urban hiking

Urban Hiking

This post will probably mostly appeal to locals.

When everything shut down here in Oregon, 12-ish weeks ago, we knew we still wanted to get outside and get fresh air and exercise. The Governor shut down the Gorge and Mount Hood and the Coast, so no hiking there. For awhile we mostly went for walks in our neighborhood and we still do as much as possible.

With a toddler out of preschool/daycare, we definitely needed some options. I started looking for places that WERE open still. A lot of parks and nature parks are still open near us, but playgrounds are closed. Bathrooms are closed at trails and nature parks.

Obviously, we are as smart as we can be. We only go to places that are open. We go at times when there won’t be as many people. If there are a lot of cars in the parking lot, or we see too many people, we leave and go somewhere else. We bring our masks, although we don’t necessarily wear them unless we see other people. We don’t touch anything (you shouldn’t in nature parks anyways). We are taking as many precautions as we can and still get outside and get exercise and sanity.

In a way, this time has turned out to be good for exploring new area of Portland. In the past we had favorite hikes we’d go on, they were usually out in the Gorge or on Mount Hood, or Milo McIver Park, or Stub Stewart Park, but all these places closed down so I looked for places that were 5-8 miles within our house so we could stay close.

Here are some suggestions we like:

Forest Park

Forest Park never closed during the quaratine. There are a TON of trails and different trailheads and so many places to explore. We never went here during the covid-19 stuff because I knew there would be a LOT of people there. But it is a good place to hike close to town.

Mary S. Young Park

A pretty big park in West Linn with a lot of trails, a dog park area, river access, picnic areas. There are 5 miles of hiking trails in the woods. There are bike trails and bird watching.

Maddax Woods

Another West Linn gem. It’s short but kid friendly. 7 acres of woods and trails, river access. There’s a trail up to the West Linn Library, or a trail to the river. It was about 1.1 miles roundtrip.

Scouter’s Mountain

A great little nature hike in Happy Valley. NO DOGS. There are a few trails that all connect. It’s hilly so you can get a workout but it’s not long so it’s kid friendly. There’s a parking lot and a nice view of Mount Hood. You are in the woods and the trails are all well groomed. It’s very good for families. And we saw deer!

Mount Scott Nature Park

This is another Happy Valley hike. It’s a nice little find at the end of a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood. The trail is short but steep. It’s kid-friendly because of it’s length and there are old cars with trees and plants growing in them hidden in the woods!

Cooks Butte Hike

This was a cute little hike up at the top of a neighborhood hill in Lake Oswego. This was another one where the trailhead was nestled at the end of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. The trails were all connected and had variations in grading so you can get a workout, but kid-friendly enough (no cliffs, no big dangers, not super long). It was a nice trail in the woods. Dogs are ok (on leash). This one is definitely one we would do again and again.

Tualatin Hills Nature Park

This is a great park! It’s very flat, so not a great workout for hiking. Some of it is paved (so ADA and stroller accessible). It is a great park for running and biking, not so much for hiking. There are some trails off the paved areas that you can hike on and lots of off-shoots to explore. You could spend the whole day exploring. It’s great for kids! NO DOGS.

Springbrook Park

This is a nature park in Lake Oswego. Beautifully groomed and maintained and it looks like they are making some new trails. There are lots of trails that are offshoots into neighborhoods, or schools, and a lot of the trails connect. It’s really pretty. Pretty flat. Mostly gravel and dirt, which is nice because when it rains it’s not too muddy. We’ve already done this hike twice! It’s great.

Tualatin Greenway Trail

This is a cute little paved path in downtown Tualatin, right behind the mall area right off I-205. We discovered it recently and it’s perfect for toddlers! It’s wide, paved, there’s information about the Ice Age and dinosaurs along the way and it’s right by the river. It’s super cute!

It’s about 4.5 miles long, I guess. We only did part of it. We will definitely go back and do the rest sometime! And it looks like the river is a GREAT place for kayaking!

Happy hiking!

Race the Rain

We’ve had a house guest for the last few days and over the weekend I had a bit of a stomach bug. Not sure if I ate some that didn’t agree with me or what, but I took it a little easy. Honestly after having a busy few weeks it was nice to relax and watch some Netflix and decompress. I started watching “Bosch” on Amazon Prime. If you have Prime, I highly recommend it! It’s REALLY good! The books are great, too, if you haven’t read those.

IMG_8751

So Sunday came and I met a friend for a walk. She recently had a baby and it was a pleasure seeing the little one! We got in a nice walk–around 3 miles or so. Then Michael and I went out for a hike after lunch. We needed something near the city because we were racing the forecast of rain.

IMG_8774

We went out to Powell Butte Park in SE Portland. It’s a quick, easy drive and a nice little park in the city. If you’re looking for a hike to do on the east side of town, this is a good one. The last time I was there it was under construction but now it’s mostly done and the trails are really nice! It’s a huge park with sweeping views of the city, the countryside and various mountains.

IMG_8758
It’s not a really strenuous hike, but there were a few parts of the trail that got my blood pumping. There are mountain bike trails and we saw evidence of horses, too. The clouds were looking ominous, but it seemed to be off in the distance.

IMG_8760

Part of the path is paved. Then it turns into gravel. Then the trail goes downhill and into the woods. There were tons of mountain bike trails with hills and stuff. We hiked through the woods and it was nice. Not too crowded out there.

IMG_8761

IMG_8764

We came out of the woods and started hiking back up the hill. We saw the dark clouds and could see the rain far off in the distance but it still looked far enough way. We hiked around the summit and looped around the whole park.

IMG_8766

There was a viewpoint with markers showing what each mountain was off in the distance.

IMG_8767

I was starting to get tired and a little sore. (I did a lot of weights Saturday and was a bit sore from that in addition to walking earlier in the day.) We saw the dark clouds moving even closer and then we heard thunder! Thankfully Bella didn’t seem to notice or hear it, so that was good. We picked up the pace and headed back down the trails to the parking lot. Then we saw this guy:

IMG_8769
IMG_8771

We’d heard rustling in the hillside above us and then we looked up and saw the deer! Wow! Again, Bella was oblivious–which was good. She didn’t bark at the deer and freak it out. Bella was too preoccupied by smelling something in the bushes. LOL

IMG_8772

Back at the car. We did just under 4 miles. I burned 431 calories. It was a good little hike for a quickie exercise when pressed for time. I was happy with my numbers. Michael’s were a little lower than he wanted.

IMG_8776
IMG_8775
As Michael was driving out of the parking lot the rain started. We’d just missed it! Then it started to downpour and it rained for most of the drive home.

Dinner was jalapeno poppers (fresh from our garden) and steak topped with caramelized onions. I made us side salads with romaine and spinach and fresh roma tomatoes from the garden. Dessert was some vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries and some chocolate on top.

IMG_8779

 

Those poppers, by the way, were borderline nuclear hot. We are definitely having a HOT jalapeno summer!