One of the region’s earliest blooming native flowers, trilliums are a common sight in Pacific Northwest forests. These small, white flowers are abundant in Portland’s only state park, Tryon Creek — so abundant, in fact, that the park hosts an annual Trillium Festival each April. If you miss the festivities, you can still find the flowers yourself and enjoy Tryon’s hiking, biking and horse trails all season long.
Trilliums also bloom along many trails in Northwest Portland’s Forest Park, which sprawls over more than 5,000 wooded acres (2,023 hectares) and boasts 70 miles (113 km) of paths filled with fascinating flora and fauna.
From Forest Park, follow the Beech Trail to Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park. Home to nearly 1,000 species of shrubs and trees — more than any other arboretum in the nation — Hoyt has plenty to offer all year-round. Spring highlights include bell-shaped Oregon plum flowers, magnolias, blooming dogwood and cherry blossoms.
Speaking of cherry blossoms, stroll through downtown’s Waterfront Park in late March or early April to find a breathtaking sight: 100 Akebono cherry trees popping with pink and white petals. (Fun fact: The trees were given to Portland in 1990 by a group of businessmen from the Japanese Grain Importers Association.)
For cherry trees in a more traditional setting, visit the Portland Japanese Garden, heralded as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan itself. And while you’re exploring authentic Asian gardens, don’t miss downtown’s Lan Su Chinese Garden; in spring, fragrant scents of daphne and Edgeworthia enhance this Ming Dynasty-style garden.
Visit Southeast Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in April or May to catch its collection of rare rhododendrons, azaleas and hybrids in full bloom. The garden boasts 7 idyllic acres (2.8 hectares), including three waterfalls, two picturesque bridges and tranquil Crystal Springs Lake, where nearly 100 species of birds feed and nest. For an extra treat, visit on either the first weekend of April or Mother’s Day weekend, when the garden hosts its annual flower shows and sales.
A 45-minute journey south of Portland delivers you to Woodburn’s Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, home to 40 acres of colorful tulips. The annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, held each April, also offers wine tasting, wagon rides, children’s activities, a food court and a marketplace offering freshly-picked tulips and bulbs for fall planting.
No flora-viewing adventure would be complete without the City of Roses’ namesake flowers. Both Peninsula Park in North Portland and the International Rose Test Garden boast thousands upon thousands of rare and beautiful rose bushes, which typically begin to bud in early April. To catch them at their peak, visit in early June and don’t miss the Grand Floral Parade at the annual Portland Rose Festival!