This urban hike had it all: a beach, a nature preserve, a quirky amusement park, old Portland neighborhoods and views of the city. This was Walk #15 from the Portland Hill Walks book: Sellwood Riverfront to Johnson Creek Loop. From the Sellwood Riverfront Park the walk starts on the beach of the Willamette River with views of the city.
After the beach we walked up through Oaks Amusement Park which opened in 1905; one of the 10 oldest amusement parks in the US. It used to be accessible only by boat and street car. The old carousel was built in 1912.
After the amusement park the walk continues across the street to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
We actually got turned around during this portion and ended up going a mile or so off route, but it was nice to get to see more of Oaks Bottom. Once out of the park we back tracked down Milwaukie Ave to continue the walk.
Sellwood Blvd had views of the city and a cute little swing. 🙂 After zig-zagging through the neighborhood we came to Share-it square on 9th and Sherrett. Every corner had something to share including a 24 hour tea station.
The end of the walk swings by the Oaks Pioneer church from 1851. It’s the oldest church of continuous use in Oregon.
By the time we got back to the parking lot it was packed, so I’m glad we got an early start. This walk was 3.75 miles total, but we probably did 4.5 with our “detour.”
I’m afraid I may have underestimated this hike. Although my book Curios Gorge described this as “nothing less than grueling,” I was still surprised to find this hike so difficult. It definitely falls into the scramble category and even pure rock climbing at some points of it. For example, exhibit A:
You may say “What a lovely rock wall.” But this is actually part of the trail; one of many rock walls you must climb over. (But oh how fun!) But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.
Directions: From I-84 east take exit 40 and turn right to park at the Wahclella Falls lot. Walk back up the way you came and turn left to go over a paved bridge. Gorge Trail 400 is on your left past the bridge. This trail mirrors I-84 for about a mile until you find a random trail on your left that goes straight up. You can expect this steepness the rest of the way! Once on this trail there are a few options, but each side trail will eventually get you to the top so don’t fret too much. This hike is 1.8 miles each way and took us about 4 hours.
The Gorge Trail 400 is your typical grassy, flowery gorge trail which is pretty in its own way but you can see and hear the freeway for the whole mile.
Once we ventured off on the unmarked side trail I didn’t take any pictures so I could focus on my footing and breathing; it was VERY hard! Eventually we came to our first viewpoint but we weren’t even close to the top.
Right before you do get to the top with the views of munra point, you have to climb up this chimney-like rock wall. Today this part was the most bottlenecked since you have to go one at a time and this hike was actually very crowded.
But all that hard work was absolutely worth it for these views.
This would not be a good hike for dogs, kids or people afraid of heights. I would say it was harder than Dog Mountain, which was always one of the hardest gorge hikes in my mind. I also would not do this one on a hot day.
Today we did a quick urban hike from Laura Foster’s Portland Hill Walks book: Walk #13- Multnomah Village to Vermont Hills Loop. This is one of the shorter jaunts in her book, only 1.5 hours. The hike meanders through Gabriel Park, Multnomah village and the surrounding neighborhoods. In the 1880’s this area was all dairy farms, and was named Multnomah after the Multnomah Train Station built in 1907. (It’s no longer there) The first thing I noticed on this walk was all of the mini libraries, they were adorable!
One of the ones outside someone’s house even had a little bench
A few blocks up from Capitol Hwy is the Multnomah Arts Center, which used to be Multnomah School. The school was built in 1913, and closed in 1979. When it first opened teachers would take the train from Portland and walk through the woods to get there.
After the school the walk goes up the hill through neighborhoods with great views!
The Vermont Hills Hydropark was the most surprising part of this walk. It felt very tucked away, quiet and peaceful. The water bureau placed the water tanks in this park on peaks, so gravity moves the water rather than pumps.
The last part of this walk goes through pretty Gabriel Park- 95 acres donated to the city in the 1950s.
To Native Americans Wind Mountain is a sacred site that was used for spirit quests. I feel lucky to have gotten to experience this beautiful mountain. This hike is 3 miles round trip with 360 degree views at the summit.
Directions: From Cascade Locks, take the bridge of the gods to Washington. Turn Right on Hwy 14 and drive for 8 miles. Turn left on Wind mountain road, go a mile up and turn right on Girl scout road. Park in the gravel area there (no fee). You have to walk down the gravel road to get to the trail head, but there are cute signs marking the way.
The trail begins winding through the woods.
There are a few rocky parts to pass.
After 0.5 miles you can take a steep side trip to this lovely cliff with slightly freaky drop offs. But it’s so worth it! The rock is wide enough that I felt fine exploring, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re fearful of heights.
The rest of the climb gets greener and woodsier, very serene.
This was the first view point near the summit.
The top of the mountain has rock walls that were created by Native Americans on their spirit quests. I could not find a lot of information about these online, but one source mentioned they were built between 200 – 1,000 years ago.
This hike will most definitely go on my list of recommendations. Check it out! 🙂
Iwetemlaykin is Nez Perce for “at the edge of the lake.” The 62 acres of sacred land, located in between the city of Joseph and Wallowa Lake was purchased by many different state, federal, and tribal agencies in 2007 after decades of work. There is only a mile or so of paths, but it is beautiful.
Right next to Iwetemlaykin is the grave-site for Old Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe. (Photo by David Lincoln Mann)
From the path you can continue your walk to Wallowa Lake.
I probably shouted “Wow!” About 100 times on this hike. We did 6.5 miles out-and-back which was surprisingly doable as it wasn’t too steep. You can make this a 12 mile round trip to see Echo Lake, or 6.5 mile round trip to reach the Slick Rock Canyon. This trail is located 8 miles outside of Enterprise Oregon. (NW Forest pass required) We bought trail maps at the Wallowa Whitman office of the US forest service in Joseph, and they told us we’d run into snow a few miles on the trail but we never did. Hurricane creek was named by early explorers because they thought it looked like a hurricane knocked down all of the trees, but it was actually due to an avalanche. Early on in the hike there is a stream crossing.
Hamilton led the way up the hill
My favorite part was this meadow with a view of Sacajawea Peak; the highest mountain in Eastern Oregon.
This is Slick Rock Canyon- the turnaround point for us.
The trail back to the car. 🙂
I would love to take this trail up to Echo Lake someday. There is also a side trail called Falls Creek Falls that will take you up to Legore Lake- the highest elevated lake in Oregon. (4.1 miles round trip, but very steep I hear)
Every hike in the gorge is always my new “favorite” but this one will most likely stay that way for a few reasons: The breathtaking views that insight maniacal laughter, 4 different waterfalls I’d never heard of, and interesting history to ponder.
-The hike begins at Starvation Creek Falls- Exit #55 off of I-84 East. (no fees)
(2.5 mile loop)
First we walked up the paved path to the picnic area and Starvation Creek Falls
The actual hike takes you west on the paved path next to the freeway. The starvation Creek trail is a ways up on the left. Be prepared for a STEEP climb. (We took a lot of breaks)
After the sweet little meadow, we came to the view! Jumping photos were a must.
Once we gathered our wits, we followed the trail down through more wildflower meadows.
At the junction for the Mt. Defiance trail we went left 100 yards to see Lancaster Falls.
Heading back to the trail:
The end of the Starvation Ridge Trail takes you to Tunnel Falls
To the left of Tunnel Falls we scrambled up the dry channel to see what used to be Tunnel Falls. Apparently, back when the Historic Columbia Hwy was still in use, engineers somehow diverted the falls to the current location so the water didn’t splash and freeze on the road. That was one of the most amazing parts of this hike; standing at the base of where the falls used to be. I half expected to see water come plunging over the top.
The last part of this loop is walking on the paved path along the highway back to the car. But it isn’t boring for too long because Cabin Creek Falls sneaks up on you.
There is a steep climb right up to the falls for a birds eye view.
I could not have been more happy about this hike.