Willamette Boulevard - Road Running
Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
Time To Complete
Willamette Boulevard is the wide, bike and pedestrian-friendly road that winds along the bluffs over its namesake river in North Portland. A mostly flat stretch of this road runs from Arbor Lodge Park to Cathedral Park in St Johns. Along the way you’ll pass the University of Portland and a number of stately homes before arriving at Portland’s best bridge in St Johns. (That best bridge part is not up for debate, by the way).
What Makes It Great
The out and back nature of the run makes it particularly easy to pull the chute and turnaround at any point along the way. If you make it all the way to Cathedral Park you can inspect the St Johns Bridge up close in the very scenic park that occupies the land directly beneath it on the east bank of the Willamette River. You also have the option of grabbing lunch or a cup of coffee in the charming neighborhood of St Johns.
It’s the scenery along this route that is the primary draw. On clear days Mt Hood looms large and Forest Park looks almost touchable as Willamette makes a bend towards the University of Portland. The grounds of the University are well manicured and feature some massive western red cedars as well as some deciduous trees that add a burst of color in fall. Continuing on past the University, the run makes several sweeping bends through pleasant neighborhoods before descending down to Cathedral Park, the official turnaround point for this run.
Unless you head out on this run on a rainy evening after midnight, odds are you will have some running company along the way. This is a pretty popular route among runners and bicyclists. And the scenery starts out good and stays that way for the course of the entire run.
The four-mile stretch of road that connects Arbor Lodge Park to Cathedral Park in North Portland is as flat and scenic as any in Portland. Views of Mt Hood, Forest Park, and the Willamette River are just some of the highlights of this customizable, tree-lined run.
Who is Going to Love It
This is a great run for anyone looking for some miles without having to torture themselves on some of Portland’s notorious hills. This run is almost completely flat, save for the descent down to Cathedral Park and the inevitable climb back up.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get there from downtown Portland, take I-5 N to exit 304 for Rosa Parks Way. Turn left on Rosa Parks Way and right on N Delaware Avenue. The park will be on the left. There’s plenty of parking at Arbor Lodge Park. Head west down Bryant to Willamette and keep running.
Written by Abby Joffe // posted by Noah Barth.