Monday, March 12, 2012
SW ~ Graham Oaks Nature Park
Date visited: March 7, 2012
Path Surface: Asphalt, gravel
Elevation gain/loss: +/- 10 feet
Distance: 3+ miles
Ratings: Setting + Calorie-burning ++
Directions: From I-5, take exit 283 (Wilsonville Rd), go west about 1.5 miles to the small parking area north of the road.
Restoration has to start somewhere, but it is a stretch to call this a nature park now. Houses and a school crowd the edges of the park. Only one small portion of a path passes through trees of any size. But if you are in need of an wide open view and a short walk with plenty of company, Graham Oaks will work for you.
A paved path, the Tonquin Trail, slices through the middle of the park, and unlike other Metro properties, dogs are allowed on the pavement. Trails of varying lengths branch from the pavement. One, the Arrowhead Creek trail, will be the most interesting to spring and fall birders (although the best area we found was outside the park). In winter, the small pond seen from the Wetlands Overlook will attract some waterfowl. The Legacy Creek trail passes through a typical west side forest, and on our walk, osoberry, nettles and wild rose were just beginning to show green leaves. The creek itself whispers out of sight in a nearby gully.
Many small trees have been planted and it will be fun to share your pictures of the park with your grandchildren in 50 years, when some of those trees return an agricultural field to a forest.
Posts at trail junctions show maps.