Date visited: April 29, 2008 and August 18, 2010
Path Surface: Dirt trail, some gravel, roots, rock and mud in the trail in some areas in winter and spring
Elevation gain/loss: 350 feet
Distance: 4.2 miles of looping trails
Ratings: Setting +++ Calorie-burning ++++
Directions: I-205 to Sunnybrook Road. South on 97th until it becomes Mather Rd. Look for the low sign marking the park on the left. 10695 SE Mather Rd.
Trail map (does not show the portion of the Park Loop Trail that is allegedly closed)
The Portland area was not always the calm, serene place it is now—at least geologically speaking. Here and there, volcanic buttes jump out of the surrounding plains. One of these, Mount Talbert, is the site of a new Metro park.
Though surrounded by houses, apartment complexes and roads, the park is amazingly unspoiled. We saw no ivy and many native plants. A very nice attribute is the oak savanna on the West Ridge Trail. Other features of the park include a prairie loop (though it doesn't look like much now), interpretive signs and a covered picnic area. Posts at each trail junction guide your path to the top, but those hiking to the summit might be disappointed by the lack of a view.
Our “nature report” for our April visit includes: birds - Cooper's Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Steller's Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Bewick's Wren, Winter Wren, American Robin, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's), Townsend's Warbler, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon), Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch; and flowers in bloom - Ethrythronium oreganum (fawn lily), Camassia quamash (camas), Cardmine nuttallii (oaks toothwart), Viola glabella (stream violet), and Synthyris reniformis (deer flower). Also of note: POISON OAK AND STINGING NETTLE near the trail!