Lower Macleay Trail In Oregon

Here is everything you need to know about the Lower Macleay Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Oregon
  • Length: 0.86 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Portland Parks & Recreation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Info not available.

The Lower Macleay Trail, located in Portland, Oregon, holds a significant historical background that dates back to the early 1900s. Originally known as the Macleay Road, this trail was constructed in 1894 as a wagon road to provide access to the newly established Macleay Park. The park was named after Donald Macleay, a prominent Scottish businessman who donated the land to the city.

During the early years, the Lower Macleay Trail served as a vital transportation route for the surrounding communities. It connected the Northwest District of Portland to the rural areas of the West Hills, allowing residents to travel between the city and their homes in the countryside. The trail was primarily used by horse-drawn carriages and later by automobiles as transportation methods evolved.

In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) made significant improvements to the Lower Macleay Trail. They widened the road, added drainage systems, and constructed stone retaining walls to enhance its functionality and durability. These improvements not only benefited the local residents but also facilitated the transportation of goods and services to the growing city of Portland.

Over time, as the city expanded and transportation needs changed, the Lower Macleay Trail gradually transformed into a recreational trail. Today, it is a popular hiking and walking destination, attracting locals and tourists alike. The trail’s rich history, combined with its lush surroundings and scenic beauty, make it a cherished part of Portland’s heritage and a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving its historical landmarks.

While On The Trail

Access Points

The major access points or trailheads along the Lower Macleay Trail are:

1. Lower Macleay Park: This is the main trailhead for the Lower Macleay Trail. It is located at the end of NW Upshur Street in Portland, Oregon.

2. Stone House: About 0.5 miles into the trail, you will come across the Stone House, which is a historic landmark and a popular spot for hikers to take a break.

3. Pittock Mansion: The Lower Macleay Trail connects with the Wildwood Trail near the Pittock Mansion. This is a great spot to visit and enjoy panoramic views of Portland.

4. Upper Macleay Park: At the end of the Lower Macleay Trail, you will reach Upper Macleay Park. This is another access point and trailhead for various trails in Forest Park.

These are the major access points along the Lower Macleay Trail, but there are also several smaller access points and trailheads along the way.

Transportation Available

1. TriMet Bus Line 15: Provides public bus service connecting Lower Macleay Trail to downtown Portland.
2. Lyft: Ride-hailing service offering convenient transportation options in the area.
3. Uber: Another ride-hailing service providing on-demand transportation solutions.
4. Yellow Cab: Traditional taxi service available for quick and reliable transportation needs.
5. Portland Streetcar: Light rail system connecting various neighborhoods, including downtown Portland.
6. Car2Go: Car-sharing service allowing users to rent vehicles for short periods.
7. Lime: Electric scooter and bike-sharing service for quick and eco-friendly transportation.
8. Spin: Another electric scooter-sharing service offering convenient mobility options.
9. ReachNow: Car-sharing service providing access to BMW and MINI vehicles.
10. Zipcar: Car-sharing service with a variety of vehicles available for rent by the hour or day.


The Lower Macleay Trail in Portland, Oregon offers several amenities for visitors. Some of the amenities available at the Lower Macleay Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are public restrooms available at the Lower Macleay Park, which is the starting point of the trail.

2. Parking: There is limited parking available near the Lower Macleay Park. Visitors can park their vehicles along NW Upshur Street or NW 30th Avenue.

3. Picnic Areas: Lower Macleay Park has picnic tables and benches where visitors can enjoy a picnic before or after their hike.

4. Drinking Water: There are drinking fountains available at the Lower Macleay Park for visitors to refill their water bottles.

5. Dog-Friendly: The Lower Macleay Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry friends along for a hike. However, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

6. Trailhead Information: At the trailhead, there are information boards providing details about the trail, its history, and points of interest along the way.

7. Benches: There are several benches along the trail where visitors can take a break and enjoy the surroundings.

8. Scenic Views: The Lower Macleay Trail offers beautiful views of the forested surroundings, including the iconic Stone House and the picturesque Balch Creek.

Please note that camping is not allowed on the Lower Macleay Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Inn at Northrup Station – Boutique hotel offering modern rooms with kitchenettes and complimentary breakfast.
– McMenamins Crystal Hotel – Historic hotel featuring unique rooms, a rooftop bar, and live music venue.
– The Society Hotel – Chic hostel and hotel with a rooftop deck, communal spaces, and a cafe.

2. Food Services:
– Fireside – Cozy restaurant serving American comfort food with a Pacific Northwest twist.
– Bamboo Sushi – Sustainable sushi spot offering a variety of rolls and Japanese dishes.
– Salt & Straw – Popular ice cream shop known for its unique and delicious flavors.

3. Emergency Services:
– Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center – Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care.
– Portland Police Bureau – Local police department serving the area.
– Portland Fire & Rescue – Fire department offering emergency response and assistance.

Lower Macleay Trail Difficulty Notes

The Lower Macleay Trail, located in Portland, Oregon, offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers. The trail begins at the Lower Macleay Park and winds through lush forests, following the path of Balch Creek. While the trail is relatively short, spanning around 3.8 miles round trip, it presents some challenges with its steep inclines and uneven terrain. Hikers will encounter sections with roots and rocks, requiring careful footing and balance. However, the trail is well-maintained and offers beautiful scenery, including a picturesque stone bridge and towering trees, making it a rewarding and enjoyable hike for those seeking a moderate level of difficulty.

Features And Attractions

The Lower Macleay Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Forest Park, Portland, Oregon. Along the trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Lower Macleay Trail:

1. Lower Macleay Park: The trailhead for the Lower Macleay Trail starts at Lower Macleay Park, a beautiful park with picnic areas and a small creek.

2. Stone House: About 0.5 miles into the trail, you’ll come across the Stone House, a historic structure built in 1936. It’s a great spot to take a break and admire the architecture.

3. Balch Creek: As you continue along the trail, you’ll follow Balch Creek, a picturesque waterway that adds to the natural beauty of the area.

4. Witch’s Castle: Approximately 1.5 miles into the trail, you’ll find the Witch’s Castle, officially known as the Balch Creek Stone House. This moss-covered stone structure has a fascinating history and offers a unique photo opportunity.

5. Pittock Mansion: Although not directly on the Lower Macleay Trail, it’s worth mentioning that the trail intersects with the Wildwood Trail, which leads to the Pittock Mansion. This historic mansion offers stunning views of Portland and the surrounding area.

6. Forest Park: The Lower Macleay Trail is part of the larger Forest Park, which covers over 5,000 acres of forested land. The park is home to numerous hiking trails, wildlife, and beautiful natural landscapes.

7. Lush Greenery: Throughout the Lower Macleay Trail, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, towering trees, and fern-covered forest floors. The trail provides a peaceful and serene escape from the city.

8. Wildwood Trail: Towards the end of the Lower Macleay Trail, it intersects with the Wildwood Trail, a 30-mile long trail that traverses Forest Park. This offers the opportunity to extend your hike and explore more of the park.

These are just a few of the highlights along the Lower Macleay Trail. As you hike, you’ll likely discover many more scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that make this trail a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles are not allowed on the Lower Macleay Trail.
– No motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail.
– Camping or overnight stays are not allowed.
– Fires and smoking are prohibited.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Respect seasonal closures or restrictions that may be in place.
– Do not litter and carry out any trash or waste.
– Be mindful of other trail users and yield to hikers going uphill.
– Do not disturb or harm wildlife or vegetation.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Lower Macleay Trail, located in Portland, Oregon, offers a beautiful and serene hiking experience throughout the year. However, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting this trail. Spring and fall are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and the stunning display of colorful foliage. During these seasons, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers and the surrounding trees create a picturesque backdrop. The weather is generally pleasant, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking, jogging, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the trail.

Summer is another great time to visit the Lower Macleay Trail, especially for those who enjoy warmer weather. The trail is shaded by a dense canopy of trees, providing relief from the sun’s rays. The lush greenery and the soothing sound of the nearby creek make for a refreshing and rejuvenating experience. However, it is worth noting that summer can be a busier time on the trail, so it is advisable to arrive early in the day to secure parking and avoid crowds.

As for seasonal closures, it is important to be aware of the occasional closures during the winter months. Heavy rainfall can cause the creek to overflow, leading to temporary closures for safety reasons. Additionally, snowfall or icy conditions may also result in closures or limited access to certain sections of the trail. It is recommended to check the local weather conditions and trail updates before planning a visit during the winter season.

Overall, the Lower Macleay Trail offers a delightful experience throughout the year, with each season showcasing its unique charm. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring and fall, the warmth of summer, or the tranquility of a winter hike, this trail is sure to provide a memorable outdoor adventure.


1. Lower Macleay Trail: A popular hiking trail located in Forest Park, Portland, known for its lush greenery and scenic beauty.
2. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Lower Macleay Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its steep terrain and uneven surfaces.
3. ADA Accommodations: While the trail itself may not be accessible, nearby parking areas and restrooms are equipped with ADA accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
4. Parking: ADA accessible parking spaces are available at the Lower Macleay Park parking lot, providing convenient access to the trailhead.
5. Restrooms: ADA accessible restrooms are located at the Lower Macleay Park, ensuring that individuals with disabilities have suitable facilities nearby.
6. Alternative Accessible Trails: For wheelchair users or those seeking accessible trails, nearby options such as the Wildwood Trail or Hoyt Arboretum offer more accessible routes within Forest Park.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Lower Macleay Trail is a moderately easy trail suitable for all skill levels, but caution is advised due to some steep sections and uneven terrain.
2. Weather Awareness: Be aware of changing weather conditions and dress accordingly, as the trail can become muddy and slippery during rainy periods.
3. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 3.8 miles long, so plan your time and energy accordingly.
4. Trail Markings: The trail is well-marked with signs and trail markers, but it’s always a good idea to carry a map or use a GPS device to avoid getting lost.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, squirrels, and birds, and maintain a safe distance if you encounter any.
6. Poisonous Plants: Be cautious of poison oak and other potentially harmful plants along the trail, and avoid touching them.
7. Trail Etiquette: Practice proper trail etiquette by yielding to uphill hikers, staying on designated paths, and keeping noise levels to a minimum.
8. Hydration and Snacks: Carry enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the hike, especially during warmer months.
9. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, as parts of the trail may be exposed.
10. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone, a basic first aid kit, and inform someone about your hiking plans in case of emergencies.
11. Hiking in Groups: It’s recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for added safety and enjoyment.
12. Trail Closure: Check for any trail closures or restrictions before heading out, as maintenance or adverse conditions may temporarily close the Lower Macleay Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Lower Macleay Trail, located in Portland, Oregon, holds a conservation status that is of significant importance. The trail is situated within Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States, covering over 5,100 acres. As a result, the conservation status of the Lower Macleay Trail is closely tied to the overall preservation efforts of this vast natural area.

Forest Park is recognized as a critical habitat for numerous plant and animal species, some of which are considered rare or endangered. The conservation status of the Lower Macleay Trail is therefore crucial in maintaining the ecological balance and protecting the biodiversity within the park. Preservation efforts focus on minimizing human impact, preventing habitat destruction, and ensuring the survival of vulnerable species.

To safeguard the conservation status of the Lower Macleay Trail, various measures have been implemented. These include strict regulations on trail usage, such as prohibiting off-trail hiking and mountain biking, to prevent disturbance to sensitive habitats. Additionally, ongoing monitoring and research initiatives are conducted to assess the health of the ecosystem and identify potential threats. These efforts aim to maintain the trail’s conservation status as a pristine natural area, allowing visitors to enjoy its beauty while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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