Tag Archives: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (Autumn)

The parking area at Oaks Bottom is notorious for break-in’s and we had a problem with a man basically telling us he was going to break into our car as soon as we left, we even saw the slim jim in his backpack 🙄. We wont be parking in this main parking lot ever again, it’s too bad because this behavior may make it to where people don’t visit Oaks Bottom. We hope you still visit and we would recommend parking at Oaks Bottom Park.

Directions: From the intersection of SE 17th and Powell, head south on 17th. Cross Holgate and McLoughlin, and head into Sellwood. Turn right on SE Bybee. Bybee turns into SE 13th, follow 13th. Turn right onto Sellwood which veers into SE 7th. You’ll see the parking area for Oaks Bottom Park.

From the parking area get on the trail that heads downhill. Once at the end of this hill go right and go to a split in the trail. This hike can be done as a loop, going left here will get you on the Springwater Trail first, going right has you entering the refuge first. Either way you choose loops around and ends back at this junction. Fair warning…on the weekend there is a large train that runs right along the Springwater Trail and it is VERY loud. Because we were here during the time the train runs we decided to make this an out-and-back hike. We went right at the junction and entered into the refuge. You’ll immediately be following along a marshy area where there are a lot of water birds. We saw mallards, pintails, coots, and geese.

      

The trail switches from packed dirt and rocks to boardwalk as you follow along. There is a viewing platform out to the marsh and Oaks Park, we saw a few great blue herons and an eagle here. As we continued hiking we saw a brown creeper, bushtits, crows, scrub jays, a hummingbird, and golden-crowned sparrows.

      

The trail is very easy to follow and you will pass by the Portland Memorial Mausoleum, it has large paintings on it. Eventually you’ll come to a junction, you can turn around here or continue left and visit the tadpole pond.

      

This is a great hike for wildlife viewing and would be great for kids as well. The trail is very easy and there is a lot to look at along the way.

Distance: 2.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 150 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: Break-ins at the main parking area.

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!

 

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (Winter)

Directions: From SE 17th and Holgate: Go South on SE 17th Avenue. Just past the signal at McLaughlin Blvd turn right onto SE Mitchell. Go uphill and veer left, you can see the parking lot across the street when you stop at Milwaukie Ave. Turn right and take an immediate left into the parking lot.

From the parking area take the paved path downhill for a short distance until you come to a fork in the trail. Go left where the trail turns to dirt and you’ll soon cross a footbridge. From here you wind through the thick trees with the Portland Memorial Mausoleum on your left and pond/marsh areas to your right. The trail is mostly flat with just a few small hills.

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After about a half mile the trail will turn to boardwalk as you pass through an area where the pond reaches the trail. There is a viewing platform built into the boardwalk that looks out at an opening where you will see just how big the ponds are. You will also be able to see the train tracks and Oaks Park in the distance.

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As you start to make your way out of the woods the trail returns to packed dirt. You will soon come to an open area as you follow the trail under the train tracks and get onto the Springwater Trail. Take a right on the Springwater Trail and pass along the ponds and marsh area. You will get a great view of the mural that’s painted on the Portland Memorial Mausoleum.

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The trail starts to head downhill after a while and you’ll come to an intersection. Take a right here and again head under the tracks. The trail stays paved as you wind your way back to the intersection from the beginning of the hike. Go left here and head back uphill to the parking area.

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This whole hike is great for viewing wildlife. You can see a lot of different birds, especially water birds. You also have a chance to see beavers and nutria. While you’re on the Springwater Trail make sure you keep an eye out for bald eagles, we’ve seen a few in the past.

Distance: 2.5 miles

Elevation: 115 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Porta-potty at parking area.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes on nice weekends. Springwater Trail is busy year round.

Overall: Nice option if you want to get outdoors in the city.