Hogan Butte Nature Park

Hogan Butte Nature Park just opened to the public last weekend. It’s always good to have a new park in town – and this one has a great view. There are views of all of the nearby mountains. I believe the day we went we saw Mount St Helens, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood, but on a clear day you could see Mount Rainier and Mount Jefferson as well.

 

Mt Hood in the distance
Mt Hood in the distance

 

There is quite a steep hill from the smaller lower parking lot to the top of the hill, but there is also a drop off area at the top and a few handicap parking spaces at the top.

 

A place to rest
A place to rest

 

At this point, there weren’t a lot of wildflowers, but I did see some sweet peas. And it sounds like there are more wildflowers in the spring and early summer. Some of the maple trees along the path were newly planted and haven’t gotten fully root bound yet, so the leaves are already dying. And there was grass seed, but still no grass on the ground yet. But I’m sure by spring the trees will be just fine and the grass will be growing and the flowers all blooming and it will be just beautiful. Just keep in mind if you go visit that it is a ‘new’ park. The view from the park is awesome is amazing, though!

 

Sweet Peas
Sweet Peas

 

What I didn’t realize until they opened the park was that Gresham is one of the few cities to have extinct volcanoes right within city limits. And Hogan Butte sits right on top of an inactive volcano’s vent. Whoa! Mind blown. I always knew we were situated in ‘the ring of fire’ living in the Portland metro area, but to have an inactive volcano right in my home town is a bit disturbing, to say the least. I always figured if any of the big volcanoes surrounding us blew their tops, we were far enough away from them all that all we’d get would be ash and smoke in the air. I’m just going to have to hope that since the buttes in Gresham are much smaller than all of the bigger inactive volcanoes, perhaps they are less likely to get set off than the bigger ones.

 

View of Mt Hood from the lookout area on Hogan Butte
View of Mt Hood from the lookout area on Hogan Butte

 

Pattern on the picnic table
Pattern on the picnic table

 

The city began acquiring the land for this park back in 1990. A few years back they also purchased the historic house at the base of the hill near the parking lot as well. The house was built in 1928 and was once a Prohibition-era speakeasy.

 

Green shed
Green moss covered shed

 

I spoke with a lady whose sister was the last person to own the house. She said the city had been trying to purchase it from her sister for years and then she finally gave in and sold it to them a few years ago. It has been renovated since being built, but there is still an old fashioned double wide cast iron stove in the kitchen. At this point the house isn’t open to the public. My son and I may have walked all the way around the house peeking in the windows. Not saying we did that, just saying we may have done that. Ha. No one lives in the house at this time.

 

Apples!
Apples!

 

The old house at the bottom of the hill
The old house at the bottom of the hill

 

If you’re in the Gresham area, definitely check this park out. The view is worth it!

 

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Larch Mountain

A couple of weeks ago, my son and I took a trip to Larch Mountain. I hadn’t been in years. He didn’t remember going there ever. You do need a park pass to park in the parking lot. It’ll cost you $5. I didn’t realize that until I was all the way up there. A lot of the places I hike at in Oregon are free. I was not dressed in hiking boots or tennis shoes or even comfortable sandals. Luckily, it isn’t a long hike to get to Sherrard Point.

In early summer, there are lots of wildflowers along the path. There are stairs to climb to get to the top, so if you can’t do stairs, you may want to sit this one out, even though it is only a short hike.

The view from the top is worth it – even if you’re wearing uncomfortable dress sandals! You can see Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, Mt Hood, and Mt Jefferson and on a good day, Mt Rainier. Mt Rainier was hiding in the clouds the day we went, but we could see the other 4 mountains quite clearly.

Sherrard Point used to be a fire observatory before it was converted into a fenced in observation lookout at the top of the path. Larch Mountain is an extinct volcano that hasn’t been active in over 1.4 million years. You can hike from Multnomah Falls all the way up to Larch Mountain if you’re up to doing a pretty long hike.  We chose to just walk up the 0.3 mile long path from the parking lot to the view point and then back down again. The road to the upper trail head is closed during the winter months so make sure to go in the spring, summer or fall.

Happy trails!

 

Lupines
Lupines

 

Stairs to Larch Mountain Lookout Point
Stairs to Larch Mountain Lookout Point

 

Mt Hood
Mt Hood

 

Wild flower
Wild flower

 

A happy tree stump along the trail
A happy tree stump along the trail

 

Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens

 

Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush

 

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