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Hike of the Month: Cooper Mountain Nature Park

A barred owl sits in a tree

We make no promises you’ll see an owl, but it’s possible. | Photo by PDXtoday staff

In true Portland fashion, we took the Hike of the Month and we put a bird on it — well, several actually. On a crisp March morning at Cooper Mountain Nature Park, we stretched our legs, observing darting Anna’s hummingbirds, noisy Steller’s jays + and one sleepy barred owl.

Quick facts

  • Starting point: Cooper Mountain Nature Park, 18892 SW Kemmer Rd., Beaverton
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 2.1 miles (varies depending on path)
  • Route type: Trail network
  • Elevation gain: ~324 ft.
  • Trail surface: Dirt
  • Wheelchair accessible: Only at Cooper Mountain Nature House
  • Open: Dawn to dusk, year round
  • Dog friendly: No

Brief overview

This 230-acre park overlooks the Tualatin River Valley, treating you to views of the Chehalem Mountains on the horizon. There, Metro + Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District work together to restore habitat, monitor wildlife, maintain hiking trails, and provide nature education programs for people of all ages. Ample parking, bathrooms, and a nature-inspired playground are also on site.

A person walks on a path with forest and grassland

Rangers reserve this area beyond the trail for nature classes. | Photo by PDXtoday staff

Ben McBee

Why you should try it

Walking the paths takes you on a journey through diverse environments, starting in conifer forest before opening up to untouched prairie and then oak woodlands; it feels like there’s something new to discover around every corner. Native plants like Oregon grape and red-flowering currant are abundant, adding splashes of color among the greenery. Keep your eyes low for blooming wildflowers, and of course critters.

Pro tip

Dispersed around the park are structures that look like oversized gramophones, but they’re not for playing music. Instead, they are pointed at bird hotspots — place your ear on the listening end, and if you’re lucky, birdsongs, chirps + trills will be amplified for your enjoyment.

A woman puts her ear to a listening device meant to enhance the sounds of birds.

You’ll look super cool, too. | Photo by PDXtoday staff

Ben McBee

Let us know

Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts + recommendations.

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