Tuesday, May 10, 2005

N~Columbia Slough

Date last visited: April 22, 2005
Path Surface: Gravel over pavement and paved
Elevation gain/loss: Two short rises
Distance: 5.1 miles
Ratings: Setting++ Calorie-burning+++
Directions: Max Yellow Line to the Kenton/N. Denver Station, near the intersection of N Denver and N Argyle.

For a quickie walk, this trail is not bad, but certainly you can find better spots, even nearby. If you are looking for a bicycle trip of decent lenghth, this may be a good extension for a trip to Smith and Bybee Lakes.

From the Max stop, continue north, parallel to the tracks and cross the N Denver Viaduct. Be careful here, the sidewalk is in poor shape. From the viaduct, you have a good view of the mud-brown water of the slough and the frosted remains of Mt St Helens. Cliff swallows swoop by, feeding and visiting the copious nests attached to the concrete of the elevated Max tracks. Cormorants, herons, geese, wigeon, green wing teal and, of course, mallards may be present.

At the end of the viaduct make a cautious crossing of the street by going to the traffic island at N Schmeer first, then across to the west side of the street north of the guardrail to the trailhead. On one side is the slough, on the other, the Portland International Raceway. Continue west, past Heron Lakes Golf Course and under the railroad overpass at about 2 miles. Turn left onto the pedestrian bridge and follow the trail around to the left through to Columbia Blvd. The trail branches here, and you may decide to wander through this greenspace with whimsical wooden and rock art. Continue right along the trail that parallels Columbia to N Portsmouth so you can use the signal to cross Columbia. Turn left (east). From here, it's exercise, because the scenery is not spectacular, although there is a straight on view of Mt Hood if you can see through the power poles and wires. At the I-5 sign (N Argyle), veer right up a slight hill, past Kenton Park, and back to N. Denver and the Max station. Posted by Hello

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