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SW Trails Hikes and Trail Work

[Posted October 8, 2021]

Contributed by Nan Wagner; photos and captions provided by William Gallagher.

SW Trails PDX crews are once again being deployed on the first Thursday of each month for essential trail work. This crew, led by Neil Dytham (on the right) of Portland Parks and Recreation, did maintenance work in early September on the Buhler Cut Off, a 1000-foot trail which connects Terwilliger Parkway and Barbur Boulevard. For information on volunteering, check out Help the Trails at Photo: Lee Buhler.

The Delta variant hasn’t slowed us down one bit here at SW Trails but we are observing strict adherence to CDC and OHA guidelines. Masks are required in most public outdoor settings where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status. We prefer that all walkers be vaccinated. Mask-up as we gather and maintain physical distancing (6 feet) from those not in your family or pod. Be prepared to use your mask when physical distancing can't be maintained while walking. No vaccination? Then a mask is always on for our hikes and always keep a 6-foot distance from other walkers.

Longtime Southwest Portland volunteer Lee Buhler has been actively involved with SW Trails PDX and SWNI long enough to have a trail named after him. Buhler was one of a dozen SW Trails PDX volunteers who did basic maintenance work on the Buhler Cut Off in early September to make the 100-foot trail safer. Photo: Bill Gallagher.

Remember, our 2nd Saturday hikes are designed to be challenging. They are hilly, even steep at times, with a 2.5-3 mph pace over 4.5 to 6 miles. If that sounds like more than you’re wanting, please join us instead on our 3rd Saturday Stroll & Coffee walks which are a little slower and shorter, at 2.5-4 miles with less overall elevation gain.

2nd Saturday Hike, October 9, 2021, Robert Gray School to Gabriel Park

Start time: 9:00 am

Start/end location: Robert Gray Middle school, 5505 SW 23rd Ave Neighborhood: Multnomah, Hillsdale, Bridlemile, Hayhurst Distance: 4.77 miles Elevation Change: 359 ft

Transit: TriMet bus 39 to SW Capitol & Bertha Ct. Our meeting place is a 13-minute walk from there.

Please note this hike DOES NOT start where we often do in Hillsdale but at Robert Gray Middle School.

Summary: Brian Brady, SW Trails’ mapping and website manager, leads the hike this month. This 4.7-mile hike will take us through Albert Kelly Park and Gabriel Park, alongside Fanno Creek Natural Area, and through the newly established Texas Wetlands project. We will use some of the many rights-of-way throughout SW Portland and enjoy the fruits of local neighborhoods’ labor as they work to bring back native plants along the way. We will also see some of SWTrails volunteers' many projects as they work to build trails, bridges, and steps to get us where we want to go. We’ll follow the route as shown on the map and described here with a few modifications due to construction in Gabriel Park.

SWTrails 3rd Saturday Stroll & Coffee, October 16, 2021

Start Time: 9am (please arrive around 8:45 so we can start on time)

Start Location: Parking area behind the Hillsdale Food Trucks

Name: George Himes Park Loop

Neighborhood: Hillsdale

Distance: 2.3 Miles

Elevation Change: 122 ft.

Transit: TriMet Bus #38

Come on out and join SW Trails on Saturday, October 16, at 9am for its monthly 3rd Saturday Stroll & Coffee. The 3rd Saturday stroll is designed to offer a walking opportunity that is shorter and a bit slower than our traditional hike and ends with a stop for coffee and socializing if you desire.

We will be heading to George Himes Park to walk down its paths through the park; then we will walk up Terwilliger, cross Capitol Hwy, and continue until we reach SW Cheltenham. We will then walk up Cheltenham, which will lead us back to SW Sunset to complete the loop.  Walking poles might be needed while walking through Himes Park.

Because COVID infection numbers are still high, we would like our walkers to be vaccinated, and to comply with current state recommendations to maintain a 6-foot distance between other walkers who are not part of your family or personal pod. Be prepared to mask up for our beginning group talk and if the 6-foot distance is impossible while walking. 

Bring a snack, water, good footwear, sunglasses, and dress for the weather. Note that smoking on our walks is not permitted for health reasons. Kids and well-behaved pets are welcome.

Hope to see you there. 

With either walk, 2nd Saturday Hike or 3rd Saturday Stroll, an experienced guide will help you discover the hidden parks and secret cut-throughs that wind through Portland’s southwest neighborhoods. As always, well behaved dogs on leash and children are welcome. Note that smoking on our walks is not permitted for health reasons. Please be prepared: dress for the weather, bring water and a snack if you like. Always arrive at least 10 minutes early to sign in.

If there is a trail in SW Portland that you love, SW Trails probably helped establish and maintain it. We are completely volunteer based. If you’d like to participate in trail work, get more information, donate or become a member visit or contact


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