Monday, March 16, 2009

NW ~ Wildwood-Springville Rd South

Date visited: March 6, 2009
Agency: City of Portland
Path Surface: Mud right now, dirt eventually
Elevation gain/loss: 360 feet
Distance: 5 mile loop, as described
Ratings: Setting ++++ Calorie-burning +++
Directions: On Skyline Blvd northeast of Portland city center, drive .9 mile south from the Germantown Rd intersection or 3.9 miles north of Cornell Rd., turn east on gravel Springville Rd. (pass the first Springville Rd sign when coming from the south). Follow this short section of Springville Rd to the trailhead.

Right out of the car we spotted a pileated woodpecker 50 yards away from the parking lot. Bird activity is normally hottest in the morning, but if you just want a nice quiet walk in the woods, this is a good option any time of day.

From the parking lot, start out on Firelane 7, then veer left (downhill) at the first intersection on a long-closed section of Springville Road. After a bit more than .3 mile, turn right on the Wildwood Trail.

The distant sounds of industry mix with the notes of chestnut backed chickadees, winter wrens and towhees. We spotted a varied thrush here mixing with a few robins and had a good look at a downy woodpecker. Red breasted nuthatches nyah-nyah-nyah from the trees. Red catkins dangling from the alders and tiny, vivid-green leaf shoots from the osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis) herald spring.

The trail, nearly level for 4.3 miles, passes intersections with the Hardesty Trail, Ridge Trail, Firelane 7/Gas Line Rd, and Oil Line Rd. After mile marker 18 ¾ (look on the trees marked with a blue diamond), walk over two wooden bridges. Immediately before the third bridge, turn uphill on the unmarked Trillium Trail on the right. Climb steeply .25 miles, then turn left on Firelane 7. Follow the Firelane back to your car.

Find a rough map here.
Thanks to Doug Lorain for describing this hike. Afoot & Afield Portland/Vancouver: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide

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