You may have heard of Powell’s Books, but what about Powell Butte? It’s an extinct volcanic cinder cone in the far corners of Southeast Portland, and is encompassed by an impressive 612-acre nature park.
Threading through these cedar trees are nine miles of hiking trails that take hikers across sunny grasslands, over underground reservoirs, and through thick woodland. Mountain biking and horseback riding are also allowed in some areas.
The Powell Butte Summit Loop Hike is an easy, two-mile loop trail that is accessible year-round and totals roughly 220 feet in elevation gain. It’s a trail with many rewards, including the stunning trailhead view of no fewer than three mountains: Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. But also expect relaxing stretches of nature, including park-like acreage, bursts of flowers and deliciously scented miles of cedar woods.
The lovely Powell Butte Summit Orchard, which is dotted with fruit trees planted by early homesteaders, and is now a great spot for a picnic. Bird watchers love the area for the large variety of species that can be spotted here. The open meadows also provide ideal hunting ground for birds of prey, and many species of mammals call the park home, as well, including gray foxes, raccoons, skunks, bats, chipmunks, coyotes, and black-tailed mule deer.
Here’s the breakdown of the loop hike: It begins on what’s dubbed the "Goldfinch Trail,” and then intersects at about 1/10 of a mile with the Old Holgate Trail. Ignore that route and keep straight. After a bit, you'll come to a series of three trail junctions. Go straight ahead at each one.
Take the Orchard Loop Trail south when you cross it, and pass two more junctions until you hit the paved Mountain View Trail, which leads back to the trailhead. This 0.6 mile paved trail can be enjoyed by those in wheelchairs, as well.