This is our longest hike yet and, since it covers so much of the area we love, the best. It is 21 miles in length covering much of SW Portland. Read on to find out the best way to welcome the new year.
Name: 21 Miles to Welcome 2021
Neighborhood: SW Portland (almost every SW neighborhood, too many to list)
Distance: 21 miles
Difficulty: REALLY, Really Hard
Elevation Change: 773 ft
Start/End Location: Willamette Park
Map Links: Mobile* Browser
Want a fun way to start 2021? We’ve prepared a 21-mile hike around SW Portland! You read that right – 21 Miles! It’s a loop, so you can do it all at one time, or break it into sections and walk it over several trips. The recommended starting point for this hike is the Dog Park in Willamette Park. This hike follows parts of the routes for hikes: 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 ,17, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28. If you haven’t checked out any of our other routes, here is a chance to see part of fifteen hikes at once! Read on for more details.
Due to poor trail conditions in the Riverview Natural area and the temporary closure of the Lewis & Clark campus due to Covid-19, please use the detour below until you reach the roundabout.
DETOUR BEGINNING JANUARY 13, 2021, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE:
Begin by following the asphalted park trails south along the Willamette River and through the S Miles Place neighborhood, walking toward the Sellwood Bridge. Before you reach the bridge, turn right uphill toward Macadam (Hwy 43) and then left at the top toward the bridge. Using the signals at the bridge, turn right and cross Macadam (Hwy 43) and enter Riverview Cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting spot of many historical Oregonians and is worth a separate trip to explore it more fully. There are many roads in the cemetery which can be confusing, but for this hike we have kept it simple. Enter the cemetery and when you come to a junction, always stay left. You will wind your way up the hill (remember to turn around occasionally to enjoy the view to the east). After about a mile you will exit the cemetery onto SW Palatine Hill Rd. Turn right for less than a block and then left onto SW View Point Terrace. After a few blocks turn left onto SW Brugger Rd, then right onto SW Palatine Hill Rd and right on SW Palater to the roundabout where you will now follow the directions for the regular route.
Begin by following the asphalted park trails south along the Willamette River and through the S Miles Place neighborhood to a point approximately 650 feet north of the Sellwood Bridge, where a gravel path splits off the asphalted main path and runs closer to the river. Take this gravel path under the Sellwood Bridge and through Powers Marine Park, paralleling the Willamette River. Enjoy the close-up views of the bridge this path provides. Please be advised that as of July 2020, SWTrails PDX has been informed there are homeless camps in Powers Marine Park from time to time.
The trail leaves Powers Marine Park at a point and jogs up to the trolley trestle that you follow for a few hundred feet to where a short, steep and often muddy trail leads up to S Macadam Ave (Highway 43). This is where the Explorer app will be useful for wayfinding, but if you don’t have it, there is often a green plastic ribbon tied to a tree on the west side of the trolley tracks to help you locate the trail.
You now need to find the trailhead on the west side of Highway 43 that takes you into the Riverview Natural Area. Look for a short stretch of guardrail on the west side of Highway 43. The trailhead is at the north end of the guard rail and does have signs that can be seen from Highway 43. When you have found the trailhead, cross the highway carefully as this is a very busy road, and return uphill via marked Trail 6 in Riverview Natural Area to SW Brugger St. Be prepared as trails in this area can be muddy and slick.
Once you reach SW Brugger St, turn left on SW Palatine Hill Rd, and then right on SW Palater Rd until you reach the roundabout. At the roundabout, cross SW Palater Rd and then SW Terwilliger Blvd., which is essentially heading straight across the roundabout. Enter the parking lot of Lewis & Clark College and immediately stay far left. Carry on straight, staying far left in the parking lot, and very soon you will see an asphalt trail on your left. Take this trail and take an immediate right to head down the path to the T junction at the bottom. Turn left. The paved trail will now more or less parallel SW Terwilliger Blvd. down to Highway 43 in Lake Oswego. You will walk through Tryon Creek State Park, following the Bike Path signs when you cross the main entrance road into the park.
At the base of SW Terwilliger Blvd., turn right onto Highway 43 and walk a few blocks to B Ave. Turn right on B Ave then right on 1st St. Take a left on D Ave and enjoy this lovely street in old Lake Oswego until you reach the end at 10th St. Turn right on 10th St. and then left on Andrews Rd. (which is also E Ave). Continue straight on Andrews Rd. past Forest Hills Elementary School on your right. Carry on straight on Andrews Rd. around the curve to the Iron Mountain Trail entrance on your right. This is just before the intersection with Atwater Rd.
Take the trail and continue heading north, using the Stone Bridge to cross over Nettle Creek. Walk for about .6 mi. Right before the next bridge (Iron Mountain Bridge) take the left fork onto the South Creek Trail. If you walked our hike #25, you have seen this section of the walk, but in reverse order.
Continue north on the South Creek Trail for about .4 mi, where you will turn right onto the Red Fox Trail for about 0.15 mi. Turn left onto the Old Main Trail for a short distance (0.05 mi), take the right fork onto the Big Fir Trail (0.05 mi), then left onto the Middle Creek Trail. Take the North Creek Trail (do not cross High Bridge) and continue for about 0.4 mi and exit the natural area at SW Boones Ferry Rd; turn right.
Turn left at SW Arnold St, right at SW 11th Dr, and enter Marshall Park at the end of SW 11th Dr. You are now on SWTrails #6, and also part of our Self-Led Hike #4. You will shortly meet up with the main trail through Marshall Park where you will turn left. Cross the road when you reach SW Maplecrest Dr to continue on the trail through the park.
Soon you will come to a picturesque stone bridge crossing Tryon Creek. Use caution when crossing as it is narrow and can be slippery. Walk past the playground area and turn right. Two paths cross right here – continue straight (do not cross the wooden bridge). Stay on that trail until you exit at SW 18th and turn right. This is another spot where you need to walk with caution as the shoulder of the road is narrow and the road is curvy. Turn left when you reach SW Taylors Ferry, then shortly follow the sign for SW Trail #6. Cross Taylors Ferry and go up a series of concrete steps to SW 19th Ave. Continue on SW 19th, cross SW Spring Garden St, going over I-5, cross SW Multnomah (twice) and SW Barbur Blvd. You want to end up on the corner where Barbur Rentals is located.
Turn right briefly on SW Barbur Blvd. You will find stairs leading down to the street directly behind Barbur Rentals, which is the continuation of SW 19th Ave. Turn right when you reach SW Capitol Hill Rd. Just after the curve in the road, enter Stephens Creek Natural Area on the right. Enjoy this short but beautiful trail, crossing Stephens Creek via the Raz-Baack Crossing, which was built by SWTrails PDX in conjunction with the city of Portland. Go up the steps at the end of the trail to reach SW Bertha Blvd; cross SW Bertha Blvd and walk up SW Chestnut Dr. Turn left at SW 13th Ave. Cross SW Vermont St and walk between Rieke Elementary and Wilson High Schools to the parking area near the food carts on the corner of SW Capitol Hwy and Sunset Blvd.
Cross Capitol Highway onto Sunset Blvd and turn right at the library onto Dewitt St. Walk one block and turn left on SW Cheltenham St heading uphill. About a block later, take SW Cheltenham Ct and stay straight to the top of SW Westwood Dr. Pay attention to the map and the street names here . . . they are similar and can be confusing. Follow SW Westwood Dr past SW Menefee Dr. Stay straight onto SW Northwood Ave and follow the trail at the end of SW Northwood Ave to SW Hessler Dr. Turn left on SW Hessler Dr, and follow this steep street up to SW Fairmount Blvd. Make sure to occasionally turn around and admire the views to the east from this hilltop neighborhood.
Turn left on SW Fairmount Blvd., eventually turning right and heading uphill on SW Bertha Ave. At the Y take SW Hillsdale Ave and cross SW Chehalem Ave on your way to SW Council Crest Dr. Turn left on SW Council Crest Dr and then left to summit Council Crest at the summit circle. On clear days, make sure to stop and savor the views of several Cascade peaks!
Take the circle clockwise then head down on the 4T Trail/Marquam Trail. Cross SW Greenway Ave, SW Fairmount Blvd and SW Sherwood Dr. Follow the 4T Trail signs all the way down to the Marquam Shelter. From the Shelter, take the uphill trail on the right (south) until you see the Connor Trail on your left. Follow this trail as it winds up to OHSU and SW 9th Ave and carry on straight out to SW Gibbs St. You are now on SWTrails #1 which you will follow all the way down to the Willamette River.
Heading down SW Gibbs St, take the crosswalk looking for the SWTrails #1 sign and zig-zag on the walkway back behind the building. Follow the SWTrails #1 signs down stairs and paths all the way to the Casey Eye Institute and down to SW Terwilliger Blvd. Turn right on the SW Terwilliger Blvd pathway. Soon there will be a driveway with a SWTrails #1 sign heading down. Follow the driveway to the end (it feels like you are invading the homeowner’s privacy – but you’re not) and follow the path and stairs all the way down to SW Barbur Blvd. Cross SW Barbur Blvd at the crosswalk and turn right onto SW Whitaker St. Follow SW Whitaker St down to SW Naito Pkwy.
The crossing at SW Naito Pkwy and SW Whitaker St is a very dangerous crossing. In the future it is planned to be a flashing beacon crossing – but since that hasn’t happened yet, please cross with an abundance of caution. After crossing, head down to SW Kelly St and turn left. Turn right at SW Gibbs St, walk over the Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge and continue down the stairs.
At the bottom of the stairs, cross SW Moody Ave and walk beside the Lower Tram Terminal, circling right back to SW Whitaker St and then left down to the Willamette River Greenway. Turn right on one of the three trails along the river to the end, and then turn right onto SW Lane St. Take a left on SW Bond St; at the end of SW Bond St, turn left onto SW Bancroft St and into the parking lot for the Old Spaghetti Factory. Just past the entrance you will see the asphalt trail which goes around the back of the restaurant. Follow this paved trail all the way back to Willamette Park where you began.
Congratulations! You have just completed 21 miles, and you can say you started the year off right!
*To follow this route, use the Explorer for ArcGIS App to follow along. Simply Download the Explorer for ArcGIS app and touch here on any mobile device. The route is highlighted on an interactive map.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #swtrails to share your very best pictures.