Vicinity: 15 miles south of Portland
From Portland take US-26 West to NW Jackson School Rd in Washington County. Take exit 59 from US-26 W
Take exit 59 for Jackson School Road and turn left at the stop sign at the top of the off ramp and follow NW Jackson School Road.
Drive for 0.6 mile and at the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit (go straight through the traffic circle) and stay on NW Jackson School Road.
Drive 1.6 mi and turn right onto NW Evergreen Road and drive 0.3 mile.
Turn left to continue on NE Jackson School Road and drive for 1.6 miles which takes you into Hillsboro.
Turn right onto NE Grant Street and dive for 0.3 mile.
Turn left onto N 1st Avenue and drive for 1.1 mile.
Take a sharp left at SW Wood St. into the parking lot for the wildlife refuge.
No permits needed to park.
No bathrooms at the trailhead.
Trails are open dawn to dusk, seven days a week.
No dogs or bicycles are allowed
The Nature Center is open 10 am to 4 pm, seven days a week but closed on holidays.
Length and Elevation:
2.8 miles roundtrip. Elevation at the trailhead is 148 ft. Highest point on the trail is 148 ft. Lowest point on the trail is 130 feet. There is 30 ft elevation gain and 30 feet elevation loss round trip.
North-South Trail, Pintail Pond Loop with connections to other trails in the park.
There is at least one geocache for this trail at: N 45° 30.783 W 122° 59.430 Info at Geocaching.com.
From the parking area drop down about 7 feet to the marshes and wetlands. Walk along the North-South Trail which can be flooded in spring. You’ll pass the Northwest Pond and the Oak Island Pond. The trail here is an old service road which heads south through the wetlands.
The wetlands have been used for several purposes over the decades. They were ditched and drained for farming and cattle grazing. The wetlands were used over time for disposal of cannery wastes and construction debris. After World War II the city started farming in the area and in the 1970’s public interest increased to restore the wetlands and create a wildlife preserve. In 1997 the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve Board was created and now the area is managed by the City of Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department.
After about 0.5 mile is a series of pipes and valves for irrigation which are used to pump water from the Tualatin River. You can explore the tangle of pipes and valves and try to puzzle where the pipes go.
Continue along to a bird blind on the left overlooking Wapato Marsh. Anywhere along here you should see a variety of birds. This is just about in the middle of the marsh and is mostly away from the traffic sounds. Though it was a mid-June afternoon for this review the flies and mosquitoes weren’t noticeable. That might be a different story later in the evening. There is a lot of standing water in this wetland.
The trail changes from dirt and gravel to wood chips which can be quite soggy after heavy rains. Soon you come to an osprey nest atop an old power pole. You may see the ospreys tending the nest and the fledglings. The nest is pretty close to the trail. As with all nests you should stay on the trail and not make motions that disturb the birds.
At one point along the trail there is a small sandbox for toddlers to play in.
Stay on the main trail to the junction with the Pintail Loop Trail. This is a nice walk past a shady shelter around Pintail Pond. There have been log structures added to the shoreline to provide places for birds to perch away from the trail.
There are additional trail options to explore such as the trail to Salamander Slough and to the visitor center.
Return to the North-South Trail and make your way back to the parking lot.
This is a great hike for kids with wide flat trails and some bird blinds where you can watch the different birds.
Enjoy the photos!!