When you think about Portland in relation to volcanoes, one might recall scenes from the city skylines in the early 80’s as crowds gathered to watch neighboring Mt. St Helens erupt. With plumes of ash stretching miles up into the sky, the scene was part epic and eerie all at once.
But nestled deep within the Portland city limits, sits an actual volcano itself, albeit a dormant one. Mount Tabor is a far cry from Mt. St. Helens. At 636 feet high, Portland is one of only four cities in the United States to have an extinct volcano within its city limits. Coincidentally, Oregon also is host to another of those four cities with Pilot Butte, which is located in Bend.
A Brief History Of Mount Tabor
Mount Tabor’s name refers to a mountain in Israel with the same namesake. The extinct volcano is technically a dormant cinder cone of the Boring Lava Field. The lava field itself has been extinct for over 300,000 years. The Boring lava field is a pretty extensive group of cinder cones and what are called small shield volcanoes that stretch all the way from Boring, Oregon, to Southwest Washington. But it wasn’t until 1912 when Mount Tabor’s volcanic past came to be known.
What Does Mount Tabor Park And Mount Rushmore Have In Common?
Just a mere 3.5 miles from Downtown Portland, the 196-acre Mount Tabor Park is easily accessible from anywhere within the Portland metro area. The park itself, which boasts a number of amenities, that include an amphitheater and miles of trails, also offers views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Downtown Portland. As a matter of fact, Mount Tabor Park was recently named as one of the 15 best places with scenic views in Portland.
At the summit of Mount Tabor, you will find a statue of Harvey W. Scott, editor of The Oregonian newspaper from 1865-1872 and from 1877 until his death in 1910. The statue was sculpted in the early 1930’s by Gutzon Borglum. You might not recognize his name, but you might recognize Borglum’s work. The sculptor is best known for sculpting four American presidents on Mount Rushmore.
Hiking Mount Tabor
Making your way uphill amidst a robust plant life that also includes over 50 different species of trees as well as rhododendrons, is pretty straightforward with three official hiking loops. From the main parking area at the base, one can take either the Red, Green, or Blue Trail.
Mount Tabor Neighborhood
With most homes built in the 1900s, the Mount Tabor neighborhood offers all types of styles of homes. Not only will you see modern styles, you will also see Bungalows, Colonials, and English Cottages. Along with Mount Tabor Park, the neighborhood is also known for another favorite among locals, and that is Hawthorne Boulevard.
What Is Hawthorne Boulevard?
At the base of Mount Tabor Park sits Hawthorne Boulevard. Ask anyone you pass by on the street anywhere in Portland to describe Hawthorne with one word and you will hear the word, “eclectic.” With its café’s, vintage shops, and various boutiques, Hawthorne Boulevard offers a lot to do after a morning hike with friends just up the street at Mount Tabor Park.
4 Things To Do Near Mount Tabor
With a lot to do in Mount Tabor, here are but 4 things to put on your checklist for your next visit to Portland’s urban volcano:
Hike A Trail
With miles of trails and plenty of scenery, when’s the last time you’ve hiked a volcano? While most trails at Mount Tabor Park are straightforward, for those who want a little more out of a hike, grab a map, then head out on the blue trail.
Eat Good Food
After a Saturday morning hike, head over to Fern Kitchen where they’re serving up healthy food that’s well priced. Also, Fern Kitchen offers quite a bit of gluten-free options as well. Located near Mount Tabor Park, this favorite eatery aims to offer fresh, locally sourced, life-enhancing nourishment from people who care.
Another spot to check out is Coquine where Chef Katy Millard is serving up amazing dishes with sustainable practices and sourced from local farms. A visit to this bistro will leave you telling others “Bon appétit!” as you walk out the door after an amazing meal.
When in Portland, you do as Portland does, and that’s drink coffee. There are plenty of unique coffee shops in and around the Mount Tabor Park. One coffee shop in particular is definitely a place you’ll want to visit when you come to Mount Tabor and that’s Taborspace, where their mission is to aim to be an anchor for community life, a friendly place for people to meet, laugh, learn, celebrate, and share with one another.
Shop Uniquely Portland
There is nothing more uniquely Portland than to pair coffee with visiting one of the unique shops the city has to offer. And while there are plenty of unique places to shop near Mount Tabor Park, here are a few local favorites in and around the area: Sequel Apparel, As You Wish, Presents Of Mind, and Vent. From resale items, jewelry, and everything you don’t need, but have to have, you’ll find it here as you wander the various shops with coffee in hand.
There’s A Volcano In Portland? Let’s Go!
Who knew there would be so much to do on Portland’s urban volcano? From some of the best scenic views in the city to good coffee and unique shopping, what better way to take in Portland than by heading out with a friend or family member. Besides, it will make for a good tale someday, “Remember that time we climbed a volcano with latte in hand?”