Location: Outer SE Portland
Trails: 9 miles of multi-use (bikes, horses, dogs)
Terrain: Gravel and dirt paths
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Highlights: View, Meadows, Forest, Birds
Powell Butte is a large nature park in outer Southeast Portland, off Powell St. This park contains over nine miles of trails, both through meadows and forest. See the detailed trail map, courtesy of Friends of Powell Butte. Keep in mind that there are areas closed off for both the construction (new subdivision) and wildlife.
We visited the park in February, and were able to spend a couple of hours exploring the trails. Once you climb past the construction area, there are some fairly nice trails through meadow areas and areas that are being re-planted. You can get a good view of SE Portland from the top of the this butte area. Continuing on, the trail descends into the forest area at the back of the park. These paths were very well maintained and beautiful; a nice forest walk that is not too challenging. We were able to see a fair amount of birds for the time of the year, including golden-crowned kinglets, a red tailed hawk perched in the trees and a very tame hairy woodpecker.
Powell Butte is large enough to keep you occupied for several hours, and offers an interesting combination of landscapes. Though somewhat marred by the construction area, this is a solid hiking spot that anyone in the area should check out.