Laurelhurst, located in Southeast Portland is an incredible green oasis in the middle of Portland’s eastside. Within its borders are a pond, horseshoe pits, picnic tables, an off-leash dog area, and a couple of mostly paved trails that are ideal for running.The park is great as a quick and easy escape when running through neighborhoods gets boring. There is a larger paved trail that runs around the entire perimeter of the park. A full loop is about .85 miles.
The loop is ideal for interval running or for just pounding out a few miles after work. Because of its location, its easy to link Laurelhurst with Mt. Tabor, allowing for a longer, more scenic run. Crowd wise, the park is never completely empty, so be prepared to run around couples, dogs, kids and other runners. As with many city parks, Laurelhurst can get a bit sketchy at night and there are a couple of dark spots that make running alone more of a dicey adventure. However, the park is lit with street lamps, and I’ve run there at night, and seen other runners doing the same, without any problems. There are numerous entrances around the park, with plenty of parking if you choose to drive up there.
Distance: the paved loop around the park is .85 miles long.
Directions: From downtown Portland, you can take either Burnside St. or Madison/Hawthorne Blvd. For the Burnside route, starting from SW Taylor St and SW Naito Parkway, take Taylor St. west to SW 4th St and take a right. Continue on this until you hit Burnside St and take a right (east). Cross the Burnside Bridge (check out the views!) and continue east. As you come to the intersection of Sandy Blvd and Burnside make sure that you are in the far right lane, otherwise you will be forced onto Sandy (Sandy is the bane of navigating in Portland). Turn right on SE 32nd Ave and then your first left on SE Ankeny St., which will run directly into the park.
For the Madison/Hawthorne route, starting from SW Taylor St. and SW Naito Parkway, head west on Taylor and take a left on SW 3rd St. and then a left onto SW Madison St. This road will take you across the Hawthorne Bridge and will turn into SE Hawthorne Blvd. Take Hawthorne for about 2.5 miles and then take a left on SE 39th St. Take this for about a mile and then take a left at SE Stark St., and then a right onto SE Oak St. The park will be in front of you, and you can park on this road.