Wapato Access Trail

  • Level: easy (Beginner level: doable)
  • Length: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation: less than 40 feet gain
  • Type: loop
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: n/a
  • Drive time from Portland: 20m
  • Google map: “wapato access greenway”

I have a deep attachment to this not-so-spectacular trail. I did it many times and never posted about it on social media like I usually do. I felt like I was keeping it a secret which is kind of dramatic, but honestly, it was. It’s the place I rehabbed my shitty knee injury that took me down from hiking for about three months.

It’s super flat, short, pretty, great bird watching and it’s on Sauvie Island, so it’s close-in. This is a perfect trail for someone who wants to walk in nature, but maybe doesn’t want to hike or have the time for it. When I was last there in mid-April, the lake had flooded some of the trail as deep as eight inches, but I think that’s fairly temporary.

The directions are pretty simple. Walk around Virginia Lake. There’s really only one main trail, but there are some little side trails for bird watching. From the trailhead, veer right and when you reach the sheltered picnic tables, veer right again. About 3/4 of the way around, there’s a sign about the wetlands and a right-fork toward a dock that looks like the trail continuation, but you actually want to go left. You’ll soon reach the picnic tables again and veer right to get back to your car.

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Sign at the parking area.
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Trailhead
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Virginia Lake. I didn’t even notice that sun halo!

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Beautiful Oak Savannas
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Pretty flooded around this footbridge, but I enjoyed it.
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Just so you know what you’re getting into in spring…
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