Forming a natural western border of downtown and Nob Hill, the West Hills extend as a high (up to around 1,000 feet in elevation) ridgeline from Southwest to Northwest Portland. Part of this lofty neighborhood is residential, containing some of the largest and finest homes in the city, many of them with knockout views of the downtown skyline and Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood in the distance. Most of the West Hills, however, have been permanently preserved as densely forested parkland laced with shaded trails and dotted with some of the city’s iconic attractions, including the Japanese Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Children's Museum, and Oregon Zoo, all of which are in or adjacent to Washington Park. The northern section of the West Hills, stretching from Burnside Street for several miles up to the city’s northern border, is dominated by the minimally developed Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States.
The best way to get to Washington Park is via MAX light rail, which travels through a tunnel deep beneath the West Hills. Be sure to check out the Washington Park station, the deepest (260 feet) transit station in North America. Graphics on the walls depict life in the Portland area during the past 16.5 million years. There's also a core sample of the bedrock taken from the mountain displayed along the walls. Elevators to the surface put visitors in the parking lot for the Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center, Portland Children's Museum, and Hoyt Arboretum. From downtown and Nob Hill, you can also easily access the eastern section of Washington Park—including the International Rose Test Garden and Japanese Garden—on foot, and both halves of the park have a plenty of parking, for a fee.