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PDX Runs: Fernhill Park

Cross Country Race in Fernhill Park northeast Portland Oregon

Don’t know what you’re in the mood for? Head to Fernhill Park in Northeast Portland. A mile-plus perimeter dirt loop encircles an all-weather 400-meter track, playground, ball fields, tennis courts, and plenty of trees…not to mention, restrooms!

This is an ideal spot to head for a workout, whether you’re doing intervals on the track, mile repeats on the trail, fartleks throughout the park, or some combination of these. A hard-packed dirt trail is about 200 meters longer than a mile and includes a couple of short inclines to get your blood pumping a little harder.

If you’re looking to do mile repeats off the track, start on the NW corner of the track, doing a counter-clockwise loop, and finish on the east side of the track. (See this map.)

To mix up your run, head down Ainsworth Street for just under a mile and add some loops around Alberta Park.

According to rumor, 26 acres of land was transformed into Fernhill Park in the 1940s to stop vandals from dumping stolen cars there. It has now become a popular park among residents in the surrounding Cully, Concordia, Alameda, and Beaumont neighborhoods. That’s not to say you can’t drive there! There is plenty of street parking in the area.

Conveniently located off NE 42nd Avenue close to the Hwy 30 Bypass (NE Lombard Street), Fernhill Park hosts numerous cross-country meets in the fall. It’s also a favorite training spot for some of our local college and high school track and cross-country teams. Don’t be alarmed if you see a stampede of skinny, scantily-clad athletes heading towards you!

Note: There is a large off-leash dog park in the northeast corner of the park. It’s not unusual for a pup to trot up to say “Hi.”

-Ryan Heal