Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Portland

4.8
#9 of 10 in Wildlife in Portland
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a city park of about 141acre in southeast Portland, in the U.S. state of Oregon. Located in a floodplain along the east bank of the Willamette River near Sellwood, the park is known for attracting a wide variety of birds. In 1988, the park was named Portland's first wildlife refuge, and in 2004, it was designated the city's first migratory bird park.DescriptionThe elongated park, which parallels the river, includes a large shallow lake on the east side of the Springwater Corridor. The Corridor is a hiking and biking path that also runs parallel to the river between Sellwood and downtown Portland. Between the lake and the Corridor is a Portland Traction rail line on a berm. Slightly south of the refuge are Sellwood Park and Sellwood Riverfront Park, and Oaks Amusement Park is to the west, near the river. To the east, the top of a bluff above the lake is mainly residential, though one of the buildings is a mausoleum and crematorium with a huge great blue heron mural overlooking the wetlands. A 1mi hiking trail wraps around the east side of the lake beneath the bluff. A side trail connects the east trail with Sellwood Park. To the north are mixed woodlands, shrubs, and a few open fields, and a trail crossing the north section of the refuge links the Corridor to a parking lot at the top of the bluff. West of the north part of the refuge are two islands, East and Hardtack, that belong to the Ross Island group in the Willamette. Ross Island is the site of a heron rookery.
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Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
23 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Another spectacular green gem in the city. We found this because it was mentioned in the book Stoneheart. Great read, and we now know why it was in the book. Forest and river all in one.  more »
  • Nature does not get any better than this. The habitat is perfect for all sorts of species that like river bottomland. You will see beautiful bridges and happy hikers and runners. We forgot our binocul...  more »
  • city living getting you down? need fresh air and outdoor scenery? 10 minutes from downtown hides Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge... 15 minutes to quick look / see or more than an hour walk around the enti...  more »
Google
  • It was a gorgeous day today. We saw Mallard pairs, a Red-tailed Hawk, 3 White Herons, and a Great Blue Heron as well as smaller birds on our hike through the "Bottom". The path was fairly dry and there were lots of families out as well as individual hikers, walkers, and joggers. There were bicyclists on the paved portions of the trails. The City has done a good job of maintaining the trails, benches and bridges. There was no trash visible and the refuge was very clean. I'll definitely be going back to walk/hike the trails again soon.
  • This is a great escape from the city, and it's easy to get to by public transit - #19 bus to the entrance by the parking lot on Milwaukie Ave. It was beautiful, green and quiet, with fallen trees, birds, a pond and wetland (parts of it are covered with green - I assume algae). It's a good place to walk or bicycle. The first section is for both, but then it breaks off and there is a narrow trail for walkers only, and that is what I took. It was completely still except for the occasional bird. There was one section where many narrow, dark, slim tree trunks stood in a section of the wetland that looked like something from a fantasy film. Eventually the pond ends and you reach a meadow; walk farther and there are steps and a steep trail up to the street. It is a walk of several more blocks to catch the bus at Milwaukie and Bybee, so I got some exercise.
  • The awesome short story of this place: A Parks Dept. worker asked his bosses if they could look into designating it an official wildlife refuge. They said no, so he went to the sign department and had them make some signs saying wildlife refuge and hung them up in a bunch of trees. After awhile everyone assumed it actually was, and when the city started telling people it wasn't, there was a backlash, and then pressure, until it officially became "Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge". All thanks to one guy (whose name I forget), breaking the rules.
  • This beautiful hidden gem is a must see for anyone who appreciates the simple things in life, with enchanting trails tucked into the hillside that wrap around the lower protected wetlands near oaks park in the city of sellwood.
  • Nice paved trail through a swamp. Get out on the springwater corridor by the Willamette and look out for all the lance armstrong wannabes . Also keep a lookout for bum's in there natural habitat . They seem to be more frequent than most of the other widlife.
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