Wednesday, May 24, 2006
NW ~ Bethany Lake Park
Date visited: May 5, 2006
Agency: Tualatin Hills Parks & Rec District
Path Surface: Paved
Elevation gain/loss: 70 ft
Distance: 2.5 miles
Ratings: Setting ++ Calorie-burning ++
Directions: From Hwy 26 (the Sunset) take the 185th Ave exit, go 1 mile north on 185th to a parking lot on the left.
A small lake, cultivated lawns, fields and a tiny wetlands area provide wide open spaces to stretch your legs. This path is but one section of what is planned to be a 3.5 mile continuous east/west route running under the powerlines.
From the parking lot, the paved path skirts the lake, passing by hopeful fishermen. Mallards and some hybrid geese paddle around on the lily-pad surface. The occasional blue heron stalks its prey. Scrubby brush nearby yields the song of common yellowthroats, while robins, red wing blackbirds, scrub jays and song sparrows also make their presence known. Find a picnic table and a footbridge over Rock Creek after .3 mile. Next to the path here you might see bushtits and
a Bewick’s Wren or two, while tree swallows dart overhead.
The path curves through a diminutive area that is being rehabilitated as wetlands, then gently slopes upward, traveling through a golf course. After 1 mile, you will pass soccer fields on the left where you might see killdeer tottering through the grass. On your right the vegetation harbors towhees, starlings and perhaps a mourning dove. We saw gold crowned sparrows hopping along the path.
The paved path ends at Rock Creek Powerline Park, 1.25 miles from the start. It is possible to cross the street ahead of you and follow a poorly maintained path through the grassy field for .4 mile farther. This path is hard to follow, is often wet in places and simply ends at the freeway. Some wildflowers scattered throughout the field might make this trek worthwhile.
When you turn back toward your car, be sure to notice the view of the West Hills and look for red tail hawks perched on the power line structures. If you are ready for more, an additional section of the Powerlines Park grid is close by, from Deerfield Park to Bethany Meadows Park. (See that post.)