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