Hilltop Walking Tour

Mount Angel Abbey hilltop walking tour

  1. The Romanesque-style Abbey church is the center of life on the Hilltop. You are welcome to gather with the monks for prayer or just enjoy the art, architecture and silence. Monks gather at night around the statue of Mary, holding the child Jesus, near the front of the church, to sing traditional Marian hymns. The statue was carved in Austria in a 16th-century style and given to the Abbey in the 1930s. Other statues in the church include the sixth-century Saint Benedict and his twin sister Saint Scholastica. The Martin Ott Pipe Organ in the choir loft features 2,478 pipes. The choir stalls, front corridors and sanctuary are restricted to the monks.
  2. Monks live in the Monastery, the largest building on the Hilltop, located behind the church. Life for the monks is a gentle and regular rhythm of prayer and work.
  3. The Bell Tower houses eight cast-bronze bells that call the monks to prayer. Each bell is named after a saint, and the largest weighs more than four tons. They are the largest free-swinging bells on the West Coast.
  4. The Guardian Angel statue survived a catastrophic 1926 fire at the Abbey, and has welcomed guests for more than a century.
  5. The Abbey Museum is located on the lower level of the monastery. Founded in 1888, this natural history museum was originally created as a study aid for the biology department in the (now closed) Abbey high school. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 9 am – 5 pm. Closed on Mondays.
  6. Saint Benedict Guesthouse & Retreat Center welcomes people of all faiths to spend time in prayer and quiet reflection. To learn more, call 503.845.3025 or email.  (The Guesthouse will be closed through May 2019 while construction and renovation work is ongoing.)
  7. Benedictine Brewery and St. Michael’s Taproom is located at 400 Humpert Lane NE, just around the corner from Abbey Drive. The monks’ craft beer is also available by the case in the Abbey bookstore (#11).
  8. Annunciation houses classrooms and offices for Mount Angel Seminary. Mosaic icons, including a large mosaic depicting the Annunciation that graces the entrance, were designed by Brother Claude Lane, an Abbey monk. (Not open to the public.)
  9. The Damian Center is home to the annual Abbey Bach Festival and other cultural events, and also hosts seminary classes and student athletic activities. (Not open to the public.)
  10. The Monks’ Cemetery includes the oldest building at the Abbey, a small chapel – the first on the Hilltop – built in 1883.
  11. The Abbey Bookstore and Coffeehouse, often referred to as The Press, is located in the Press Building, which is also home to the Saint Benedict Post Office, and the business and development offices. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with espresso available until 3 p.m.
  12. The Fort is not open to the public. It was built in 1904 from rocks quarried on the Hilltop and has had various uses over the years, including studios for art, pottery and candle making.
  13. Anselm Hall provides classrooms and housing for students of Mount Angel Seminary, the oldest Catholic seminary in the western United States. (Not open to the public.)
  14. Mount Angel Abbey Library, designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aälto, houses one of the most significant theological libraries in the Pacific Northwest.
  15. Aquinas Hall houses theology students studying to be Catholic priests. Enjoy the beauty of the majestic Cedar of Lebanon tree to the left of the entrance. (Not open to the public.)
  16. The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue offers refuge in front of the monastery. On clear days, look to the northeast for stunning views of Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon (11,234 feet). In the distance are Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, all in Washington state.

Hilltop Walking Tour 1

Fourteen Stations of the Cross line the entrance road, each recalling the suffering and death of Jesus. The statuary is from Munich, Germany, and dates to 1889. Pilgrims often walk this path in prayer, and visit the Grotto of Mary at the top of the hill.

Parking

Parking is available below the Saint Benedict Guesthouse and Retreat Center on the south side, and in front of the Press Building on the north side of the Hilltop. Handicapped parking is available on the south side of Damian Center. Visitors parking by the guesthouse can access the mall through the guesthouse elevator or climb the stairs located near the guesthouse and Annunciation Hall.