Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a 9.5-acre garden set in urban Portland. More than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants color the grounds. The oldest rhododendron currently growing in the garden was planted prior to 1917. Crystal Lake, the namesake of the gardens, attracts numerous waterfowl as well.
Gravel and paved walking paths lead through the garden. Terraced areas with trees, bridges, and ducks and herons picking along their slopes make the gardens that much more lovely to walk through. Some of the rhododendrons and other flora are identified, but most are without placards. Dogs are allowed as long as they are kept on leash.
The property was originally owned by William S. Ladd and was known as Crystal Springs Farm. In the 1950s, the garden was designed as a test garden for new rhododendron species, but this endeavor withered after a decade without permanent protection. The land was revitalized in the 1970s under the hands of well-known Portland landscape architect Wallace K. Huntington. In 1977, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden was dedicated for public enjoyment.
In early spring and summer, the garden explodes in color as the hundreds of rhododendrons come into bloom. Fall offers its own special attraction as the numerous deciduous trees show off their oranges and reds.
Friends of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden maintain the grounds along with other volunteers. From April 1 until September 30, the garden is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Hours from October 1 until March 31 are from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is free to all from the day after Labor Day through the month of February. A $4 admission fee is charged between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, March through Labor Day. Admission is free for children under 12 and Friends of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.