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Elk Rock Garden, Portland

4.9
#22 of 40 in Parks in Portland
Elk Rock Gardens of the Bishop's Close are located on a hillside estate overlooking the Willamette River in Dunthorpe, Oregon, in the United States. Peter Kerr started the gardens in 1916 on a 13acre estate that passed to the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon after his death in 1957. The estate includes a manor house and other structures, and is open to the public.Magnolias and other native and non-native trees, shrubs, and plants grow in the gardens. Dunthorpe is an unincorporated community on the west side of the Willamette south of Portland and north of Lake Oswego along Oregon Route 43.HistoryKerr moved to Portland from Scotland in 1888 and started a grain business. He and his brother and Kerr's business partner bought land on the hillside in the early 1890s. They built a cottage on the site and lived there until the other two men married and moved elsewhere. Kerr, the sole remaining occupant, married Laurie King in 1905. They lived in the cottage until 1916, when a new house resembling a Scottish manor was completed on the site. John Olmsted of the Olmsted Brothers landscape architects, sited the house to provide a view of Mount Hood. After the manor was finished, Kerr, encouraged by his wife, began work on a large garden.
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Elk Rock Garden Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
27 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Looking for Elk Rock, Google found this for us. Tucked into an exclusive neighborhood SW of Portland it's a real gem. Acres of trails take you to breathtaking cliff views of the Willamette River. Many...  more »
  • Senior couple. A small unique garden. Quiet along the walkways viewing the unique plants and trees. Not a big place but well worth the time. Nice view of the river.  more »
  • This lovely little garden is beautiful and FREE. Also, there are NO bathrooms. We came here twice on our trip because we loved it so much. There is a very short path you can meander around. There is a...  more »
Google
  • Looking for Elk Rock, Google found this for us. Tucked into an exclusive neighborhood SW of Portland it's a real gem. Acres of trails take you to breathtaking cliff views of the Willamette River. Many of the plants are labelled and all are well cared for. We really enjoyed hiking around the garden and had it all to ourselves for most of an hour. Beautiful spot!
  • What a lovely garden! I visited in mid-January and the garden was very much alive. They have plants that are green and/or flowering even in winter. It looked like there had recently been a mudslide in one of the pathways but they had it marked off for safety. The paths are well maintained with primarily gravel walkways. Some of the steps are stone, so be careful if it has been raining, they might be slick. There isn't any covered space, so if it is raining pretty hard, bring your hooded jacket. The house on site is not available. Talk a walk through the garden, past the stream and overlook the river! It is a perfect way to spend an hour or two.
  • 1st time visitor. Early spring, it was lovely. The view from the cliff top was breathtaking. Though the path to get there gave me butterflies in my stomach, as I am very afraid of heights and there was no railing.
  • Relaxing and beautiful. Parking area is small, so if you diving a large vehicle, consider parking on the street. Garden is nice and quiet. A little gem in a nice neighborhood.
  • Beautiful, peaceful garden with great views of the river and mountains (when it’s clear). Short walking trails. Be careful with little ones here. Steep cliffs along the back with little or no protective barrier to prevent falls. Small parking lot that can fill up.
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