” to the park so I looked for signs of human activity and found an old trail that had minimal signs of wear and tear.  I followed it down into the park which lead to another network of unofficial, slightly used trails.  I ended up exploring the park with no real destination in mind and had a pretty good time doing so.

What an Urban Exploration looks like

Here is the overlay of my path through the park.  As you can see there was alot of back tracking as I figured things out.

[map style=”width: auto; height:400px; margin:20px 0px 20px 0px; border: 1px solid black;” maptype=”ROADMAP” z=”14″ gpx=””]






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