Monday, May 6, 2013

Oxbow Park

Another post from the past......still trying to catch up from mid April!  (Bear with me)

Size matters!  Click on any photo to enjoy a larger version.

The mighty Sandy River

The day before the Corvallis Half Marathon, I was supposed to be taking it easy.  But not wanting to waste a Saturday, I had to do something outside.  I briefly considered skiing the morning, but a wet forecast for Mt. Hood but the kibosh on that idea.  Rain and windy weather were also predicted for the Portland area.

Oregon grape

Maybe a short hike?  I had wouldn't be the first time taking a hike in the rain.  Pulling out my Sullivan "100 Hikes" book for guidance I hoped to zero in on something close by.

Colorful rocks in the river's beach

Oxbow Park caught my attention.  A place I'd yet to visit.  Located east of Gresham along the Sandy River, and a short drive across town.  Grab the camera - time to check it out!

Riverbank erosion

Oxbow Regional Park is a 1000-acre natural area along the Sandy River.  It's managed by Metro, Portland's regional government.  The park boasts ancient forests with huge old-growth trees, plentiful wildlife, and a windy, fast-flowing river attracting fisherman and boaters.  To protect the wild animals within the park, pets are not allowed.  So poor Bear had to stay home.  :(

The woods beckon....

Sullivan's book recommended starting at the boat dock and taking a clockwise path through the maze of trails in the park.  Finding the boat launch was easy.  But shortly beyond this point, the path ended.  It appeared the riverbank had eroded away, and taken the trail with it.

Bleeding heart flowers

With no path to follow, I ended up retracing my steps back to the parking lot, and walking along the park road for a short stretch before finding the trail again.

Moss makes an intricate pattern on this rock

This path led me down to the river's gravelly shore.  Multi-colored rocks lined the sandy beach.  The river, swollen by snowmelt churned mightily.  Trees, fresh with the neon green colors of new leaves, lined both sides.  A wonderful sight indeed!


Leaving the riverbank, the trail then dived into thick woods, green with moss and ferns.  Large fir and cedar trees lined the footpath, towering above.

Bright green path

The park's trail network wasn't very well marked, so I managed to get myself turned around a bit (it also didn't help I'd left my trail map in the car).  But at a junction, I opted to follow a overgrown road.  Not too far away was a lovely patch of bleeding heart flowers.  Excellent photo subjects!

Rafters hit the rapids

Meandering through the forest, I started to see lovely white trillium flowers.  I took copious photos of the first one I saw, only to round a bend and come upon an area chock-full of perfect trillium blooms.

Floating down the river

This trail spit me out back at the river's edge.  Taking a quick break, I was digging something out of my backpack, when I happened to spot a bunch of kayaks and two rafts floating through the rapids.  The camera quickly came up and I managed to grab a few shots.  It sure looked like a lot of fun!


The riverbank area was thick with bright yellow Oregon grape and a few fuzzy white serviceberry flowers.

Moss-draped trees

Diving back into the the park's deep forests, the trail ambled through an area full of mossy trees.  The droopy tree branches looked like long arms just waiting to grab someone.  Almost like something out of a horror show (zombie tree apocalypse!)


Nearby, more new flowers were on display.  A clearing was full of pink tubular Corydalis blooms.

Sandy River bend

Finally, my trail left the mossy old-growth forests and routed back along the Sandy River.  High above the river's edge, it provided a nice vantage point to view the water's majestic oxbow bends.

Another trillium - just because!

With all my wandering I think I covered about four miles.  The rain stayed away for the entire afternoon.  And being early spring, I practically had the place to myself.  Not knowing what to expect from the park, I was pleasantly surprised to find a wealth of spring wildflowers and a picturesque river.  Glad I decided to get out and visit!

Sharing with:  Weekly Top Shot.


  1. How exciting to discover a new area so full of wild flowers as well as other interesting trails. Really liked the moss covered trees.

  2. How beautiful! Bleeding Hearts are one of my favorites and I love finding them in the wild. Some of your wildflowers were new to me and that's always exciting!

  3. Isnt Oxbow great? I live right up the road and am tempted to buy the season pass because I love going there so much!

  4. Bleeding heart flowers ...seems to be such a sad name for such a pretty plant! Gorgeous landscape you are showinh here- must be great for hiking!

  5. Beautiful photos! I especially love those colorful river rocks and all the flowers. How lovely!

  6. That forest looks wonderful, seems like you had a great time.

  7. I like your skiing posts but its your hiking ones I drool over. I'm glad it's hiking season again!

  8. LOVED all the photos of our PNW native plants! I just have to go to Oxbow and check it out now...
    I've been wanting to do some more exploring of the Sandy River area as my pioneer forefathers landed at the mouth of the Sandy when they came to Oregon. Thanks for the great preview!

  9. Such a variety of wonderful photos. Glad you didn't stay in.

  10. Looks like a great park - I love that incredible growth you have in the Pacific Northwest.

  11. wow! Lots of lovely shots on your 'hike' ~ ^_^


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