Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NW ~ Wildwood Trail from Germantown Rd Loop

Date visited: November 8, 2010
Agency: City of Portland Parks and Recreation
Path Surface: Dirt and mud
Elevation gain/loss: 300 feet
Distance: Variable, we went about 5 miles
Ratings: Setting ++++ Calorie-burning ++++
Directions:Germantown Road is between US Highway (the road to St Helens) and Skyline Boulevard. The Wildwood Trail parking is at N 45 35.236, W 122 47.640. The slightly larger parking lot at Leif Erickson Drive is at N 45 35.345, W 122 47.423.

We started out with the hike described in Afoot & Afield Portland/Vancouver: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide and titled Northern Forest Park Loop. This involves walking generally southbound on the Wildwood Trail for about 2 miles to the (unmarked) Springville Road, turning left and returning north on Leif Erickson Dr. The latter two "roads" are closed, but you will recognize Springville Road because it is a wider "trail" than the other places you can drop down to Leif Erickson.

On our hike today, huge golden leaves from the maples zig zagged through the air giving up to gravity and the season. Leaves lined the trails and have already turned to trail mush in the middle of the path.

We chose to go on another quarter mile or so to the Hardesty Trail to form the bottom of our loop. Also, while the book describes a walk back to your car on Germantown Rd, there is now a trail, the Cannon Trail from Leif Erickson back up to the Wildwood trailhead. A map is available here, although it does not show the new Cannon Trail, which parallels Germantown Rd.

If you want to see pileated woodpeckers, this is prime territory. Not far into the hike we heard two, sounding like native tribes signaling each other. Woodpecker sign was all around us. When we had dropped down to Leif Erickson Dr, we finally saw one: the large wingbeats caught my attention. Many other forest birds were active throughout our walk today.

Next time, I think we will start on Leif Erickson. A bigger parking lot and we'll end with a downhill walk instead of a final uphill ascent to the car!

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