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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Right on the southeastern edge of the Portland Metro Area and across the freeway from the Clackamas Town Center lies an absolutely unique biological preserve, Mount Talbert Nature Park. Encompassing much of the long-extinct, 750-foot tall volcanic* butte, Mount Talbert Nature Park offers visitors 4.2 miles of well-maintained hiking trails through native conifer woodland in addition to picnic facilities and interpretive signage.

The park's most unique feature, however, is that it functions as a living lab and experimental forest where prairie burning, a practice once implemented throughout the Willamette Valley by the native Kalapuya tribe, is being tested as a strategy to strengthen and diversify the park's 200-acre ecosystem. According to Metro:

Although the [Willamette] valley could support fir forests, prairies and oaks were preserved through controlled burning... Burning in the valley during the late summer encouraged the growth of plants that supplied tribes with food, fiber and medicine, and improved hunting.

Interestingly, many of the prairie flowers used by the Kalapuya need fire to germinate, including:

  • Western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis): this was used as a poison by natives from Alaska's Aleutian Islands.
  • Oregon "toughleaf" iris (Iris tenax): the fibers were used for rope and string.
  • Camas (Camassia quamash): the bulbous root was cooked, and it is said to "taste like baked pear."

As you walk through these oak and prairie restoration areas, look closely to see how the habitat morphs and which flora and fauna thrive.

* Mount Talbert is a part of the same ancient volcanic field that includes Mount TaborRocky Butte and Powell Butte.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

4.2 miles of hiking trails. Camas flowers in May.

Cons

Limited views from summit.

Features

Flushing toilets
Covered picnic areas
Bird watching
Wildlife

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

09/09/2017
For a park that is right smack dab in the middle of the Portland Metro, it was a wonderful nature oasis. It was a lot larger than I expected. You can still hear a lot of the road nice in the distance, but that isn't surprising. Definitely a great trail to get a quick trail run in. If you are quiet and careful, there is definitely opportunity to see wildlife. Ran across a large buck that was friendly enough to let me take pictures of him for about 20 minutes. PS there are a few signs warning hikers to watch out for Poison Oak!
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