Tag Archives: Birds

Darlingtonia State Natural Site (Winter 2020)

Directions: Darlingtonia is located on Highway 101, 5 miles north of Florence, Oregon. There is a large sign marking the road to turn on.

This is a very short walk but it’s well worth the stop. Darlingtonia State Natural Site is a place dedicated to the protection of the Darlingtonia plant. It’s a carnivorous pitcher plant sometimes called the cobra lily.

     

From the parking area get on the paved path, go right and head towards the boardwalk. It’s here that you will see all of the Darlingtonia. As you continue on the boardwalk you will pass an informational sign and circle around to the pavement again where you will head back to your car. The plants are very interesting and there are a lot of them in such a small area.

     

This is a great stop if you are a plant lover or need to get out and stretch your legs.

Distance: .25 mile (easy)

Elevation: 0 (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: None

Deschutes River Trail- Middle Trail (Winter 2020)

Directions: Take I-84 east to exit 97 and take a right, and then a left to get on Highway 206E. From here you will see signs for Deschutes River Park, it’s less than a mile away. Go all the way through the park to the very end where you will see the trailhead.

During the winter months the last part of the parking area is closed so just park as far back as you can, walk past the gate and past the bathroom to the trailhead. From here you walk through the grassy field (that’s full of goose poop) and come to a trail junction. We decided to do the middle trail this time, so go left and and then take a right at the signed middle trail.

     

The middle trail rollercoasters through grassy hills and gives you great views of the river below and the surrounding hills. We had our small dog with us and there was a lot of brush on the trail, she plowed through it but some dogs might be bothered by this. We followed the middle trail to where the grass thins out and you come to a rocky corner below, we continued on about another half mile to the natural rock arch. This was our turn around point.

     

We went back on the middle trail a ways to where a side trail takes you down a switchback to the lower trail. It’s an obvious trail that’s well worn. From here we took the lower trail (which is mostly dirt with some sand and boardwalk) bak to the car. There were lots of birds down on the lower trail which was great.

     

Distance: 5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 300 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: None

Rooster Rock (Winter 2019)

Directions: Drive I-84 East to exit 25 and follow the road into Rooster Rock State Park.

After you pass through the pay station go right and head all the way to the end of the parking lot. Pass by the bathrooms and go through the grassy field and take the trail that’s kind of in the middle and goes into the trees, you will quickly pass by a frisbee golf platform. The trail goes on at a fairly level pace through the trees and eventually heads down to the sandy shore.

     

Follow the sandy trail along the river and you’ll see a lot of beaver activity. You will have a good view of the Columbia and the Gorge. Head up the side of the sandy bank and you’ll come to a grassy hill and be close to I-84.  Hike up the hill and you’ll be back in the woods. Follow this trail as it rollercoasters through the trees until you get to an unmarked junction, go right and downhill a bit where you will get back on the trail you came in on. A short distance later you will come out of the woods and be at the grassy field you started on and see the parking lot.

     

Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: 250 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes seasonally

Parking Fee: $5 entrance fee

Seasons: Technically all but it’s a nude beach and may not be best during the warm months.

Popular: No

Warnings: Part of this hike goes through a nude beach so please be aware.

Powell Butte (Winter 2019)

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

Start off on the paved path that takes you to a junction with the Wild Horse Trail. This trail switches to packed dirt and heads uphill somewhat steeply. You will come to the Summit Lane trail which is gravel, go left and follow it around a bit to yellow post 17.

     

     

Follow this trail through the grass and into the wood, this is now the South Trail. It’s more heavily wooded and a lot less popular back here which is nice. It was a foggy day which was really pretty in the trees. Follow the South Trail down to a junction and get on the Hawthorne Trail. You’ll head back uphill and back out of the woods to Summit Lane. Go left and follow the trail around and to the paved Mountain View Trail. This will take you back down to the parking lot.

     

Distance: 3.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: There have a been a few cougar sightings recently.

Mt. Tabor- Blue Trail (Winter 2019)

Directions: The main parking area is located on about 60th and Salmon in Southeast Portland.

The blue trail starts off to the right of the parking lot just past the basketball court. You’ll wind your way down to a bark chip and dirt trail that eventually drops you back at the road. Cross the road and head downhill past the tennis courts and go right heading around the reservoir. There is a long staircase up the side of a grassy hill, head up it and go left. Take the upper dirt trail around the second reservoir.

     

Cross the road and pick up the trail that will take you to a third reservoir, go around it and head up the paved hill and go right onto the road. Take the trail to the right and head uphill to an intersection. Go left on the lower trail as you head uphill somewhat steeply and come to the top circle. Head around it and go down the trail by the bathrooms that ends at the playground by the parking lot.

     

This time around was very foggy, surprisingly not very many people and quite peaceful. This is always a good go-to hike when you don’t have a lot of time or need something close to home.

There are other trails on this hike so you can add distance if you want.

Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 miles (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Memaloose Hills (Autumn 2019)

Directions: Take I-84 to exit 69. Follow Highway 30 east and in 3 miles you will see the Memaloose Overlook sign with a gravel parking lot on the left.

This is a great hike to do in the fall but we were too late for fall colors. Even without the colors this is a great “off season” hike- make sure to come on a clear day so you can see the mountains.

From the parking area cross the road a pick up the trail. You will gradually wind your way uphill on a rocky dirt trail with lots of oak trees around you. Soon the trail levels off for a short distance before you head downhill towards a small stream. After crossing the stream take the trail to the right as you hike through grass and near bushes that run a long a swampy area, off to your left is a field.

     

     

The trail starts heading uphill again in trees before opening up and giving you a view of Chatfield Hill. You will head uphill more steeply now and see lots of dead Balsamroot and get views of Mt. Hood. Once you reach the top you will have a great view of the Gorge, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams. Head back out the way you came in.

     

Distance: 3.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 550 feet (moderate)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most- there are some step sections on Chatfield Hill

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: During spring wildflower bloom

Warnings: Ticks, poison oak and snakes

Three Rocks Beach- Kayak (Autumn 2019)

Directions: The boat ramp is at Knights Park near Lincoln City.

This is a nice paddle to a secluded beach only accessible by kayak or boat.

We started off going left into the Salmon River Estuary. It was low tide so we had to be careful because there was a few spots that were running pretty low. We saw quite a few Great Blue Herons and Cormorants. The estuary pretty much all looks the same so after about a half hour of paddling we turned around to head towards the beach.

     

Back past the dock you will head off towards the ocean. The water is brackish (mix of salt and fresh water). You will be paddling with a beach to your left and some houses and Cascade Head off to your right. The water is fairly clear and we saw quite a few crabs as well as sand dollars and lots of shells at the bottom. There are a ton of seagulls floating in the water and flying all around you, as well as cormorants. Just less than a mile from the boat ramp you’ll start to notice it gets a little harder to paddle as you round a corner and come to the ocean. This is where you will want to get off on the beach and pull your kayak out. Make sure to drag your kayak quite a ways out of the water, the tide can change quickly and you don’t want to lose your kayak.

     

The beach is one of the quietest and cleanest we’ve ever been to. You get fantastic views of Three Rocks right in front of you, The Thumb to your left, and Cascade Head to your right. We were the only people on the beach, the only people we saw were in fishing boats out in the ocean. It was amazing to see no footprints or a single piece of garbage. The beach stretches on and connect to Roads End beach miles off to your left. There was great beach combing as well.

On the paddle back the winds died down and the water was really calm. We saw a couple dozen seals floating in the water, some were swimming around but most were just floating and it was amazing.

     

Distance: 1.5-1.75 miles (round trip just to the beach) can be extended if you do the estuary

Paddle: Easy

Pet Friendly: Sure if your pet likes to be in a kayak

Good For: Most

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: Being so close to the ocean and dealing with tides please be extra cautious.

Larch Mountain- Sherrard Point to Multnomah Falls (Autumn 2019)

Directions: Take I-84 East to the Corbett exit and take a left on the Old Highway. Take a right onto Larch Mountain Road (there is a big sign) and follow it for 14 miles to the trailhead. If you are doing this as a shuttle first drop a car off at the Multnomah Falls parking area (see explanation below)

This hike can be done as an out and back (14+ miles) or shuttle (just over 7 miles), leaving one car at Multnomah Falls and one at the Larch Mountain Trailhead. If you do decide to do this hike as an out and back please be prepared for over  4,000 feet of elevation gain and over 14 miles, it’s a hefty hike. We chose to start at the Larch Mountain Trailhead and hike downhill to Multnomah Falls.

From the Larch Mountain Trailhead the first part of this hike is going up to Sherrard Point. If it’s a clear day make sure not to skip this section, it’s one of the best viewpoints in the Gorge. It’s a short hike on a paved path with some stairs that take you to a fenced viewpoint. You will have views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jefferson. It’s seriously great.

     

Once you’re done at the viewpoint head back down to the trailhead and get on the Larch Mountain trail (behind the bathrom). From here it’s all downhill, you’ll be losing about 4,000 feet total so it’s hard on the legs and easy on the lungs 😆. The first part of the trail is in a forest of skinny trees and ferns. You will enter a more heavily forested area and come to some junctions- all of the trail junctions are marked so make sure you stay on the Larch Mountain trail.

     

Next, you will enter the burn area from the Eagle Creek fire. There are lots of burned trees and downed trees (all off trail) but the trail is still very visible and easy to follow. After getting through the burn you will enter the open shale rockslide area. From here switchback downhill once and cross a footbridge. Beyond this point you will pass some seasonal waterfalls across the creek and come to a large bridge- this was recently replaced after the fire and it looks great.

     

Beyond this point you will pass by Ecola and Wisendanger Falls. This is the point where the trail will probably become more busy and get even worse as you head down to the Multnomah Falls switchbacks. Follow the marked switchbacks (there’s 11) down to Benson Bridge and then down to the parking lot.

     

This trail is well maintained and every junction is marked which is great. It’s a mix of dirt/pine needles, typical rocky Gorge and shale. There are a few log foot bridges and one large wood and metal bridge. We love doing this hike and are so glad it’s back open and looking good after the fire!

Distance: 7.5 miles (moderate)

Elevation: 4,000 feet *loss*

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most- it’s longer and can be hard on your legs

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: Free at Multnomah Falls & NW Forest Pass required at Larch Mountain

Seasons: Late Spring through Fall- check for gate closures

Popular: Yes when you are around Multnomah Falls

Warnings: Part of this hike is in a burn area please read and respect all posted signage.

William L. Finley Wildlife Refuge- Cabell Marsh Trail (Summer 2019)

Directions: Drive I-5 to exit 228, turn right onto OR-34 W and follow it for about 9.5 miles. Turn left onto OR-45 Bypass and just less than a mile later merge onto OR-99W. Follow this road until you see signs for the refuge, where you will turn onto Finley Road. Follow this gravel road a short distance where you will enter the refuge on the left.

Follow the gravel road through the refuge until you see the sign for Cabell Marsh.

From the parking area get on the gravel trail that takes you to the observation deck. Continue on past the deck and down to an access road, go right and follow the trail around to the Marsh. We saw a lot of pelicans, herons, egrets, and kingfishers. Continue on the wide path and come to a side trail on your left- this will take you onto the Homer Campbell Memorial Trail. This is a boardwalk trail with a bird blind.

     

     

Back on the main trail continue on as you pass through open grassy and oak wooded areas. You will soon come to a junction, this is the turnaround for this hike, head back out the way you came in.

     

Distance: 1.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 30 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: No- dogs are not allowed in the refuge.

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: This is a seasonal trail open from April 1- October 31

Popular: No

Warnings: None

Waldo Lake- Kayak (Summer 2019)

Directions: From the town of Oakridge take OR-58 East and follow it for a little over 23 miles where you will see a sign for Waldo Lake. Take a left here and follow this road for 9 miles to the Shadow Bay Campground entrance, follow the signs for the boat ramp.

We chose to put in at the Shadow Bay dock because it was closest to where we were camping. There are multiple places around the (very large) lake that you can put your kayak in. Each area offers something different which is great.

Waldo Lake is one of Oregon’s largest natural lakes and it’s pretty high in elevation (you’re at 5,414 feet).

     

We had pretty windy conditions while we were here and it made the water very choppy. We were bouncing around so much that our poor dog got motion sickness. Luckily the Shadow Bay area has a few islands you can get out and relax on as well as little inlets that were much calmer. The lake is huge and we mostly stuck around the half that was closest to us but that was more than enough to explore. The lake is known for how clear it is and that you can see way down, sadly it was way too windy for us to see really deep. It was definitely very clear when you were out of the wind or along the shore.

The lake is beautiful and massive. If you come all the way out here definitely plan on spending quite a while on the lake- there’s just so much to see.

     

Distance: There’s 10 square miles of water surface

Elevation: —

Pet Friendly: Yes if your dog likes kayaking

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: At the campgrounds

Parking Fee: NW Forest Pass

Seasons: Summer through Fall

Popular: Very

Warnings: Always wear your lifejacket.