Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon

Mt. Tabor Park
~ 3 miles | 400 ft elevation gain

Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
When I first lived in Portland, I lived much closer to Forest Park / Washington Park on the west side of the city than I did Mt. Tabor on the east side. And, having lived so close to such a massive park with so many corners yet to explore, I didn't put visiting Mt. Tabor high on my list. Now, I live closer to Mt. Tabor than I do Forest Park; and this last Saturday, trying to take advantage of a few brief hours of rainlessness and sunlight, I made a break for Mt. Tabor because it was close to home and if it started to pour again I would've been close enough to home where I could resume doing my laundry and the various off jobs I promised myself I would finally do.

To be honest, I was really surprised by Mt. Tabor. It surpassed my expectations. The first thing I felt when entering the park was a sense of awe at how pretty it was inside. Old turn-of-the-century reservoirs with beautiful "stone-work" gatehouses registered on the National Registry of Historic Places stand high atop a hill with wonderful views of downtown Portland in the distance. Quintessential northwestern woods mingle together with antique lampposts dating back to 1911 and twisty roads. Dirt hiking trails intersect with paved walkways. A wide-open area at the summit is dotted with large old conifers. Bicyclists, families, bands of hipsters, couples, frat boys, joggers, and all sorts of others dot the park doing their things. Flowers are all around. The park has a sort of New York-y, Central Park-y feel to it, especially given it's historic and antiquated feel, but yet at the same time it is truly a Portland city park. And to add to the beauty, the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, which surrounds the park, is home to beautiful old architecture.

The park's allure becomes even stronger when you realize what Mt. Tabor is: a dormant volcanic cinder cone. It's a mini volcano that just about lies in the middle of the Portland Metropolitan Area- granted, one that's been extinct for hundreds of thousands of years. And funny enough, it became a park long before anybody knew it was a volcano.

One quick note: you can get a really good work out here if that's what you're looking for. Some of the make-shift hiking trails are downright steep, and the park's summit is basically surrounded by a circle-track perfect for jogging, biking, or speed walking. But even just a tromp around within the web of trails that cover the sides of the "mountain" will give you a pretty darn good work out.

Here are some photos taken from my time walking around Mt. Tabor this past weekend.

Reservoir at Mt. Tabor with original wrought iron fence - Portland, Oregon
Flowers in bloom - Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Historic 1911 Gatehouse at Reservoir #5 - Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Historic lampposts - Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Hiking trail within Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Flowers in bloom - Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Hiking trail intersection - Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Essential Portland, Oregon: a bearded hipster riding an obscure, homemade bicycle in a park.
A seat with a view of Downtown Portland in the distance - Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Mt Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
Wide open space at Mt. Tabor's summit - Portland, Oregon
Flowers in bloom 
Historic lamppost - Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon

Mt. Tabor Park - Portland, Oregon
One quick recommendation: Mt. Talbert is located right at the end of the Belmont and Hawthorne Districts: two of Portland's hippest and most entertaining neighborhoods. There is some excellent food & drink to be had around here, not to mention legendary Portland hotspots like Bagdad TheaterMovie MadnessBelmont Station & BiercafeHorse Brass PubApizza SchollsSlappy CakesPine State Biscuits, the cheapo movie theater / nickle arcade Avalon-Wunderland, and the Sapphire Hotel. A typical Portland food-cart Pod, aptly named Good Food Here, is basically walking distance from Mt. Tabor's boundaries and includes award-winning and nationally notable Lardo and Viking Soul Food

I haven't gotten a chance to try Lardo yet, but I did finally make a much desired stop at Viking Soul Food. I for one think that their Scandinavian wraps are among the best food items I've ever tasted. They put either savory or sweet Scandinavian comfort food inside of lefse wraps (lefse is a Norwegian potato flatbread). I had both a savory wrap (Norse meatballs, gjetost sauce and pickled cabbage) and a sweet wrap (lingonberries and house-made cream cheese) and both were so good I almost ordered another round.

Viking Soul Food - Good Food Here Food-Cart Pod - SE Belmont


  1. This looks like such an amazing place to visit!!

  2. love your photos! great blog w/ lots of ideas for things to do around here!