Date visited: January 6, 2009
Agency: City of Hillsboro, Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation
Path Surface: Paved, boardwalk, one short dirt trail detour
Elevation gain/loss: Rolling hills about 20 feet elevation differential
Distance: 3.7 miles
Ratings: Setting +++ Calorie-burning +++
Directions: Parking lot at Orchard Park, 20900 NW Amberwood Dr. in Hillsboro. From the Sunset Highway (US Hwy 26), exit at 185th southbound. Turn right on Cornell Rd, left on 206th and right on Amberwood. Look for the sign for the park.
This loop through the park and path along Rock Creek is one of the designated “regional trails,” that will eventually connect the Beaverton Powerline Trail and Rood Bridge Park. The bonus here is the chance to get a look at several common westside Oregon birds, who hang around because of the water and wetlands of the creek.
From the parking lot in Orchard Park, walk south along the wide paved path also suitable for biking. Take the first left downhill to the bridge over Rock Creek. At the next intersection, keep left. This short detour turned up lots of kinglets, chickadees and a pretty Townsend's warbler. When you reach the rock circle, take a left on the dirt trail. After traveling .1 mile, keep watch to the right for the grave marker for Brian and Irene Burt.
Return to the main path, turn left on the boardwalk, recross the creek and continue around the loop back toward the parking lot. Follow the sidewalk in front of the restroom to Amberwood Dr, turn right, cross the bridge over the creek and look for the paved path on the other side of Amberwood.
At the end of this short segment (which was today full of robins), turn left on Cornell Rd. to find the continuation of the path. Continue to follow the main path on a boardwalk over a grassy marsh. Birds hang out in the trees all along this section, and if you are lucky, you might spot a kingfisher darting along the creek, as we did today. Be especially vigilant at some feeders to the right behind an apartment building, where we saw a whole crew of pine siskins enjoying the nyjer thistle.
One more street crossing at Evergreen Parkway, then under the freeway and you reach the current end of the path after traveling about 1.3 miles from Orchard Park.
Bird species count for today's trip: 21