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Cooper Mountain Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Little Prairie Overlook, Cooper Mountain (bobcat)
Western geranium (Geranium oreganum), Cooper Mountain (bobcat)
The quarry pond, Cooper Mountain (bobcat)
Oak tree on Cooper Mountain Loop Trail (bobcat)
White rock larkspur (Delphinium leucophaeum), Cooper Mountain (bobcat)
The loop at Cooper Mountain (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Kemmer Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Cooper Mountain Quarry Pond
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 300 feet
  • High Point: 760 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: On sunny weekends
Poison Oak

Contents

Description

On a sunny spring day, Cooper Mountain, a jewel among Metro's panoply of developed parks, is ablaze with unusual wildflowers and affords expansive views across the Tualatin River valley to the Chehalem Hills. There has been extensive work to restore the iconic oak savannah habitat that was in danger of being subsumed by encroaching Douglas-firs. The trails all lead downhill, so be prepared for some uphill on the way back. Interpretive signs explain the natural history of the area. Watch for the resident bobcat in the upper grassy slopes of the park.

At the parking area, there are restrooms in the Nature House, picnic tables, and a play area for children. The trail leads out from the east end of the parking lot, giving views across a meadow to the Chehalem Hills and Parrett Mountain. Pass by plantings of ponderosa pine and come to a junction. To do a full circuit of the park, go left on the Little Prairie Loop. Enter Douglas-fir woods also populated with oaks and madrones. Poison oak is rampant here and climbs high in the trees. The trail switchbacks down four times to a junction. Head left to the Little Prairie Viewpoint. This gives a view over a meadow with hyacinth cluster lilies and white larkspur blooming in June on the shady rims. The Chehalem Hills can be seen over a copse of Oregon white oak.

Back at the junction, go left, walk 20 yards, and go left again down Blacktail Way, another wide graveled trail. Madrones and oaks are prevalent. The path winds down to a clearing with a "listening trumpet" for bird sounds. Keep heading down and cross a wide footbridge over a creek to pass through an open scrubby area with young cottonwood, Douglas-fir, oak, big-leaf maple, ocean spray and madrone. At a junction, go left on the Cooper Mountain Loop. Soon reach the next junction, where you go left for the Larkspur Loop. This trail drops and then rises after passing over a creek running through a culvert. At the loop junction, bear left and head up in an oak savannah. Notice the poison oak here as well as the white larkspur blooming in the shade in late spring. The trail heads to the right and drops to reach the loop junction. Continue straight back over the creek to the junction with the Cooper Mountain Loop Trail and keep left.

The path reaches the Cooper Mountain Quarry Pond, which is a breeding pool for red-legged frogs. You may see salamander larvae here as well. This man-made oasis is also a good bird watching site. The trail drops, rises, and then turns uphill. Pass along the rim of an oak/madrone savannah, the Big Prairie. Come to a junction with a service road on the left. The trail ascends to the junction with the Overlook Trail. Go right here for views of the Chehalem Hills and Parrett Mountain. The tread rises through a willow thicket and, at a junction, go right, heading past Douglas-fir saplings protected by mouse netting. Cross over another wide footbridge. At a four-way junction, keep straight on the Cooper Mountain Loop. Head up in a meadow, and pass a spur trail on the left. At the junction with the Little Prairie Loop, go left and walk uphill into a plantation of young ponderosas. At a last junction, turn left and hike back to the parking area.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • No pets allowed

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine edited by Michael C. Houck and M.J. Cody
  • Exploring the Tualatin River Basin by Tualatin Riverkeepers

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.