WHY IT’S GREAT It may rise from the prehistoric Boring Lava Field, but there’s nothing dull about Mount Talbert, a 745-foot extinct volcanic cinder cone. The largest remaining undeveloped butte in northern Clackamas County is covered with 200 acres of second-growth firs, Oregon white oaks, and pocket-size meadows. Accessible from four trailheads, the Metro-run refuge is a handy option for Southeast residents craving a shot of nature during a fleeting winter dry spell. Jolt your quads with a run up the sharply rising Summit Trail, or amble along the Park Loop Trail in search of surprisingly varied wildlife. The forest canopy shelters white-breasted nuthatches and downy woodpeckers. Closer to eye level, white-barked birch trees sport scars from black-tailed deer antlers, and unusual (and nonvenomous) rubber boas slither among the fallen leaves. Come spring, colorful songbirds like western tanagers join the mix, often greeted by blooms of camas, trilliums, and rare pink-leafed meadow checkers.
DON’T FORGET To protect fragile habitat, dogs and bikes are not allowed on trails.
POST-HIKE WATERING HOLE Tony’s Smokehouse and Cannery Steam wafting up from the patio of this ’50s-era seafood smokehouse signals an old-school crab boil. Inside, step up to the deli counter and order bottled beer and smoky clam chowder. 1316 Washington St, Oregon City; 503-656-7512; tonyssmokehouse.com
DIRECTIONS Take the Sunnybrook Blvd exit off of I-205. Go east on Sunnybrook and turn right on 97th Ave, which becomes Mather Road. Look for the trailhead on your left. No fees or permits required.