Surface: Paved Asphalt
Grade: Under 5%
Length: ½ mile
Number of Benches: 4 (including low walls)
HOW CAN I GET THERE?
To get to the paved Overlook Trail, you can start at the Visitor Center or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Should you start at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, there are some bathrooms at the TriMet Max station, a few hundred feet from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Parking Lot.
If arriving by light rail, exit the TriMet Max station by following signs toward the World Forestry Center and taking the elevator. From there, follow the sidewalk uphill along Knights Blvd, and into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial parking lot, to the right. The sidewalk will then open into a crosswalk at Kingston Blvd; cross here to continue along the Overlook Trail into Hoyt Arboretum.
The Visitor Center trailhead has the most accessible bathrooms and water fountains at Hoyt Arboretum. It is also a great place to grab a map and get some trail advice. From here, head uphill toward the parking lot – either via stairs or ramp – before taking the sidewalk around the parking lot to get to the trailhead.
At the top of the parking lot, you will find a parking meter, a low wall you can sit on, and the start of the Overlook Trail. There is a map at the trailhead that outlines the Overlook Trail in green, along with the other 12 miles of trails at the Arboretum.
HOW USABLE IS IT?
The Overlook Trail is entirely paved. You’ll experience sweeping views of the surrounding hills as you move along this switchback trail that is roughly ½ a mile in length (one way). While you travel first up and then down a low hill, the slopes are generally shallow throughout the trail. The trail features both conifers and deciduous trees; as a result, you may encounter pinecones or fallen leaves in late summer and through fall. There are two benches and two low, long walls that can be used for resting along the trail. There are a few optional trail shortcuts that involve shallow, wide stairs. Some of the grassy areas along the trail are on a steeper slope than the trail itself; be mindful if you go off-trail.
WHAT CAN I SEE, DO, AND HEAR?
At the top of the hill, you can choose to travel for 100 ft. along the flat, gravel Wildwood Trail to access a viewpoint. At the viewpoint, there are interpretive signs and, on a clear day, views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier along with the hills around Portland.
From the viewpoint, you will travel down the hill back on the Overlook Trail. You’ll pass larch, pine, fir, oak, and elm trees, providing some shade along the pathway. Wayfinding signs are posted at trail intersections to help you navigate. Two low rock walls and two benches make great places to stop, relax, and take in the scenery. Sitting in the grass or against certain trees are also popular choices, and more than welcome!
At the bottom of the trail, there is another parking lot with six wheelchair accessible parking spaces. This is the end of the trail, and you can turn around and go back uphill to complete one mile round trip, or you can continue past the parking lot and follow the sidewalk downhill 50 ft. to a shuttle stop.
The free, wheelchair-accessible Washington Park Shuttle stops every 15-30 minutes and runs daily March-September from 9:30am-7:00pm, daily in October from 10:00am-4:00pm, and weekends November-February from 10:00am-4:00pm. It stops across the street from the Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial (at the end of the Overlook Trail) and in front of the Visitor Center at Hoyt Arboretum.
Want even more info? Check out Access Recreation’s dedicated Overlook Trail page for more detail.