If you live in Portland, Mary S Young Park (which is both called simply a park and a state recreation area, I think because it’s jointly managed by OR State Parks and the City of West Linn) is an easy one to overlook. It’s way the heck in West Linn, after all — and as far as parks go, I don’t think it has a particularly high profile.
But it’s pretty awesome. I discovered it when I lived in Lake Oswego: it was almost exactly 3 miles from my apartment, and the 6-8 mile round trip, depending on how much I explored in the park itself, was a fairly typical running distance for me then. But since I’ve been in Portland and not paying attention to it, it’s become even more awesome of a park, with a network of nice trails and a lot of new native planting.
Even though it’s “all the way” in West Linn, you can bike there on super mellow streets and bike paths almost the whole way there. In fact, if you take the following route, it becomes a day of two state parks, since you go through Tryon Creek State Park as well. (And a lot of the distance on this route is because I took a detour on the way home to tour around Lake Oswego — if you just went to Mary S Young and back it’d be much shorter of a ride.)
What can you find at Mary S Young Park? Well, it’s on the Willamette River, so there’s lots of river-playing and rock-scrambling to be had:
And if you’re there later in the season than I was, there’s a seasonal bridge that takes you to a little island:
There are also soccer and baseball fields, an off-leash area for free-range doggies, a bunch of sweet picnic tables, and a short interpretive plant walk with lots of good planty information for the botany nerds (or botany curious) among you. And, of course, there are the few miles of interconnecting and super peaceful trails.
It’s a great spot for bird-watching, or simply unplugging a little. And the ride there and back is lovely too. Definitely worth the trip and a few hours of playtime.