Category Archives: Outer Portland

Camassia Natural Area (Spring 2019)

Directions: Drive south from Portland on I-205 to the West Linn Exit # 8 and turn left at the end of the exit ramp. After going under the highway, turn uphill onto Willamette Falls Drive just before the gas station.  (This is the last right turn before coming to the bridge over the Willamette River, so if you find yourself on the bridge, you went too far).  After one block, Willamette Falls Road turns 90 degrees to the left; continue on Willamette Falls Road for .25 mile. Veer right onto Sunset Avenue, which continues uphill, passing over I-205. Take the first right onto Walnut Street, which ends at the preserve entrance and parking area.

It was hard to believe that we hadn’t visited this beautiful area before- it’s amazing!

From the small parking area get on the trail and quickly come to a board with brochures, in it is a map with a self-guided loop. It’s an easy loop that’s very well marked so we will just hit the highlights in this post.


The trail is a mix of boardwalk and wood chips which makes for a nice quiet walk. The boardwalk sections take you through marshy/boggy areas that are very green in the spring. There are a few rocky meadow sections that are covered in camas and rosy plectritis, it’s so pretty but very delicate so please stay on the trail and don’t pick any of the flowers.


It’s a great place to bird watch as well. We saw a number of birds and there is a large Osprey nest on a cell tower.


Later April through early May is the best time to visit if you are hoping to see the flowers but this would be a great place to visit year round.


Distance: 1.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 150 feet (easy

Pet Friendly: No. Dogs are not allowed in this area.

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes during peak bloom time

Warnings: None

Mt. Talbert (Autumn 2018)

Directions: There are multiple parking areas for Mt. Talbert, we chose the main Mather Road Trailhead. To get to this trailhead take I-205 to the Sunnyside Road exit, go East on Sunnyside Road and take a right on 97th. 97th turns into Mather Road and the trailhead is on the right.

There are a lot of intersecting trails on Mt. Talbert but there are posts with a map on each one. For this hike we chose to go about halfway around the Park Loop Trail and then up and over the West Ridge Trail.

From the parking lot head up the dirt and rock trail, you will switchback a couple times and come to an intersection. Go left on the Park Loop Trail and follow it to the next junction where you continue to stay on the Park Loop Trail. At the third intersection go right uphill on the West Ridge Trail. After you get to to the top of the hill stay straight and you’ll head downhill into a more open area with large oak trees and a section of boardwalk.


At your next intersection you’ll be back at the Park Loop Trail, go left here and follow it back a short distance to the trail you came up on from the parking lot.


There isn’t anything special about this hike but it’s a great option if you don’t have much time or you don’t feel like driving very far. We’re pretty lucky to have a lot of urban hiking options in Portland and the surrounding cities!


Distance: 2.25 miles (easy)

Elevation: 300 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Warrior Rock Lighthouse (Winter 2018)

Directions: Take Highway 30 West to Sauvie Island. After crossing the bridge onto the island you should make a quick stop into the convenience store to buy a parking pass. It’s required, and you don’t want to make the 13 mile trip to the trailhead only to turn around for a permit. Continue West on Sauvie Island Road for about two miles and then take a right onto Reeder Road. Follow Reeder Road for 12 miles until you reach the trailhead.

Head through the gate and follow the treelined trail. The trail forks quite a few times, stay right every time. Going left at any fork will take you on ATV tracks and they don’t always meet up with the main trail and you will have to backtrack. You get views of the Columbia the whole way and there is access to the beach for the first half mile or so. On a clear day you will get really nice views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood.


The trail is really wide, evenly graded, and easy to follow. It’s mostly dirt and gravel and can get pretty muddy during the rainy months. You’ll switch from wooded areas to open fields a few times as you make your way down to the lighthouse. Everything pretty much looks the same the whole way and it can get a little boring but it’s still a nice hike.


Once you get close to the lighthouse you’ll see a side trail off to the right that takes you down to the beach. Head this way and take a right on the beach for the lighthouse. There are a few logs to sit on right at the lighthouse which makes for a great place to have lunch or watch the boats on the Columbia River. Head back out the way you came in.


On your way out stop at Collin’s Beach (park at the third entrance) and check out the old UFO boat. Collin’s Beach is clothing optional so be prepared for that. Head down to the beach and go right for about 200 feet. It’s covered in graffiti so you wont miss it!


Distance: 7 miles (moderate)

Elevation: Minimal (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the trailhead

Parking Fee: $10 Sauvie Island pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: Ticks and nettles on the Warrior Rock trail and nudity on Collin’s Beach

Oxbow Park (Summer 2016)

Directions: Take 1-84 to Exit 18 for Oxbow Park. At the stop sign take a left, there are signs for Oxbow Park. At the second stop sign go left and get on the Old Highway and it a little over 4 miles go right at the split onto Hurlbert Road. In another couple miles come to a blinking 4-way intersection and go right onto Gordon Creek Road. Just a short distance later take a right onto a gravel road. It’s not a signed road but you can see a spray painted metal sign that says dead end. Follow this gravel road past a few farm houses to a small parking area and a closed gate.

We decided to check out the much less popular side of Oxbow Park (the North side) and it honestly wasn’t the best experience. You can do this hike as a moderate two mile out and back hike to the Sandy River, which is what we recommend. Or, you can do this as what ended up being a loop through massively overgrown stinging nettles that ends up on Gordon Creek Road. We don’t recommend the loop at all.

From the gate follow the old access road downhill, sometimes steeply, as you wind your way through the trees. After about a half mile you’ll start to hear the Sandy River but wont see it for another quarter mile or so. As you start to reach river level there is a side trail that takes you to a view of the river. When water levels are low you will be able to get down to the river, the water was high so it was just a quick side trip for us. Getting back on the main trail and hiking just a bit farther (roughly a mile from the parking area) you will come to a split in the trail. Head right and out to a nice beach area with lots of rocks. You get nice views of the river and can walk down and around the beach a ways to explore. There were a few people out having picnics and enjoying the sun. There are lots of birds here so if you’re into birding this beach is great for it. We saw a ton of Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Sandpipers. We even saw an Osprey snag a fish. If you walk down the beach and around the curve at the very end there is remnants of an old car that’s kind of neat to look at.

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Really we recommend just ending your hike here, it’s best just as a short hike to a quiet beach to relax. Head back out the way you came in for a two mile total trip.

We decided to keep going on the main trail to see where it went. The trail gets a little more heavily wooded as you head away from the river and slowly gain elevation. Once you’re at the top of the bluff you start heading downhill again and this is where it gets to be not so fun. You drop down into a VERY overgrown trail that’s covered in stinging nettles. Both sides of the trail are full of it and there really isn’t a way to not brush up against it with everything so overgrown. The trail starts to even out and things start getting boggy and gross. We ran into a large and deep muddy area, there was a very bouncy log that moved all over running across part of it. One of us made it across without much damage, the other rolled off the log and became a muddy mess.

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As you keep going there isn’t much going on, you can’t see the river, it’s mostly large trees and tall grass with nettles lining the trail. In some areas the trail is completely washed out. You still know where you’re going but it’s not really a trail. There are a couple of runoff areas that probably get interesting in the wet months. After about a mile and a half of this the trail starts heading uphill again as you get closer to the road above and you suddenly come to a sign with a shoe brush at the base. From here it’s just a few more steps and you’re dumped out on the side of Gordon Creek Road. Take a left and head a bit steeply up the road for about a mile until you reach the gravel road that takes you back to the parking area.

We don’t recommend doing the loop. The trail is very overgrown and not in good shape, plus it’s not very scenic at all. The last bit on the road is dangerous because there isn’t much of a shoulder to walk on, so please be careful!

Distance: 2 or 4 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: No. Dogs are not allowed at Oxbow Park.

Good For: All ages if you are just going to the beach. Adventurous adults only for the loop.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: Overgrown nettles on the loop portion of this trail.

Summer Hikes

Looking for a nice summer hike? Here’s a list of some of our favorites 🙂

If you’re looking to stay in Portland and the surrounding cities check out Oak Island, Mt. Talbert, or Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. They are all easy hikes that have decent shade and lots of birds.


We love hitting up all the great trails that the Mt. Hood area has to offer during the summer months. Tamanawas Falls and Umbrella Falls are great options if you are looking for a waterfall hike. For a lake hike check out Mirror Lake (and Tom, Dick, and Harry Ridge!), and Lower Twin Lake. Zigzag Canyon is also a really fun hike, go in mid to late June while the lupine is blooming!


Some great summer Gorge hikes are Upper and Lower Latourell Falls, Gillette Lake, and Strawberry Island.


Summer time is full of Kayaking as well, be sure to check out Scappoose Bay and Lost Lake!


–Happy Hiking!


Mary S. Young State Park (Spring 2016)

Directions: Take I-205 South to exit 8 (West Linn) and follow Willamette Drive until you see the entrance for Mary S. Young Park on your right. Follow the road all the way through the park to the main parking area in the back.

At this parking area there is a map of the park (take a picture with your phone so you don’t forget!), you can also view the map here. We decided to just take a few of the trails and explore the park. We ended up seeing parts of the Trillium, Turkey Creek, Riverside and Heron trails. We were trying to get out to Cedar Island but the bridge wasn’t open yet (even though it was supposed to open in spring).

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All of the trails are well maintained and can become busy on nice days. They are a mix of pavement, packed dirt, and wood chips. There are lots of great birding areas and multiple creeks that run through the park. You also have good views of the Willamette River. There are a few off-leash dog areas as well.

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Distance: 1-5+ miles (easy)

Elevation: 300 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All Ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the picnic areas

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Spring Hikes

Hope everyone is enjoying the new season! Here are some of our favorite spring-time hikes 🙂


If you’re looking for flowers:

Pittock Mansion

Rowena Crest & Tom McCall Nature Preserve

Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Field)

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival


Hikes that open in spring or that should be done before it gets too hot:

Larch Mountain

Painted Hills

Smith Rock



Tunnel Falls

Fairy Falls

Dry Creek Falls

Pool Of The Winds

Falls Creek Falls

Mist Falls



Spring kayaking:

Columbia River Slough

Sturgeon Lake




Wapato Greenway (Winter 2016)

Directions: Take Highway 30 West to Sauvie Island. After crossing the bridge follow Sauvie Island Road (make sure to stay on Sauvie Island Road at the fork) to the Wapato Access Trailhead on the left.

From the parking area, cross through the gate and follow the wide flat trail for a short distance until you reach a picnic area. From here go right and follow the trail along Virginia Lake. The lake will be on your left and some farms will be on your right. As you continue on and go past the lake you’ll round a corner and cross a small footbridge.

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From here the trail continues on through trees and you’ll soon get glimpses of the Multnomah Channel on your right. A short distance later the trail splits. Go left, crossing a bridge that takes you to a bird blind with views of a pond. Continue on the trail for a short distance and take the short side trail to the left that takes you to a viewing platform for Virginia Lake. When you’re ready to leave, head back to the main trail that takes you to the picnic area again, completing the loop.

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Distance: 2 miles (easy)

Elevation: 30 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Best Of 2015!

Here is our list of the top hikes we did in 2015!

Columbia River Gorge (Oregon side): *Tunnel Falls* We love the Eagle Creek Trail and this year we finally made it all the way out to Tunnel Falls. We definitely weren’t disappointed!


Columbia River Gorge (Washington side): *Strawberry Island* This was a nice secluded hike that had amazing views of the Gorge and lots of birds.


Mt. Hood: *Zigzag Canyon* This hike is absolutely beautiful. You get amazing views of Mt. Hood all throughout the hike. We did this hike in late June and the Lupine were in full bloom!


Oregon Coast: *Bayocean Spit* Who doesn’t love a hike that’s right on the beach?


Washington Coast: *North Head Lighthouse* You can actually go up in this lighthouse. The views are great!


Portland Metro/Outer Portland: *Oak Island* This is one of our favorite hikes on Sauvie Island, the place is covered with cows!


Washington: *Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Fields)* Go here in the spring when the lilies are blooming, it’s very pretty!


Willamette Valley: *Abiqua Falls* This waterfall is becoming more and more popular and we definitely understand why. It’s not the easiest waterfall to reach, but it’s definitely worth the scramble.


Central Oregon: *Smith Rock* We absolutely love this place. There is so much to see you almost need more than one day.


Kayaking: *Scappoose Bay* This was the first place we took our new kayak. There’s lots of places to explore here.


*Overall best hike of 2015*

Painted Hills!

Hands-down the most interesting place we’ve ever been to. The colors are beautiful and the views up at Carroll Rim are amazing! We HIGHLY recommend this hike!

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Honorable Mentions: *Lower Twin Lake, Youngs River Falls, Lost Lake (hike and kayak), Tom McCall Nature Preserve (go in the spring!), and The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.*

We’d love to hear what some of your favorite hikes of 2015 were!

Wishing everyone happy hiking in 2106!

Fall Hikes

Happy Fall!

Fall is our favorite season to hike. The weather is great (rain included), the colors are beautiful, and there are no mosquitoes!

We made a list of some of our favorite fall hikes. If you click on the links they will take you to the post and give you more detail and directions.

Hoyt Arboretum: This hike is all about the fall colors! With all the different trees you definitely get quite the show. 


Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden: This is a great option for families. Lots of ducks that will entertain kids and nice well maintained trails. It’s also free during the off season which is Labor Day through February!


Milo McIver State Park: All the different trail options on this hike are nice because you can get back to your car relatively quickly if it starts raining too hard.


Angels Rest: We love hiking up to Angels Rest in the Fall. It’s a fairly steep hike so the cooler weather makes in a little easier. It’s also much less crowded!


Rooster Rock Loop: Another great option for fall colors. Plus with gloomier weather we were able to see a Pygmy Owl!


Beacon Rock: We have been to Beacon Rock many times but last year we decided to try it out on a foggy day. It was actually pretty fun! The fog gave the trail a slightly spooky vibe and there were barely any people.


Silver Falls State Park: Fall colors are the only thing that can make a trail with 10 waterfalls even better!


Pup Creek Falls: This hike should be done in mild weather.


Kiyokawa Family Orchards: Fall apple picking!


 Have fun hiking in the wonderful fall weather!