The Forest Park Tour is an intermediate level ride. The gravel and dirt trail can be quite muddy within two weeks of heavy rain. The terrain is bumpy and rocky. The tour is recommended for riders with at least some off-road experience.
This exhilarating tour is the ultimate combination of primeval forest and vibrant city. We drive you the short distance up into the largest wilderness city park in the country- Forest Park, a 5000 acre jungle paradise minutes from downtown. You ride the gentle downhill 11 mile Leif Erikson gravel road through green tunnels of towering trees and verdant glades, alongside moss and fern covered cliffs and lush ravines. The ride takes 1 to 2 hours. Emerging from the forest and onto pavement you'll glide through the mansions of the west hills and into the shopping districts of Nw 23rd and the pearl before ending up back at Pedal headquarters.
From the earliest times of European and American settlement along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, the vision of a great natural park along the eastern slope of Portland's northwest hills, which Native Americans called the Tualatin Mountains, was pursued over the years by various civic leaders. In 1899, the Municipal Park Commission of Portland brought in the famous landscape architecture firm, Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, to prepare a park planning study for the City in 1903. Their recommendations included the acquisition of the wooded hills west of the Willamette River for a park with a wild, woodland character. In their report, they maintained that "...a visit to the woods would afford more pleasure and satisfaction than a visit to any other sort of park..." and "...no use to which this tract of land could be put would begin to be as sensible or as profitable to the city as that of making it a public park."
Various setbacks delayed the formation of the forested park, including rumors of oil existing in the hillside, until the City Club of Portland undertook a feasibility study which it published in 1945. From there the 'Committee of Fifty' civic leaders persevered until 4,200 acres were formally dedicated as Forest Park on September 23, 1948. Additional acres have been added over the years; Forest Park now includes over 5,100 wooded acres making it the largest, forested natural area within city limits in the United States.