Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The history of River View Natural Area dates back to 1882, when it was owned by River View Cemetery and left undeveloped for future expansion. It was logged several times over the decades, with the latest being in the 1950s. It was technically illegal to access River View Natural Area until 2011, when it was purchased by the City of Portland. This prohibition, however, did not stop the area from being popular among mountain bikers and hikers over the last century. Palatine Hill Road is posted as no parking to discourage college campus students from parking along the shoulder in order to avoid paying fees to park on campus. River View Natural Area saw a surge in popularity among montain bikers starting in 2011 once parking became legal, though it was banned in 2015 (although like decades before, many still ignored the ban). A restoration plan updated from March 2015 outlines plans to abolish these trails to designate the interior as Perserved Forest Habitat while creating a new trail that follows the perimeter of the park, open for nature-based recreational use. As of this writing, the trails throughout the park still follow the established mountain bike trails in the park.

If sweeping vistas and exciting scenery is your goal, River View Natural Area is would not be the best choice. However, if a tranquill walk through the woods with few visitors is what you are after, RVNA is a wonderful place to visit. The perimeter trail is roughly 2 miles long, so the park is great for a short hike or a quick trail run because it is close to Portland. Wildlife activity in this area will change with the seasons.

The park itself is not well labeled; there are no signs at entrances to the park, but once you are inside the park, park rules and trails are clearly labeled. Trails are easy to follow, but make sure you bring your phone or a map to know which trails to take. You are never far away from a park entrance, so getting turned around would be remedied by following the trail to the closest entrance.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Quiet. Basic.


Parking. Trail maintenance.


Whale watching
Family friendly



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