It may still be cold + gray out there, but spring in Portland is coming. To make sure we hit the ground running when hiking season begins in earnest, we stopped by Powell Butte and enjoyed some blessed sunshine for our latest Hike of the Month.
- Starting point: Powell Butte Nature Park, 16160 SE Powell Blvd.
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
- Distance: 1.8 miles (varies depending on path)
- Route type: Trail network
- Elevation gain: ~170 ft.
- Trail surface: Dirt
- Wheelchair accessible: At Visitor Center
- Open: All year
- Dog friendly: Yes, on leash
Rising above its surroundings in Southeast Portland, Powell Butte offers striking views of Mount Hood, as well as Mount St. Helens + Mount Adams in Washington. Once a volcanic cinder cone, the hill is now covered in 611 acres of meadows and forests. A trail system loops around its summit, with paths for walkers, bikers + horseback riders, while also connecting to neighborhoods and the Springwater Corridor Trail on its southern flank.
Why you should try it
Making a loop out of the Mountain View Trail, Meadowland Lane, and Pipeline Lane makes for a casual but rewarding experience, even before the greenery returns. On our visit, we saw two kestrels (small falcons with spotted chests) darting through the air, and many other wildlife species like rabbits, ring-necked pheasants, and black-tailed mule deer call Powell Butte home too. In the springtime, vibrant wildflowers add splashes of color among the grass and groves of hawthorn trees, which also display attractive white blooms.
Finding a parking space in the lot can be very difficult, especially on nicer weekends. There are other access points surrounding the park, just be mindful of each neighborhood’s specific parking regulations. Also, make sure to properly clean your boots or bike tires before hitting the trails to prevent spreading invasive weeds.
Let us know
Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts + recommendations.