#12 in the Northwest book, August 29th, 2009; Easy – 4.5 miles loop, 100 feet of elevation gain
Beautiful summer days beg for walks in the woods. Becky, Meg, Ben, Lucy (in the Kelty) and Mike came along this time.
We arrived in mid-afternoon at this 222-acre nature preserve, which the book notes was once known as St. Mary’s Woods. The park is spiderwebbed with hiking trails, both paved and unpaved, and about half of our time was spent on a raised boardwalk. The prescribed trail is about 5 miles, but it’s clear you could spend all day in this place if you wanted to. It’s mildly hilly, but most of the walk is flat.
At one point, the trail emerged from what seemed like endless woods and we had a clear view of the Tri-Met bus barn. Then it was back to the deep wilderness.
The adventure portion of this hike doesn’t have a clear beginning. At one point, we noted that we were seeing the same three other hiking groups again and again. The trails were not marked with much clarity (or we weren’t reading them right), and it took us a few tries to find our way back. Dark was falling before we found the trail back to the car, and while we weren’t in real danger (being in the middle of Beaverton), the spice of uncertainty lent an interesting flavor to the experience.
This trail is open year-round, but is buggy in the Summer due to the marshlands. Dogs are not allowed anywhere in the park.
Instead of driving you can take the MAX to the Merlo Road/SW 158th station and it will drop you right near the Creek Trail entrance. There is visitor center onsite.