The fourteenth route in our Self-Led hiking series is an elongated loop through the southwestern most parts of SW Portland. Read on for more details.
This walk is 4.2 miles in length with a 650 feet elevation change. The route takes you through Loll Wildwood Natural Area, PCC Sylvania Campus, Lesser Park, then past Sylvania Park and Holly Farm Park and finally over Jackson Middle School’s expansive fields back to the starting point.
Start at the Jackson Middle School parking lot north of the School. Walk south on 35th Ave for a couple of blocks and turn right (west) on Comus St, then, after a block, left (south) on 37th Avenue. Walk south for three blocks, crossing busy Pomona St until you face two mature trees on Arnold at the edge of Loll Wildwood Natural Area; the trees have a demand/social path in between them. Take that path; it goes south for about 100 feet, then west for about 2,000 feet, all on the north side of Arnold Creek which is in a ravine to your left. The last third of the path is uphill to Palatine St where you exit the Natural Area.
Turn left (south) after a block onto 45th Ave and walk it for five blocks until the Avenue T’s into Stephenson Street. Along the way, if you look east along Vacuna or Vesta streets, you might catch a view of Mt. Hood. Turn right (west) on Stephenson and walk a block passing the north side of a cylindrical, green, city water tank. Take the trail with wood chips by the NW fenced corner of the water tank property and make your way across the parking lot for a couple of restaurants and shops to the stop-light intersection between Hidalgo St and Kerr Parkway.
Cross Kerr Pkwy to get into PCC Sylvania Campus. The destination on the west side of campus is Lesser Park and Haines Street. There are many ways to get there: use an existing path/trail, walk on G street, walk across campus in any number of ways. What is described here is the path/trail. What follows in the next two paragraphs is a detailed description of how to stay on the path/trail. Instead of following the description you could be guided by the linked maps. Your choice.
Make it to the SW corner of the intersection between Hidalgo St and Kerr Parkway. Notice the boulders at that corner and follow them south along the sidewalk. Before they are replaced with a fence you will see a path on your right headed southwest towards campus. Take that path. Pretty soon you will encounter a Y intersection. Take the left branch at this intersection and you will be on the pedestrian path sandwiched between Kerr Pkwy and campus “G” street. “G” street runs along the perimeter of almost the entire campus. The path follows “G” street first on its east, then its south, then some of its west side before veering west to Lesser Park and neighborhoods surrounding the Park. Midway the path changes from bare dirt to a wood chipped trail for a bit. At one point it crosses a small parking lot with a tree on an island. A little further on it seems to peter out where there is a sign to the right that says “Child Development Center”. Stay on the left side of the street. This is by a gravel(?) storage at the edge of the woods. The part of the storage you see first is a fenced gate; the other three sides are made of eco-blocks. Take the path to the left of this storage, not the two track gravel road to the right of the storage.
After a short distance the path you took by the gravel storage T’s into another. Turn right and now follow this main path through the woods without veering left or right at branches until you notice streets on your left and can exit on a short branch to the left onto Haines St close to its intersection with 57th Ave.
Go right (west) on Haines St for two blocks then take a right (north) on 60th Ave. Go about 1,500 feet on 60th Ave until it intersects Lesser Rd. Take a right on Lesser Rd, then shortly thereafter another right onto (the northern part of) PCC Sylvania campus “G” street. Follow “G” street until you intersect “H” street and SW Urban Trail 7. There should be a Trail 7 sign with a right arrow on the north side of the intersection. Now you can simply follow the Trail 7 signs until Capitol Hill Library.
In case you prefer a narrative over the Trail 7 signs, here it is: follow the north side of “G” street for 100 feet; just past H St and turn left on the path that leads you through an opening in a fence. Turn right on Vacuna St, after a block left onto 53rd Ave, after two blocks right onto Buddington St, after a block left onto 51st Ave, after three blocks right onto Pomona St, after one block (by the 7-eleven, cross Pomona before Capitol Hwy) left onto 49th Ave, after three blocks right onto Dickinson St, then one block to the library on the left and the playground in Holly Farm Park on the right.
At the library turn left on Capitol Hill Hwy and walk a couple of blocks to the stop light street crossing at Markham School and the intersection of Capitol Hill Hwy and Galeburn Street. Cross Capitol Hill Hwy and continue straight east on Galeburn St past Markham House Assisted Living Facility. Continue east on Galeburn for half a dozen blocks, then descend several sets of stairs onto 40th Ave. You are now overlooking Jackson Middle School’s athletic fields. You should be able to see the parking lot starting point in the distance beyond the fields. You can reach the starting point by descending the stairs straight ahead and following the paved service road north of the school buildings.