Some people ask, why move to West Linn? Here’s one reason why: When we were getting ready to move two years ago, we were looking for a welcoming neighborhood in a family-friendly city. So when we began exploring West Linn, Oregon, we knew we found home. It has an incredible school district, access to the outdoors, a small-town feel outside Portland—and a wealth of parks. We love to spend time outdoors as a family, and as soon as we bought a home and moved, we began exploring the best parks in West Linn.
There are so many great outdoor spots to play, we could hardly choose a favorite. It’s just as well, because mixing it up keeps my kids happy! When I get the girls packed up and tell them we’re going to the playground, they ask, “Which park, Mama?” Will it be the one with the dinosaur skeleton? Or the one with the giant rocks you can climb in the splash pad? Or the one with the two-story high slide built into the hill?
So many choices!!!
The best parks in West Linn, Oregon
I couldn’t decide how to rank these West Linn, Oregon parks, so I’m not listing them in any particular order. If you live in West Linn or the Portland area, try one out—or try them all! Summer is the perfect time to explore and discover the best parks in West Linn.
Just off Highway 43 is a beautiful park with multiple play structures, a jungle gym, swings, old-school metal slides and a splash pad. It’s shaded—ideal for the hot summer—and includes several fields that host baseball games, especially on the weekends. During weekdays in the school year, avoid the time immediately after nearby Bolton Elementary gets out—the park becomes overrun with kiddos just finishing their school day.
Hammerle Park, 1505 Lewis St., West Linn, OR.
Marylhurst Heights Park
I absolutely love how this tucked-away neighborhood park in West Linn has something for kids of all ages. Slides and climbing structures of various sizes can be conquered by littles and older kids; in fact, on a recent visit, some kids (and their mom!) created an obstacle course they had to navigate without touching the “lava”—aka the wood chips. My girls loved to play on the rope web and hammock, but the real highlight was the splash pad—complete with water that shoots out of sculptural dinosaur bones and a metal relief T-rex skull embedded in the pavement.
Marylhurst Heights Park, 1800 Valley View Dr., West Linn, OR.
Mary S. Young Park
We visit Mary S. Young on the regular partly because it feels as if we disappear into its 128 acres as soon as we hit the trail. You can wander in the deep forest, hike down to the Willamette River, let your dog play in one of several off-leash areas, watch local kid’s lacrosse and soccer games or relax with a picnic. We love to walk down to a sandy beach along the river, partly because it changes every time depending on the water levels. (Side note: We chose Mary S. Young to do our maternity photos because it’s one of the best parks in West Linn.)
Mary S. Young Park, 19900 Willamette St., West Linn, OR.
Tanner Creek Park
I love the proximity of this West Linn park’s playground to the splash pad—my kids love to play in the water, then go swing or goof off on the teeter totter, then head back in the splash pad. Shaded benches line the splash pad, and families set up blankets and picnics in the grass so parents can see kids both in the splash pad and on the playground. There are also basketball courts, tennis courts and a skate park just a short walk from the playground.
Tanner Creek Park, 3456 Parker Rd., West Linn, OR.
Camassia Nature Preserve
We adore this park, which is perfect for hiking with kids in West Linn. The loop trail takes you through grasslands which bloom with native flowers in the spring, woods and spots that offer a beautiful view of Mt. Hood. Remember that dogs aren’t allowed, and stay on the trail to protect fragile native plants. For more details, read my full post about hiking with kids outside Portland at Camassia.
Camassia Nature Preserve, 4800 Walnut St., West Linn, OR.
Tucked amid a West Linn neighborhood, 50 acres of woods have been preserved as Wilderness Park. We hike here with the kids weekly because we can make our hike as long or as short as we want, depending on the girls’ energy and our time limits. It’s also fairly sheltered from the trees during rain, which makes it a great wet weather hike (just bring boots—the trail can get muddy).
FYI: The city has parked a bunch of construction equipment and supplies in the regular parking area of Wilderness Park, so I recommend parking on Oregon City Boulevard between Oregon City Loop and Prospect Street. About halfway between the two streets on the north side of the street, there are several (unmarked) trail entrances that lead you into the park.
We recently discovered Robinwood, a hidden gem among the best parks in West Linn. Among the tall trees of this 15-acre park is nestled a playground, stroller-friendly walking trails, a small skate park, a big field that just asks to be run through and a lovely splash pad. Peeper in particular loves to climb the big stones in the splash pad, which shoot water in different directions. Plus, the splash pad is shaded in the morning. Just know that the playground structures aren’t great for kids under 2—they’re designed more for older kids.
Fun detail: Listen for the bells at Marylhurst University chime on the hour!
Very important: Don’t follow the Google Maps directions to Robinwood Park—they send you to the back end of the park where there’s no entrance or parking. Instead, off of Highway 43/Willamette St., turn east on Fairview Way (at Bugatti’s). Continue along Fairview and you’ll end up in the parking lot.
The highlight of West Linn’s Willamette Park, right near the historic downtown area, is the giant splash pad. It is built on a slope, and kids love to run back and forth between the levels. Willamette Park also has a ton of sheltered picnic areas and grills, which make it a choice spot for parties. (The volleyball courts and horseshoe pits don’t hurt, either!) You can also access the river, where you can launch your kayak or simply scope out the waterfowl. (Fair warning: The geese at this West Linn park are super aggressive, so watch young kids around them.)
Willamette Park, 1100 12th St., West Linn, Oregon
Sahallie Illahee Park
When we first arrived at Sahallie Illahee Park, I wasn’t terribly impressed. Yes, it had a cute play structure, tire swing and swing set the perfect size for my kids, but I didn’t see what made it special—at first. Then we wandered down a hiking trail, across a bridge and out the other side—to a two-story high slide built into the side of a hill. It. Is. Awesome. This side of the park, which is designed more for slightly older children, also has a bridge structure built between two pretend rocks built just for climbing.
Sahallie Illahee Park, 4300 Horton Rd., West Linn, Oregon.
Phew! Now can you see why I can’t choose the all-time best park in West Linn, Oregon? There’s too much competition!
Now get out there and have fun!!!
If you’ve been to any of these, which do you think is one of the best parks in West Linn? What’s your favorite local park?