Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
Time To Complete
This 40-acre park is one of the gems of Portland, and it's hard to believe it was once the site of a freeway! It's located on the west side of the Willamette River in downtown Portland and it's easily accessible from several points in town, making it an extremely popular option for runners, walkers, and bicycle commuters. It's a great place to run a variety of distances, from a short jog down the west side of the river (a beautiful park filled with cherry trees), to a 2.5 mile loop around the river, crossing a few of Portland's many bridges in the process. On the east side of the river, you'll find the Eastbank Esplanade, which was recently featured as a Rave Run in Runner's World.
What Makes It Great
Tom McCall Riverfront Park is a beautiful green space right next to the Willamette River. On the other side of the river, The Eastbank Esplanade is a project for habitat improvement for fish and wildlife as well as riverbank restoration. Along the Eastbank Esplanade, there are 22 interpretive panels that are attached to markers and provide information about the river and the area in general. The plantings in this area include 280 trees and 43,695 shrubs, which are mostly native to Oregon. There are also four pieces of public art created by a group of local artists can be observed between the Morrison Bridge and the floating walkway.
There is a wonderful loop that starts at the intersection of NW Everett Street and NW Naito Parkway. You can pick up the Waterfront Park Trail from here and run along the Willamette River past the Burnside Bridge to Mill Ends Park. Run over the Hawthorne Bridge and catch the Eastbank Esplanade on the other side of the river and take that all the way up to Steel Bridge. Cross Steel Bridge Riverwalk and go left and you will end up back where you started. The loop is about 2.5 miles long, which makes for a quick run after work or you could do several laps to add some mileage.
If you need to stop and catch your breath after an exhausting run or ride, you can take in some amazing views or just do some people watching. And there's no need to bring your water, since there are a few Benson Bubblers (Portland's iconic bronze drinking fountains) on the route. The park also connects to the Springwater Corridor and the 40 Mile Loop, so it's a great place to go if you're training for a marathon or a century ride.
Who is Going to Love It
Because of the low grade of this path, it is accessible for runners of all experience levels. For trail runners who cannot make it to the trails on the weekdays, this can be a good paved option because you are surrounded be green space for more than half of it.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Tom McCall Riverfront Park is less than a mile from downtown. To get to the intersection described above, take NW Broadway to a right on NW Everett Street. Everett practically runs into the park.
Written by Abby Joffe // Posted by Rick Gilbert // Grafletics.com