We are very lucky that we live within walking distance of one of Portland’s most beautiful city parks, Mt. Tabor. This park has everything — a picnic area, a playground, a restroom (all of which are handicapped accessible), sports courts, a stage for summer concerts and events, and all kinds of places to hike, ride, or just relax. There’s an off-leash dog area, too. There are wide open grassy spaces as well as groves of tall evergreens and lots of deciduous trees and blooming flowers, too. It also has a volcanic caldera, which aren’t all that common in city parks! (Don’t worry, it’s extinct!)
We like to go to the park mostly to walk or play tennis. We’ve ridden our bikes up a few times, and even gone sledding during a rare Portland snowstorm! You can also drive up, nearly to the top (except on Wednesdays when the park is closed to cars). The elevation of the park is about 300 feet at the base and about 600 feet up at the top, so you can get in a decent workout walking or riding. There are lots of trails to walk on, or you can take the paved road. You will find plenty of stairs leading up, too, if you’re looking to run some stairs, but you don’t have to take any stairs.
If you make it all the way to the top of the park, you’re rewarded with some beautiful views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, and also with a view of a bronze statue of a guy you’ve probably never heard of, even if you’re from Portland: Harvey W. Scott, editor of The Oregonian newspaper in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His widow gifted it to the city. Nicer wife than I am, for sure, but what I think is really cool about this statue, is that the guy who sculpted it was Gutzon Borglum. Not familiar with his name? Well, maybe you know about one of his more famous carvings…Mt. Rushmore!
Events like bike racing, weekly summer concerts, the Portland adult soap box derby (check out the hotdog car!), longboarding and street luge racing, trail runs, even the very Portlandia Tofurkey Trot draw lots of people to our fabulous park. Mt. Tabor is not a park you go to for solitude, it’s a place you go to feel like part of a community. And we think that’s just great.
Have a great community park in your town? Tell us about it in the comments. Enjoy your week or your weekend! Maybe we’ll see you at the park.