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Mount Talbert Perimeter Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

TKO put tools to trail here.png
Cedar woods on the Sunnyside Road Trail, Mt. Talbert (bobcat)
Snow queen (Synthyris reniformis), Mount Talbert (Steve Hart)
Trail maps abound (Steve Hart)
A trillium on Mount Talbert (Steve Hart)
The loop hike around the lower slopes of Mt. Talbert (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo


Hike Description

This hike in Metro's Mount Talbert Nature Park stays on the Park Loop Trail around the lower slopes of the Boring volcano and avoids the viewless summit of Mount Talbert. You can do the hike from either the Mather Road Trailhead or Sunnyside Road Trailhead, but this description is from the northern trailhead at Sunnyside Road. The public land here was purchased via a Metro Open Spaces Bond Measure, and the park was officially opened in 2007. Additional land on the north side of the butte was added in 2010. Trails are well-marked, but since it’s a Metro park, dogs are not permitted. Mount Talbert is probably named after Francis Talbert, who in 1852 established a Donation Land Claim of 300 acres on the north side of the butte. Other members of the Talbert family settled nearby.

The well-built gravel trail starts rather steeply down from the tiny parking area. There's a wide footbridge over Mount Scott Creek, and then the trail works its way up under red alder, cedar, and Douglas-fir with a sword fern understory. Stinging nettles sprout along the trail verges. Ascend a single switchback to the junction with the Cedar Park Trail. At the junction, you'll see the first of the handy trail maps that adorn the posts at all trail junction in the park. Turn right here to stay on the Sunnyside Road Trail. Soon the trail changes from the graveled surface to a muddy tread as it enters the forest. This area was logged in the early years of the 20th century, but has been relatively unspoiled since then. The forest has matured into an open stand of Douglas-firs and cedars. The understory is dominated by sword ferns, and trilliums are common in the spring. The trail climbs to a junction with the Park Loop Trail. Head left (southward) on the Park Loop Trail.

This part of the trail is an old road, and the walking is a little easier. After a quarter mile or so of the firs, you'll enter an area of oak forest. The Douglas-firs in this area have been cut down to create an oak forest ecosystem. Look for oaks toothwort and stream violets blooming here. In the evening. a small herd of blacktail deer appears on the slopes. Reach the Park Loop-Summit Trail Junction, and keep left to stay on the loop. (See the Mount Talbert Summit Loop Hike for details about the summit route.)

Descend in salad-carpeted Douglas-fir forest to arrive at the junction with the Willingham Court Trail. Stay right, and continue under vine maple bowers to the Park Loop-Mather Road Trail Junction. Keep right again, and descend slightly to the Park Loop-West Ridge South Trail Junction. Keep left here to wind down, and make three switchbacks. Woodpeckers swoop through the canopy, and Douglas squirrels dart in the underbrush. You’ll notice that extensive thinning of young Douglas-firs has provided more light for the oak trees. Keep right at the junction for the spur leading to Park Mountain Lane. Stay right at the next junction, and begin gradually ascending along an old road bed. Make a level traverse below a hillside of oaks, and pass an old logging landing. (These slopes were cut in the 1920s -1930s.) Round the northwest corner of the butte on a slope of mossy maples and sword fern.

Keep left at the Park Loop-West Ridge North Trail Junction. A short distance later, you’ll pass the spur leading out to Talbert Drive. Stay right, and head up the hillside. You’ll get glimpses of Mount Scott through the trees. Then the trail drops to the Park Loop-Sunnyside Road Trail Junction in a grove of western red-cedar. Make a left to return to the Sunnyside Road Trailhead.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • No dogs permitted
  • Open one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset
  • Stay on the trails
  • No bicycles

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Urban Trails: Portland by Eli Boschetto
  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Walk There! 50 Treks In and Around Portland and Vancouver edited by Laura O. Foster
  • Portland Hill Walks by Laura O. Foster
  • Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine edited by Michael C. Houck & M.J. Cody
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill

More Links


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.