Top 12 Best Boardwalks in Portland, Oregon

A perfect outdoor activity in all seasons, boardwalks serve as both a comfort for walkers and also protects the surrounding natural environment.

From elevated strolls through beautiful forests or gentle walks in river parks, here are the best boardwalks in Portland, Oregon…

1. Noble Woods Park – one of the best elevated boardwalks in Portland

Noble Woods Park - Oregon

The Nobles Woods Park is a 40 acres wide pocket park along the Rock Creek. The park offers a trail through nature’s den with both gravel and paved paths through forests.

The park is a popular spot for families wanting to explore the variety of vegetation nature has to offer. Some of the trees found in the park include big-leaf maple, douglas-fir, hazel, oregon grape and ocean spray.

  • Address: 475 SE Century Blvd, Hillsboro, OR 97123, United States
  • Phone: +1 503-681-6120

2. Eastbank Esplanade – a beautiful pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk along the east shore of the Willamette River 

Eastbank Esplanade - Portland

The Eastbank Esplanade boardwalk offers a 1.5-mile long walk stretching from the Hawthrone bridge all the way to the Steel Bridge, providing some of the best views of the Willamette River shore.

The broadway has a unique way of closing off to the Steel Bridge using pilings and a concrete base. An estimated 10 million out of the 30 million USD spent on the boardwalk was allotted to this uniquely designed bridge connector.

Famously known for its bronze Vera Katz statue, the Eastbank Esplanade was constructed to relieve pressure from the crowded area and rehabilitate the fishlife which was in danger. Today the Eastbank Esplanade is one of the best boardwalks in Portland. 

Keep an eye out for some of the famous artwork placed on the boardwalk including the Alluvial Wall and Echo Gate. 

  • Address: SE Water Avenue and Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
  • Phone Number: +1 503-823-4000

3. Riverplace Marina – the perfect location to explore a boardwalk and to admire the view

Riverplace Marina - Portland

The Riverplace Marina is the ultimate docking station if you want to explore the Willamette River and stay in touch with the greatest water festivals and sports. 

The Marina offers a well-needed opening into the Willamette River and allows for amazing festivals like the Blues Festival, Rose Festival, and the Fourth of July fireworks. 

The marina is situated at the edge of the downtown and provides excellent kayaking and yachting services.

With the Tom McCall Waterfront Park at walking distance and numerous waterfront restaurants, the Riverplace Marina is the desired choice for the perfect boating experience.

  • Address: 0315 SW Montgomery St, Portland, OR 97201
  • Phone Number: +1 503-241-8283

4. Tom McCall Waterfront Park – a bustling esplanade located right in the heart of Portland’s downtown

Tom McCall Waterfront Park - Portland

Named after Governor Tom McCall, the Tom McCall Water Park was constructed as a pledge to beautify the coast of the Willamette River and introduce more greenery to the area.

After its construction in 1974, the Tom McCall Waterfront Park served as the foundation for the new Portland with a higher quality of life for the residents.

The park enjoys a central position in Portland bordering popular areas like RiverPlace, Naito Park, and Steel Bridge.

The park is popular among the locals who enjoy various activities like jogging, biking, and basketball. Being adjacent to the Willamette River also means that the public can enjoy picturesque views and boat watching while relaxing in the beautiful park. 

  • Address: 98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204, United States
  • Phone: +1 503-823-7529

5. Jamison Square – a great place to go for a stroll with beautiful surroundings

Jamison Square - Portland

Jamison Square was the first park ever constructed in the Pearl District and a much-needed one. Upon its launch, it was an immediate success.

The initial structure of the park included just an art gallery, however, due to its popularity, the project was expanded.

The project was assigned to the PWP Landscape Architecture during the tenure of Mayor Vera Katz. As of now, the park features a beautiful fountain, an art gallery, the Contact II sculpture, and plenty of space for outdoor activities.

The park has had several appraisals and is dubbed “Portland’s biggest kid magnet” indicating its popularity among the children.

The park hosts numerous festivals throughout the year including the Movies in the Pearl, Kids Marching Band, and Kids in the Pearl Block Party.

  • Address: 810 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States
  • Phone: +1 503-823-7529

6. Portland Japanese Garden – an exotic garden that offers authenticity and tradition, great to explore via walkways

Portland Japanese Garden - Portland

Designed by Professor Takuma Tono in 1961, The Portland Japanese Garden is nothing short of fantasy land and features 8 separate garden styles and a Japanese Tea House.

The most difficult task when designing the Garden was to preserve the authenticity of a Japanese garden and the designers successfully achieved that feat. Nobuo Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan, dubbed it “the most beautiful Japanese Garden outside Japan”.

It takes about 2 hours to fully tour the Garden and it is advised to not rush through when visiting. The visitors typically take their time to reflect and meditate, soaking in the beauty of the Garden and energizing their bodies.

  • Address: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
  • Phone: +1 503-223-1321

7. Elizabeth Caruthers Park – a modern park located in an urban environment with unpaved paths

Elizabeth Caruthers Park - Portland

Elizabeth Caruthers Park is named after one of the first settlers in the city of portland. Elizabeth claimed the 640-acre under the Donation Land Claim, in the early days of Portland. 

After her death, the park was subject to fraudulent heirs and eventually the court decided to build a park in the memory of the deceased woman.

Designed by the Hargreaves Associates, the park serves as a foundation bringing the residents of the area together. 

The area surrounding is constantly evolving with new construction projects and businesses. 

  • Address: 3508 S Moody Ave, Portland, OR 97239, United States
  • Phone: +1 503-823-7529

8. Springwater Corridor Trail – a panoramic bicycle and pedestrian rail trail popular with walkers

Springwater Corridor Trail - Portland

The 34 km long former railway track now serves as a pedestrian and cycling bridge for the public. Following the course from Boring in Clackamas County, the Springwater Corridor Trail leads a passage into the city of Portland.

The paved track is connected to nearby parks in the area including Tideman Johnson City Park and Natural Area.

The public especially enjoys the wide variety of habitat offered and the natural beauty offered by the journey.

The track is built as a part of the 40-Mile Loop trail system which is designed to provide easy passageway into and around Portland. 

  • Address: SE Ivon Street to Boring, Portland, United States
  • Phone: +1 503-823-4000

9. Cedar Mills Falls – a historic boardwalk spot where you can appreciate the nature 

Cedar Mills Falls - Portland

Cedar Mills Falls is a natural, urban waterfall in Beaverton town. The area offers a neat waterfall view with some benches. 

The waterfall is next to a busy road which is a deal-breaker for many. However, many people on their journey through the Cedar Mill-Johnson Creek Loop Hike discover the waterfall and find it a relaxing spot.

Address: Portland, OR 97229, United States

Phone: +1 503-823-4000

10. South Waterfront – a recently developed community waterfront where you can go for a peaceful walk

South Waterfront - Portland

The highlights of the South Waterfront district include high-rise buildings, the 16-story OHSU healthcare campus, the Meriwether condominium towers, and Tilikum Crossing. 

The district was previously an industrial area and it was decided to redevelop the area in 2004. The district is still under construction with plans to add more towers and facilities. 

The fast-paced development has attracted many businesses to the district including local restaurants, grocery stores and more. 

  • Address: Portland, Oregon OR 97239, United States
  • Phone: +1 503-823-4000

11. Vancouver Waterfront – a gorgeous location that has an elevated footpath with a lot to offer

Vancouver Waterfront - WA

The Vancouver Waterfront is a $1.5 billion project by Gramor Development which is currently underway. The operation to set up the neighborhood commenced in 2015, with its first phase coming to fruition in Summer 2018.

The neighborhood features a grand transformation of the area, with a new Waterfront park, local restaurants, and the 90-foot Grant Street Pier. 

Designed by the popular artist Larry Kirkland in collaboration with Fisher Marantz Stone, the Grand Street Pier was erected to form the center point of the Waterfront. The pier lights up the entire district and offers picturesque views with boats sailing by.

  • Address: 695 Waterfront Wy, Vancouver, WA 98660, United States
  • Phone: +1 360-750-1553

12. Eastern Promenade Trail – a paved waterfront rail with a stunning ocean view, suitable for all 

Eastern Promenade Trail - WA

The Eastern Promenade Trail is a popular setting among the residents who travel through the 68-acre historic trail to soak up the heavenly views and freshen their bodies in the natural setting.

The designers hired to work on the Eastern Promenade Trail are well-known for designing New York’s Central Park and the Boston Commons.

The trail is open throughout the year and well-maintained by the management. 

  • Address: 695 Waterfront Wy, Vancouver, WA 98660, United States
  • Phone: +1 360-750-1553

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