Category Archives: Nettles

Powell Butte (Summer)

Directions: This hike starts at the Visitor Center, just off of 162nd and Powell in Southeast Portland.

From the parking area at the Visitor Center (just past the piano that’s free for the public to play!) get on the paved Mountain View Trail. You’ll follow this a short distance until you come to a gravel section in the trail, go right here and get onto Pipeline Lane. You’ll backtrack a bit and get a nice view of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens as you follow the thick gravel trail towards the north.

      

The trail gradually heads uphill and skirts along the tree line. Off to your left you can see the gated entrance to the underground reservoir. Soon you’ll come to an intersection in the trail, go right and get onto Holgate Lane where you enter the woods. Follow this dirt and rock trail through the woods at a fairly level grade. There is a giant metal pipe that lines most of this trail and does have leaky spots so year round there are muddy sections of the trail. Soon you’ll reach the Elderberry Stairs on your left, head up these somewhat steep steps that wind up the side of the hill.

      

Continue following the trail until you come to another junction. Go left here and get back on Pipeline Lane, you’ll follow this trail back out the way you came in with a view of Mt. Hood almost the whole way back.

      

Powell Butte is great for an after work hike or quick weekend outing. It does stay pretty busy year round no matter if it’s a weekday or weekend.

Make sure to pack your binoculars if you’re into wildlife viewing. There are lots of different birds, butterflies,and even deer.

 

Distance: 2 miles (easy)

Elevation: 180 (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: There are nettles along the trail in the woodsy areas.

The Thumb (Summer)

Directions: Depending on where you’re coming from head to Lincoln City. Once in Lincoln City go to the very North end of town and turn onto Logan Road. Pass the Safeway and follow the road to the very end. The road ends at two gates, turn around and park in the small gravel turnout.

From the gravel turnout head up the road until you come to the two gates. Head towards the left gate, you can get past the gate on its right side. Follow the trail uphill and you will soon come to a split in the trail. There is a small hiking sign pointing you to the right. From here the trail heads uphill pretty steeply.

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Once at the top of this first steep section the trail splits again. To your left is a washed out trail so stay right and keep heading uphill. Stay on the main trail as you keep going uphill, there will be a couple side trails but don’t take them. Eventually the trail starts to level out as you head into an area that’s thick with salal. It’s pretty overgrown in places and the trail gets really narrow because of it. You will pass a good viewpoint of the ocean as you continue on.

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The trail then starts heading downhill as you come out to the grassy field and get your first good look at The Thumb! Follow the trail through the grass as you reach the base of The Thumb. From here it gets a little hard, the trail heads up very steeply. It’s a short distance but it’s so steep it’s hard to stand up straight. Once at the top you have amazing views of the ocean and Lincoln City below. There isn’t much room at the top so if there are people up there you may want to wait until they come down before you start up. This is an out and back trail so when you are done head back out the way you came in.

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During the wet months this whole trail is very muddy and slick. We have had a stretch of really hot weather and there was still muddy parts in the wooded areas. There are a lot of runoff and washed out areas in the trail as well. So the weather may be something to consider before hiking this trail.

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View of The Thumb from down on Roads End beach.

Distance: 2.5 miles

Elevation: Not 100% sure on the elevation but it’s pretty steep in multiple places.

Difficulty: Moderate to The Thumb, hard going up The Thumb.

Pet Friendly: Yes but there are drop offs that could be dangerous for dogs.

Good For: Sure footed hikers. May not be best for younger kids and older folks.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All but best in summer.

Popular: No

Overall: This was a great hike, definitely something different which was nice!

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.

Lacamas Creek Trailhead (Woodburn Falls and Camas Lily Field) (Spring)

Directions: Take Highway 14 east and take the Camas exit. Go straight on 6th Ave and turn right onto Adams Ave. Take a left onto 3rd Ave and drive past the Safeway. You’ll be taking a left onto a almost hidden road that drops down to Lacamas Creek where there is a parking area. If you cross Lacamas Creek on 3rd you’ve gone too far.

This is a hike full of junctions (marked and unmarked), side trails, and access roads. So this will be quite the “wordy” post, but it’s not as confusing while you’re hiking as it may seem reading it 🙂

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From the trailhead follow the trail for a little over a half mile until you reach the bridge over Lacamas Creek and Lower Falls. After crossing the bridge take a left and follow the trail uphill a short distance until it pretty much levels out and follows the creek upstream. There are a few side trails that will allow you to get a better look at the creek along this area. Soon you will come to a pool where Woodburn Creek and Lacamas Creek meet. Continue on now following Woodburn Creek and cross a small bridge. Head uphill and  you will come to a trail junction. Go straight, the trail is more steep in this section, and a short time later the trail ends at an old access road. Take a right at the access road and follow it uphill for a short distance until you come to an unmarked but obvious trail on the right. Follow this trail through the woods and eventually downhill to an unmarked intersection. Go right, downhill, and soon you will reach Woodburn Falls. Something to keep in mind is that this waterfall is seasonal and dries up June through October.

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From Woodburn Falls head back out to the access road. Go down the access road and back to the side trail that takes you back down to the junction near Woodburn Creek. Take a right here and head uphill a short distance until you come to an open area with a view of “The Potholes,” it’s a waterfall that gets it’s name from the big holes in all the rocks. Continue along the trail until you come to another junction. Take a right and pass by Round Lake. There is a trail around the lake if you’re up for a nice side trip. Continue past the lake and get on the signed Lily Trail. Head up a few switchbacks until you reach the Lily Field. There is a nice loop here which we highly recommend if you’re doing this hike while they are in bloom.

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After finishing the loop head left and you’ll come to a fork in the trail. Stay left and then take the side trail on the right marked for Woodburn Falls. Head downhill until you come to an intersection, this is the intersection from earlier by Woodburn Falls. Go right and head back to the access road. Go left and downhill a short distance until you get back to the side trail on the left that takes you downhill and to the intersection back at Woodburn Creek. Go straight and head back the way you came to your car.

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Distance: 4.5 miles

Elevation: 300 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: There is a portable bathroom at the trailhead.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes on nice weekends

Overall: Great park with lots to see and do. Also a great birdwatching place.

Tryon Creek State Park (Spring)

Directions: Take I-5 south to exit 297 (Terwilliger). Head south on Terwilliger following the signs for the park (roughly 2.5 miles).

This park has a mixture of hiking, biking and horse trails. There are 8 miles of well marked and maintained hiking trails, numerous bridges and lots of nature to take in. There is a nature center where you can get an easy to follow (free) map of all the trails. We’ll describe the 2.5 mile route we took but it’s definitely easy to grab a map and just head out whichever way sounds best to you.

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We started at the main parking area and took the Maple Ridge Trail to Middle Creek Trail and that takes you to High Bridge. From High Bridge stay on Middle Creek Trail and cross Beaver Bridge. Stay on Middle Creek after crossing the bridge until you come to Red Fox Trail, take this trail and cross Red Fox Bridge. After crossing the bridge stay on Red Fox until you reach South Creek Trail. Take South Creek Trail to Iron Mountain Bridge. Then, take Iron Mountain Trail to where it intersects with the paved bike path. Follow the bike path back the parking area.

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This is a great hike for bird lovers, kids and anyone that’s looking for some easy trails not too far away from the city. The trails are well maintained and wind through a beautiful forest, and along quiet Tryon Creek. There is a Trillium Festival April 11th and 12th with guided tours. For more on the festival and to see a map of the park, click here.

 

Distance: 1-6 miles

Elevation: 325 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Can be on nice days

Overall: There may be no “big attraction” but this is a great park to enjoy the quiet of nature.

Collin’s Beach UFO Boat (Sauvie Island)

We kept hearing about this mysterious UFO boat that sits on Sauvie Island and finally decided to go check it out. It’s really close to the Warrior Rock Trailhead and made for a fun addition to the easy 7 mile hike. We also got to see Warrior Rock in a different season, the hike is much prettier in fall! To read about Warrior Rock Lighthouse and get directions, our previous post is here.

Collins Beach is on the gravel road right before the Warrior Rock Lighthouse trailhead. There are 6 entrances to the beach and you will need to park at entrance three. Take the short trail to the beach and turn right walking on the beach for about 200 feet. The boat is now covered in graffiti and not hard to miss.

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I did some digging around and found some more information about the UFO boat. Turns out it was made by a local man back in the 70’s for his family. Here is a Youtube video of a local reporter interviewing the daughter.

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If you want to continue on to the lighthouse you can head back to your car and drive the short distance to the trailhead. Or, just turn around and start the hike from Collins Beach (which would only add a half mile or so.)

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There is a $7 parking fee for all of Sauvie Island. There are two or three little stores that sell them along the way to the trailhead. Also, Collins Beach is a nude beach, we did this hike on a late October weekend and only saw a few nude people. So, if nudity bothers you, this may not be the best outing for you or your family.

Warrior Rock Lighthouse (Spring)

Directions: Take Highway 30 West to Suavie 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.

Getting on to the trail is a bit confusing. You’ll ask yourself, “Do I walk through the gate onto someone’s property where cows are roaming free, or do I walk on the beach along the river?” We chose to walk along the beach. Which went well and was almost pleasant for the first .5 mile or so, until the beach disappears under the Columbia River, out of nowhere, and you’re forced up the bank to walk through bushed and find the trail.

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The actual trail is basically a flat ATV trail lined with 7-foot tall grass and trees. Views of the river are few and far between. However, there are plenty of mosquitos and nettles (seriously like 60% of the plants in some places). After about three miles you enter into a weird marshy, meadow thing, that dumps you back out onto the beach by the lighthouse. There are options to eat lunch on the sand or on grassy, rocky areas. The view here isn’t half bad, but doesn’t entirely make up for the walk there.

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*Update* We revisited this hike and found it a lot more pleasant. Check out our new post here.

Distance: 7 miles

Elevation: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes a portable toilet

Parking Fee: $7 Sauvie Island fee

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: Not the most exciting hike we’ve ever done.