Category Archives: Outer Portland

Oxbow Park (Summer)

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

Elevation: 350

Difficulty: Moderate

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

Overall: We won’t be doing this hike again. It’s not maintained and there wasn’t much too look at. Basically it’s not worth the hassle.

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.

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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!

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

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

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–Happy Hiking!

 

Mary S. Young State Park (Spring)

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

Elevation: 300 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All Ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the picnic areas

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: Mary S. Young Park is a great option if you don’t want to drive very far. Like Mt. Tabor or Powell Butte it’s nice to just get out and explore all the different trails.

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

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

Larch Mountain

Painted Hills

Smith Rock

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Waterfalls!:

Tunnel Falls

Fairy Falls

Dry Creek Falls

Pool Of The Winds

Falls Creek Falls

Mist Falls

 

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Spring kayaking:

Columbia River Slough

Sturgeon Lake

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Wapato Greenway (Winter)

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

Elevation: 30 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This is a nice trail for families or anyone wanting a easy walk. But there is nothing exciting about this hike.

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!

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

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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!

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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*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. 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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

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

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Kiyokawa Family Orchards: Fall apple picking!

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 Have fun hiking in the wonderful fall weather!

Molalla River State Park (Summer)

Directions: Take I-205 South to exit 9 (Oregon City/99E). Get on McLoughlin Blvd and then onto 99E South. Follow 99E for about 5.5 miles until you reach Territorial road and take a right. Take another right onto Holly St. which turns into 37th Ave. The park is on the left.

This park has different trails and you can kind of decide how far you’d like to go. We took a trail that followed along the Willamette River and Molalla River.

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From the parking area near the bathrooms walk down towards the boat launch and pick up the trail that will be following along the Willamette for a while. If you look right down the river you can see the Canby Ferry. The trail is gravel and wide and starts next to the off-leash dog area. Soon you’ll come to a large open field and follow this around and along the Molalla River. It’s not the most scenic hike but it’s still nice. You’ll continue following the trail in a loop that joins back to the trail by the dog park.

The trail is flat and well maintained making this a good option for all ages.

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Distance: Varies

Elevation: Depends on where you hike but it’s not much.

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: Nice area, we’re excited to come back with our kayak.

Swan Island Dahlia Festival (2015)

This weekend we checked out the Swan Island Dahlia Festival!

For directions click here.

The Dahlia Festival is great, there is a big field you can walk through and take pictures of all the different types of Dahlias. As well as an indoor area with cut flowers on display. There are also food vendors, music, and a gift shop.

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This weekend was quite rainy and we got there early so it wasn’t very crowded. We were able to take our time walking through the field and got to see all the different types of Dahlias. We lucked out and didn’t get rained on 🙂

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We would definitely recommend this festival for all the flower lovers out there. It’s a nice weekend outing too, for anyone looking for a fun outdoor event. There is no entrance or parking fee which is great. Dogs are allowed outside, but not in any of the indoor areas. The grounds are well kept, making it easily accessible, and there are porta-potties.

Sturgeon Lake (By Kayak) (Summer)

Directions: This hike is located on Sauvie Island. Drive over the Sauvie Island Bridge (stop at the Cracker Barrel Grocery for a day use pass). Continue down the road and stay right onto Reeder Road. Drive for a little over a mile and then take a left onto Oak Island Road. After about 3.5 miles on Oak Island Road the road turns to gravel. Continue on the gravel road and take a right onto an unmarked road that’s just past a pond. If you’ve crossed a cattle guard you’ve gone too far. Follow this road until it ends at the parking area for the lake.

There is a boat launch area but no dock. When the water is low there are rocks to stand on to get into your kayak so you wont have to get wet. Otherwise you might have to get a little wet to push off.

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Sturgeon Lake is pretty big and it has almost no current so it makes paddling really easy. When we first started out there was almost no wind and the lake was super flat and pretty. The lake is surrounded by farms and attached to other areas on the island. A lot of it is private property so be aware of the signs if you want to get out and wander around. A good place to get out would be around the Oak Island hiking area. You also get great views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens.

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The bottom of the lake is very muddy and you sink down pretty quickly, making it not the best place to get out and swim. There is a tide here as well so make sure you’re aware of the depth from time to time so you don’t get stranded. We saw some pretty good size fish jumping a few times and there are lots of birds as well.

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We were dealing with a time crunch so we didn’t get to explore as much of the lake as we would have liked. Overall it’s a nice area with not too many people. Great for anyone interested in birds. There is a small beach near the launch area that offers the only real shade around.

Distance: —

Elevation: —

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: $7 Sauvie Island fee. Make sure to purchase this at the little store that’s right on the main road after crossing the bridge onto the island.

Seasons: April-September

Popular: Can be on weekends and nice days.

Overall: Nice easy place to kayak. Great for wildlife viewing.