Trek #16: Balch Creek Canyon

There’s no end to my vast love for Forest Park. I was pleasantly surprised the other day when my friend Lauren wanted to see if I was interested in joining her on a hike. Due to both of our schedules, we decided to keep to a shorter hike, and chose Balch Creek Canyon in Forest Park. This gem of a 2.4 mile hike was perfect: scenic, lush, creeks and waterfalls.

One of the perks of this hike is the constant sound of moving water. To me it’s just one of the most peaceful sounds in nature there is. The hike starts on a rather wide trail, originally intended to be all access for wheelchairs. Shortly after you get deeper into the forest, you’ll find yourself traversing alongside creeks and streams and mini-waterfalls almost the entire way through. You’ll also see lots of very large and very old Douglas Fir trees, as well as the City of Portland Heritage Tree, which is a very large Doug Fir. Further along you’ll come to the old stone house, which much to its mysterious look, used to be a public restroom from 1936-1962. Now it’s great for photo ops šŸ™‚ My trail book suggests finishing the trail and turning around after the trail turns into the Wildwood trail, at the bridge that crosses over Balch Creek. We snapped a photo up there and turned back, enjoying it every bit as much as the way in.

Balch Creek Canyon, overall, is a delightful forest hike that gave us lots of shady reprieve from a hot, sunny, summer day. To get there, from NW Portland, take NW Upshur until it dead ends at the trailhead (you’ll see the large green bridge to your left). Park where spaces are available, which if it’s a summer weekend, might be a few blocks back.

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Treks Down: 16, Treks to Go: 36

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