The area around southeast Portland is surrounded by isolated low lying hills, remnants of old cinder cone volcanoes. One of these, Mt. Tabor, is located in the Hawthorne neighborhood, in Southeast Portland. A neighbor of ours mentioned how great Tabor is as a venue for a quick run, advice I quickly disregarded as I thought of her as somewhat crazy. Lo and behold, Crazyface was right, Tabor is a great place for a quick run, ride, stair workout or interval training. Every time I am up there I am surprised by how big the park is: it holds a reservoir for the city, multiple bike and running paths, an ampitheatre, picnic areas and playgrounds. Simply put, there is a lot to Mt. Tabor, so I will focus on the features that I use the most.
For riding, Tabor is a quick climb, that can be lapped on the roads that run through the park. I get the sense that a lot of area bikers use Tabor as I do, a quick workout before or after work. Cars move through the park pretty slowly, so riding in there is pretty laid back. Starting in May and running through most of the summer, the park hosts bike races, the Mt. Tabor Series, which run every Wednesday afternoon.
Tabor is a perfect venue for running. There are a couple of trails that wind around the park, along with a main road that runs all the way to the top of the park, where it forms a loop about 1/3 of a mile long – great for interval training. The views from the top are fantastic; both downtown Portland and Mt. Hood are prominent scenes. I have spent a lot of late afternoons running up there, and there is always a big gathering of people from the neighborhood to watch the sunset. Very romantic. Even only Seneca would watch it with me instead of dive bombing the bushes in search of birds and sticks.
Finally, my favorite feature of the park is the stairs that run from the base of the northeast end of the park to the summit. They are longer than the Med School Stairs, and make for a great side workout.
From Downtown Portland: take Madison east to the Hawthorne Bridge, and continue on Hawthorne until it dead ends at SE 60th Ave. Take a left and then your first right into the park.