Want to train for summer hikes or backpacking trips without leaving the city? This hike will take you to both the lowest (Willamette river) and highest points (Council Crest) in the city! After you finish you will feel -and maybe smell- like a mountain goat. Enjoy the hiker’s alternative to goat yoga free of charge! Read on for more details.
Name: Mountain Goat Loop
Neighborhood: South Portland, Hillsdale, Healy Heights
Distance: 8.81 miles
Elevation Change: 1,058 ft
Start/End Location: George Himes Park (Terwilliger and Nebraska)
Map Links: Mobile* Browser
Starting and ending at George Himes Park at Terwilliger Blvd and Nebraska St, this hike climbs to SW Fairmount Blvd where you can opt for a shorter loop, but the main hike climbs all the way up to the highest point in Portland, Council Crest Park. Strap on your backpack and get ready for an urban hike workout!
Although this hike is a loop and can be started anywhere along the route, this description begins at George Himes Park. Park on Nebraska St adjacent to the park and head West (uphill) along Burlingame Terrace. Turn right onto to SW Burlingame Ave. As you round the corner on SW Burlingame Ave, enter the Wilson High School parking lot, where you will stay right to walk by the food carts to the signal at SW Capitol Highway.
Cross SW Capitol Highway onto SW Sunset Blvd and continue up SW Sunset Blvd until you reach SW 18th Dr. Turn right. Continue on SW 18th Dr, making sure to stay right at the Y so you don’t end up on 19th. Soon SW 18th Dr veers uphill to the right on a small lane. This section of the walk is rather magical. Continue on the lane and join a short trail section through the Nicolai Natural Area. As you leave the trail, you will feel like you are entering a private garden. You’re not, it’s a public right-of-way. . . so keep walking up and you will soon reach SW Fairmount Blvd. Now it’s decision time. From this point, you can turn right on SW Fairmount to SW Mitchell and start the trip back to the start, or you can turn left and continue up to Council Crest.
From SW 18th Drive and SW Fairmount Blvd, turn left onto SW Fairmount Blvd. Fairmount sees plenty of walkers, runners and bikers and most drivers are well aware of them. However, please use caution on this short section of the hike. Continue on SW Fairmount Blvd until you reach SW Bertha Ave and turn right. Head up SW Bertha and veer left onto SW Hillsdale Ave. Sometimes the street signs are turned around in this area, so please pay attention to the mobile map to make sure you are on the correct street. Make a hairpin turn onto SW Beaverton Ave, and yes, you are heading a bit downhill! Stay right on SW Beaverton Ave at the junction with SW Wapato. Continue on SW Beaverton Ave to the Y with SW Hillsboro St and turn left onto SW Hillsboro. Shortly you will see a set of stairs on the right. Climb them to arrive at SW Council Crest Dr where you will turn left. Stay left on SW Council Crest Dr and walk the loop to the summit. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, and also a sweeping view of Portland. Make sure to read the inscription around the circle at the summit for some historical context.
Begin your trek home by heading down the Marquam Trail. If you are standing at the summit circle looking toward Portland, the Marquam Trail will be just across the street slightly to the right. Stay right at the first trail intersection and hike down to SW Greenway Ave. Turn right on SW Greenway and then left on SW Council Crest Dr which you will follow down past Healy Heights Park. Continue on SW Council Crest Dr past the gate to the radio tower. Stay left on the gravel trail as it loops behind the tower to paved SW Fairmount Ct. If you ended up going down some steep steps to SW Fairmount, you missed this trail but you will quickly rejoin the main route. Turn left on SW Fairmount and almost immediately turn right on SW Mitchell St.
Follow SW Mitchell down to SW Hessler Dr and stay left on SW Hessler. There are some fantastic views in this area so make sure to stop and enjoy! Follow SW Hessler Dr down to the intersection with SW Northwood Ave and turn right. Enter the natural area where SWTrails volunteers are working to improve water drainage and to add gravel to the trail. Exit the trail and turn left on SW Westwood Dr at the next intersection.
Follow SW Westwood Dr and pass the first dead-end SW Menefee Dr on your left. Turn left at the second SW Menefee Dr (now is a good time to look at the mobile map to make sure you are still tracking!) and follow it down to the intersection with SW Menefee Ln. Turn left on SW Menefee Dr and stay right on SW Menefee Dr at the intersection with SW Edgemont Pl. Keep walking until you reach the intersection with SW Westwood Dr and turn left until you reach SW Terwilliger Blvd.
Cross SW Terwilliger and turn right onto the pathway. Continue down SW Terwilliger and once again cross SW Capitol Highway. Pass SW Terwilliger Pl which you will see across the street on your right, and watch for the dirt trail on your left heading into George Himes Park. Follow the trail down through the park which will take you under the Iowa viaduct (SW Barbur Blvd) and under I-5. Continue down the stairs and exit the park into what seems to be a private driveway (it’s not).
Carry on straight to S Corbett Ave and turn right. Take a left on S Carolina St, a right on S Virginia, and left on S Nebraska. Cross S Macadam and head into Willamette Park, staying to the right side of the Dog Park. Then turn right on the paved trail close to the Willamette River and head toward the Sellwood Bridge. Exit the park and turn right onto S Miles St. Cross S Macadam Ave and follow the Trail #4 sign a short distance up S Taylors Ferry Rd to the base of the stairs just after S Laview Dr. Take a deep breath and get ready for a climb up to S Kelly. At the top of the stairs, continue straight up S Custer and follow the curve to the right. Before you reach the bridge over I-5, turn left on S Custer and follow to the end of the street. Continue on the dirt road near the Terwilliger off ramp. Climb the stairs to the left, cross the street and take the paved stairs up to the I-5 overpass bridge. Turn right on SW Terwilliger Blvd. Cross the bridge and use the crosswalk at SW Barbur Blvd . Stay on Terwilliger where the sidewalk becomes the Terwilliger Trail. Continue on, dipping down into the lovely wooded area, and look for the “Sasquatch Viewing Area” sign on your right. While sightings are rare, you might get the chance to view this elusive creature! We would love to see your photos; make sure to use the hashtag #swtrails. Continue until you reach the intersection where SW Nebraska St is on your right and SW Burlingame Terrace is on your left; this is where began.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #swtrails to share your very best pictures.