What’s to Love: Don’t know exactly what it is about Sauvie Island, but every time I go, I feel like I’m on vacation. I think it has something to due with the fact that when I’m there, I actually feel like I’m getting away from some of the inevitable craziness of living in a big city. Windy country roads, farms, bike riders, pleasant hikes, beach, etc. – it all feels like a dream some days. Some of my favorite stops are on the island and the Wapato Access Greenway (State Park system) is a worthy diversion from the more common destinations.
A quick .2 mile hike in on an access road leads to the Wapato Access Loop Trail (around 2.5 miles total), a covered picnic area, and a spacious and inviting observation deck for viewing birds and wildlife. We saw four Great Blue Herons while we were there! If you approach the deck quietly, it’s likely you’ll see something.
Caveats: Small parking area – I wouldn’t leave any valuables in the car.
Website: This hiking blog has a nice outline/map of the hike with pictures.
Distance from Portland: Within 15 miles of downtown Portland.
Recommended Ages: Excellent family hike! Due to the distance and terrain, almost anyone could do this hike.
Parental Stress Factor: Very low stress area/activity! The only stress you might feel is when you’re trying to keep your kids semi-quiet for the birdwatchers.
Physical Difficulty: Not handicap accessible. However, the trail itself is rated easy for most hikers including kids.
Family Fun Factor: Depends. How fun does hiking, birdwatching, and/or a picnic sound?
Pet Friendly: Dogs on leashes only.
Weather Considerations: Good in all types of weather. I believe this area stays open year round.
For younger hikers and early walkers, you’ll probably want to bring a jogging stroller or backpack-carrier. Don’t forget to bring snacks or a picnic in good weather. There is a lovely picnic area right after the .2 mile walk-in.
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Orchard Park - Hillsboro on May 15th, 2012
Interview: Portland Rock Gym's Anna Rymill on February 7th, 2013
Curious Comedy Theater on June 15th, 2011