Powell Butte Nature Park is an extinct cinder cone volcano located near the SE Portland and Gresham border. Meadowlands, seasonal wetlands, oak savannahs, forests, and views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and sometimes Mt. Jefferson are all part of its 611 acres. The park is full of different critters, including foxes, pheasants, coyotes, black-tailed deer, and the occasional cougar. Powell Butte was part of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.
Powell Butte is now part of Portland Public Parks and is maintained by Friends of Powell Butte. With the visitor center’s parking lot recent expansion, there is now plenty of parking. In addition, hikers, bikers, and horses are allowed on the trails that meander through the park.
There are plenty of trail options for a trail run between 3 and 10 miles starting from the visitor center. With the South Trail’s longest trail at .91 miles, a route around the butte takes some creativity. The Southeast section of the park is full of giant cedars and firs and is indicated by the trail names of Hawthorn, Fernwood, Douglas Fir, and Cedar Grove. Here’s an approximately six-mile route that features what makes Powell Butte a special place for trail running.
Powell Butte is also part of the Tour de Buttes Run, a fun marathon route in East County that Mike Strobel from Eastwind Running and Endurance dreamed up for an annual social run.