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Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Trail Progress Report

[Posted July 16, 2023]

By Bill Gallagher

Crews of volunteers have been busy getting the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego (HI>LO) Trail in shape. It’s now easier than ever to hike the six plus miles from the Hillsdale Town Center to Lake Oswego’s First Addition Neighborhood. And more improvements to the regional trail are coming.

When completed, the HI>LO Trail will move the region closer to the goal of creating a 1,000-mile network of regional trails. Work remains to be done on the trail inside Marshall Park near Arnold Creek, but you can now follow the entire trail or check out some of its segments.

The HI>LO Trail has been a work in progress since SWTrails PDX first laid out Trail Six in the Portland City Council-approved Southwest Urban Trail Plan in 2000. In 2005 the regional government agency Metro designated it as a Regional Pedestrian Trail. The HI>LO Trail starts at Ida B. Wells High School and takes hikers through Marshall Park and Tryon Creek State Park.

During the winter and spring of 2023 major progress was made on the trail. A new trail segment was cut (the Frey Property Trail) connecting SW Taylors Ferry Road at SW 17th to Owl Creek and the heart of Marshall Park. Dozens of old steps have also been replaced along Trail Six as it makes its way south from Capitol Hill Road to the intersection of Barbur and SW 19th.

trail volunteers
Ahmed Yusuf, right, of Portland Parks and Recreation, managed the efforts of volunteers to build a new trail into Marshall Park at SW Taylors Ferry Road and SW 17th.

The Frey Property Trail was cut through heavy brush by SW Trails volunteer crews over the course of three months. Ahmed Yusuf, Stewardship Coordinator in the City Nature Division of Portland Parks & Recreation, was the crew chief.

“Over the last three events we had 29 volunteers totaling 87 hours of trail building. We built 582 feet of new trail using eight yards of gravel and two tons of wall rock. We also installed five steps and 40 feet of split rail,” Yusuf said about the work, which was done in wet winter conditions.

trail volunteers
Lee Beuhler of SW Trails PDX, right, supervised the replacement of steps on SW Trails Trail Six on SW 19th Ave. Ed Fischer is on the left; Mike Chang is in the center.

“Hand tools such as grubbers, mattocks, McLeods, rakes and shovels were used to clear and level the first layer of the trail. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of gravel were then moved in to help armor and build the trail.

“It took a lot of work by a lot of people who took the time and care to get this new trail built,” Yusuf said.

If you’ve hiked Trail Six from the west end of the Raz-Baack Crossing over Stephens Creek, you’ve seen the new steps installed over the last few months to replace the original steps that went in more than 20 years ago.

“Our upgrade of this section of Trail Six makes it more accessible and attractive as part of the HI>LO Trail,” said Don Baack, crew chief of the step-replacement effort, driving force behind the HI>LO Trail, and SW Trails co-founder.

Baack is currently managing the design and installation of way-finding signs and interpretive panels for walkers on the HI>LO Trail.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is preparing to make a major improvement to the safety of the intersection at SW Taylors Ferry and SW 17th where walkers enter the new Frey Property Trail. A crosswalk will be installed along with additional caution signage.


Have you walked from Hillsdale to Lake Oswego yet? Tell us about it.


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