Trail of the Month

Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve

Activity: bird watching | Distance: up to 4 miles Rating: easy

With Brian Barker March 9, 2011 Published in the April 2011 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Michael Novak

WHY IT’S GREAT During the 1800s, a pioneer lawyer hatched a failed plan for a steamboat landing at what is now a 725-acre, City of Hillsboro–run wetland preserve along the Tualatin River. Today, Jackson Bottom’s forested marshes, sloughs, and ponds have returned to their original purpose: a rest stop for fleets of birds. More than 130 species of resident and migratory species routinely appear here. This month, see inbound mourning doves, barn swallows, American robins, song sparrows, and even green herons and American bitterns.

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DON’T FORGET Jackson Bottom’s 12,000-square-foot Wetlands Education Center houses an intact bald eagle’s nest, a 1,500-pound tangle of branches from nearby Fern Hill Wetlands. This is believed to be the only such display in the country.

POST-HIKE WATERING HOLE Cruise In Country Diner This family-friendly backroads diner lays the farm-to-table ethic on thick. The plump burger patties sizzling on the grill are grass fed, and the crispy, hand-cut “bottomless” Yukon gold fries are sourced locally. Keep the homegrown vibe flowing with the dozen Northwest microbrews on tap. 9785 SW River Rd, Hillsboro; 503-628-0500;

TRAILHEAD DIRECTIONS From Portland, head west 15 miles on Hwy 26 to exit 57, and turn left onto Glencoe Road. Continue approximately 6 miles, through downtown Hillsboro (Glencoe becomes First Avenue, then Hwy 219/Hillsboro Hwy), and look for the Wetlands Education Center on the left. No fees or permits required.

Find trails, news, tips, and gear on Brian Barker’s outdoor blog, The Muddy Boot.

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