Tarbell Trail – Yacolt Burn State Forest

View of Mt. St. Helens from the trail

Do you love wildflowers and volcano views? Yeah, so do I 😁

I’m always telling you all about the under-rated Tarbell Trail in the Yacolt Burn State Forest (write-up in “little feet hiking“). This time of year, the area is full of native wildflowers, migratory birds, animal tracks, and volcano views (on clear days of course). I’ve been hiking this trail for 10 years and it has been so neat to see the clearcut forest grow back and the diversity of the plants growing along the trail. Today, I saw anemone flower blooming and tiger lily not far behind.

The best time to visit if you want to see wildflowers is late May through June. Keep an eye out for wild irises and lupine in the more open areas, and beargrass when hiking through the shadier forest section.

Wild iris and lupine blooming on the trail in June

Remember to bring your WA Discover Pass, sun protection and extra water on this hike. On sunny days, there isn’t much cover from the sun. Also, avoid drinking the non-potable water at the trailhead (the water is for horses) and watch out for mountain bikes zooming down the trail.

Awesome rock along the trail

Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge is finally open!

The new entrance to the refuge.

Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge is open after a 2 year closure! I love the new trail…the first mile takes you along the dike, so you get an amazing vantage point looking down. After the first mile, you can get deeper into the refuge and now hike over 4 miles! Today we saw a white pelican, a bittern, herons roosting, an osprey with babies, purple martens, a red tail hawk, an egret, and more. So excited to visit regularly and update my hike descriptions.

View of Larch Mountain (Oregon) from the Mountain View Trail

Parking was challenging on opening day, so try visiting on a weekday in the coming weeks. There is a lot of excitement about the new trails, which all have new names. Also, remember that the trails aren’t complete yet, so it will look like a bit of a construction zone in some places. Check out the new trail map and head on over!

Big thanks to Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners for making this happen! Check out this great write-up here.

Family Guided Hiking Series through TreeSong

Author Jessica Becker is leading several guided hikes for families this spring.

SATURDAY, MAY 21
10:30 AM – 2:30 OR 3:30 PM

SUNDAY, JUNE 26
10:30AM – 2:30 OR 3:30PM

Registration for each hike closes at 10:00am the day before. Be sure and reserve your spot! Register here: https://www.treesongnatureawareness.org/family-hikes-2022

LOCATION AND DETAILS:
MAY 21: Yacolt Burn State Forest, WA. Hike will be 3.5 miles with 400 feet gain. WA Discover Pass required. 

JUNE 26: Near Cougar, WA. Hike will be 2 to 4 miles. WA Discover Pass required.

INSTRUCTOR:
JESSICA BECKER

Join local kid’s hiking guide author Jessica Becker on some lesser known SW Washington trails. On these hikes, your family will engage in place-based learning on native plants, animal tracking, birds, geology, history, maps and wayfinding, trail safety, sensory awareness, and more.

These hikes are geared toward families with kids ages 5 and up. Younger kids are welcome, but please bring back-up carriers for kids who cannot maintain a 1.5mph pace for the duration of the hike. We will take distanced snack and lunch breaks.

What to bring: You will be required to bring everything your family needs to be self-sufficient on the hike, including food, water, rain gear, warm layers, sit pads, parking passes, etc. It is recommended that kids carry some of their necessary gear.

A packing list, hike location, and weather forecast will be sent to you 2 weeks prior to the event.

There is an additional offsite waiver required which will be given out on the hike day. No dogs please.

Hikes are limited to 20 walking participants (children in backpacks do not count toward this limit).

Jessica is CPR/First Aid certified.

TUITION: $5 (PLUS PROCESSING FEES) PER WALKING PARTICIPANT (CHILDREN IN BACKPACKS DO NOT COUNT TOWARD TUITION COSTS).

BIPOC SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE.

Portland Metro Kid-friendly Trails – East of I-205

It may be a while before I get to a Portland Metro kid’s hiking book. But I’d like to share some great kid-friendly trails for different areas of the Metro area. Below are trails east of I-205, but also not considered to be in the Gorge or at Mt. Hood.

Photo: Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Oxbow Regional Park:

  • Many trails from which to choose
  • Recommend the Ancient Forest Loop
  • Highlights include: shady forests, wildlife, river access
  • Risks include: lack of cell service swift and cold river

Main website: https://www.oregonmetro.gov/parks/oxbow-regional-park

Brochure and map: www.oregonmetro.gov/sites/default/files/2022/03/01/Oxbow-Regional-Park-brochure-with-map-20220301.pdf

Kids’ Activity Guide:www.oregonmetro.gov/sites/default/files/2019/02/08/Oxbow-kids-activity.pdf

Photo credit: Hikespeak.com

Powell Butte:

  • Many trails from which to choose
  • Recommend the 1.4 mile round trip to summit
  • Highlights include: volcano views, wildflower meadows, shady forests

Main website: www.portland.gov/parks/powell-butte-nature-park

Trail map: www.portland.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/powell-butte-nature-park-trail-map-2016.pdf?_ga=2.156890684.663354398.1650130941-1849457657.1647808343

Hike description: www.hikeoregon.net/powell-butte.html

Photo Credit: https://ncprd.com/

Mt. Talbert Nature Park

  • Up to 4.2 miles of hiking
  • Highlights include: hiking atop an extinct volcano, creek access, shady forest, city views, and wildlife viewing opportunities. 

Main website: www.oregonmetro.gov/parks/mount-talbert-nature-park
Great trail description:www.accesstrails.org/overview/mount-talbert/index.html

Photo credit: Hikespeak.com

Scouter’s Mountain

  • 1.25 miles of trail
  • Highlights include: views of Mt. Hood, old forest, picnic shelter, spring flowers, and the opportunity to hike on top of an extinct volcano

Main website: www.oregonmetro.gov/parks/scouters-mountain-nature-park

Access Trails hike description: www.accesstrails.org/overview/scouters-mountain/index.html

Hike it Baby hike description: https://trails.hikeitbaby.com/trail/scouters-mountain-nature-park

Photo credit: Jessica Becker

Tickle Creek:

  • Up to 1.8 miles one-way
  • Highlights include: creek access, pretty western red cedar trees, nurse logs, and five fun bridges

Hike it Baby trail description: https://trails.hikeitbaby.com/trail/tickle-creek-trail

Hiking project trail description:  http://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7034010/tickle-creek-trail

Photo Credit: Resa K., Alltrails.com

Cazadero State Trail

  • Up to 6 miles round-trip
  • Recommend starting from Boring trailhead (although it is uphill on the way back)
  • Highlights include: creek access (keep an eye out for unmarked trails taking you down to the creek), old western red cedar trees, and wide gravel path
  • The trail follows the old Oregon Water Power and Railway Company line

Access Trails hike description: www.accesstrails.org/overview/springwater/cazadero.html

Trail Link hike description: www.traillink.com/trail/cazadero-trail/

Photo credit: Oregon State Parks

Milo McIver State Park

  • Up to 6 miles of trails (consider checking out the 2 mile Riverbend Loop)
  • Highlights include: Clackamas river views, shady forest, Mt. Hood views, and lots of amenities

State Parks website: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=park.profile&parkId=102

Great write-up from Our Big Little Adventures: https://ourbiglittleadventures.com/milo-mciver-state-park-a-local-outdoor-getaway

Brochure and trail map: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=main.loadFile&load=_siteFiles%2Fpublications%2F45362_McIver_Brochure%28web%29102058.pdf

Photo credit: http://www.thedangergarden.com/

Eagle Fern Park

  • Up to 4 miles of trails
  • Highlights include: old-growth forest, ADA-accessible interpretive trail, creek, nurse logs, birds, playground, and more

Main website: www.clackamas.us/parks/eaglefern.html

Trail guide: https://dochub.clackamas.us/documents/drupal/b1585121-6469-421e-9a03-d39859449fd3

Trip Report from Trail Dad: http://www.trail-dad.com/trip-reports/eagle-fern-park

What other kid-friendly trails east of I-205 do you love? Comment below.

Bells Mountain Trail from Cold Creek Day Use Area

When it’s raining/snowing/hailing, one of my favorite hikes is along the Bells Mountain Trail starting from Cold Creek Day Use Area (located in the Yacolt Burn State Forest in Southwest Washington). The western red cedar and Douglas fir trees protect you from falling precipitation and the creek is so lovely. There are several beach spots along the creek and a lot of native plants budding and blooming. You can learn more about this 3.6 mile hike and it’s western red cedar trails in my first book “little feet hiking.”

Waterfall near the trailhead
Short user trail down to the creek
So many types of trees: western hemlocks, Douglas firs, western red cedars, and big-leafed maples
Skunk cabbage (yellow flowers) and false hellebore (looks a bit like corn stalks)
Weathered trillium flower
Bridge near trailhead
Western red cedar trees
Amazing nurse stump