Trappist Abbey

Hike from Sept. 24, 2017: Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey offers a tranquil 4 mile loop in the woods with views of the Willamette Valley. We stopped in the guest house for a map of the grounds and started up the hill. We were told to stay on the main road, since the side roads were not maintained and had a lot of poison oak.

Where is it? In Lafayette. Link to the map below:

Trappist Abbey


The most enjoyable part of this walk was the quiet. We passed a few runners, but mostly had the trail to ourselves.


At the end of our walk we stopped back in to the guesthouse and talked with Brother Martin, who it turns out is friends with my Aunt Marilyn! He offered us lunch and told us he became a monk when he was 25. He is 92 now. He said, “You don’t have to be 92 to realize life is a gift.” The hospitality and peace of Trappist Abbey was very evident. No matter what your religious views are you are welcome there; it’s as simple as that. I’m glad I had a chance to explore this happy patch of Oregon.




Bloom Lake

This was the perfect quick and easy hike for a Sunday; one that could be managed with a baby and a lazy dog. (3.4 mile lollipop loop)

Directions: From Portland take Hwy 26 44 miles towards the coast. The trail head is on the left just before Quartz Creek Bridge. It was only a 45 minute drive!

The first part of the hike is a slow steady incline passing mossy trees and a little duck pond.


There were tons of salamanders in the trail too, watch your step!


The trail is an old logging road in a secondary forest. There are some giant stumps along the way from trees that were logged years ago.


Once you reach a trail sign, you take the path to the right to get to the edge of the lake.


After some time at the lake we headed back to the start. On the way back we saw this tree that a beaver had been working on:



When we finished the hike there were only 5 cars at the trail head. It was nice to find a more secluded destination. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wahclella Falls

This is an easy 2 mile round trip hike. You have to go early though since it’s so popular and has a very small parking lot. (NW nature pass or $5 day pass required) To get here take I-84 east to exit #40- Bonneville Dam. Turn right and follow the road to the marked trail head.


Beacon Rock

This hike had been on my bucket list for a long time. It’s not too far from Portland, pretty easy and you get the spectacular views. The only drawback is that it’s crowded. To get here, take I-84 east to Cascade locks and cross the Bridge of the Gods ($2 fee each way). Turn left after the bridge and find the trail head on your left after a few miles. There is a $10 day fee, or a Washington Discover Pass. The hike is only a mile climb to the top.



Soapstone Lake

If you’re looking for a quiet place to reconnect with nature, this is it. It’s an hour and 20 minutes from Portland in the Tillamook State Forest. This hike is 1.5 miles each way and 0.9 miles around the lake- easy.


From Portland take Hwy 26 towards the coast / After 60 or so miles turn left on Hwy 53 / Follow the very windy road for 6 miles to turn left on Soapstone Lake Trailhead road. This gravel road takes you to the trailhead in a few minutes. No fees!

The trail was relatively empty by the time we arrived at 10:30; there were only 3 other cars. It was such a relief from hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to have a quiet peaceful visit in the forest.


A mossy haven.




The lake has a muddy bottom and newts and salamanders. imageimage


This hike was such a nice change in pace. I can’t wait to try out another one in this area. There’s nothing like driving by trailheads with no cars! ๐Ÿ™‚ We discovered a hidden beauty.

Mount Tabor

Mount Tabor is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. We didn’t follow a specific hike, but wandered the trails up to the top. Mount Tabor is located at SE 60th and Salmon. The reservoirs in this park were built between 1894 – 1911.


Mount Tabor is an extinct volcano. Portland is one of four cities in the US to have this in their city boundaries. (Yikes!) Linda, Hammy and I made our way up the steep hill and were rewarded with views of Portland.


A passing runner took our photo. It turned out great! ๐Ÿ˜‰imageimage

Vegans only in this bathroom!


No hike would be complete without a silly Hamilton photo opp.image