It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest is a trail runner’s paradise. From mountains to rivers to the coast, there are innumerable routes to choose from. Portland, in particular, is home to many terrific running trails. On this occasion, my friend Grant and I headed to far southeast Portland to explore Powell Butte.
This is a beautiful nature area featuring hills, forest, rivers and small waterfalls. There are several criss-crossing trails so you can run here over and over and never get bored. There is varying terrain as well. We experienced everything from asphalt to dirt single-track to gravel roads to rock paths. When we arrived, we found a fair amount of the park closed off because of a new water line project that is underway, but there was still plenty of trail to explore.
There is a large parking lot and restrooms at the trailhead. From there, have a quick look at the trail map and choose your adventure. The hilltop has no trees, so it gets warm quickly on a hot day, but the views are spectacular, all the way to Mount Hood and into the Columbia River Gorge. In fact, we were fortunate enough to see Air Force One descending through the Gorge on the way to PDX.
On this day, we ran a little more than 5.5 miles and mostly explored the outskirts of the park. On future visits, I’m sure I’ll explore many more trails. Considering the park’s close proximity to downtown Portland, this is a quick trip for any Portlander or visitor to the city. Have a look at the video below for a better look at some of what we experienced on our run.