Portland is often lauded as one of the best cities in America for green spaces, due in no small part to 5,100-acre Forest Park, the largest urban forested area in America. Based on the landscaping advice of the legendary Olmstead Brothers (the design firm behind New York's Central Park), Forest Park was originally proposed as an expansive city park in the late 1800s; however, potential preservation costs and oil speculation kept it from becoming public land until the late 1940s.
Situated in Northwest Portland on the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains, the park's towering conifer canopy, basalt rock formations, rushing streams and plentiful wildlife make it a magnet for birdwatchers and nature photographers. 62 species of Coast Range-native mammals can be found here, as well as over 100 different species of birds, including the rare pygmy owl.
With 80 miles of fire roads, trails and paths, Forest Park is also enormously popular with hikers, runners, bikers and equestrians. The longest loop in the park, the 30-mile Wildwood Trail, is linked to various routes along the Columbia River, the Willamette Greenway and both Southeast and Southwest Portland.