Want to a quick family getaway that's close to home? Then head on over to Tryon Creek State Park in southwest Portland.With its lush forest habitat, giant stumps, and babbling creek beds, the park feels like it's worlds away.
The park is situated in a dense second-growth forested canyon, and includes numerous benches, stumps, and exploring spots to linger over a snack, exercise the imagination, and take in the lush forest habitat.
For the Super Nature Trail Packet created for this park, we made a map for a 1.4 mile loop trail that hits many of the highlights, including two bridges, fern groves, a wetland area, and some of the park’s most distinctive stumps. The trail descends gently from the visitor center to the canyon floor, then follows the creek for a while before ascending again and looping back to where you started.
Tryon Creek has a fascinating history that shapes the habitat of the present day park. From the 1870s until its establishment as a park in 1970, the area was used mainly for logging. Throughout the canyon, families can find large stumps left behind when the area was under private ownership.
Those stumps make the park an awesome place for families to learn about the life and ecosystems of trees.
And does your kid like to play make believe, because the stumps are also great places for creative inspiration!
At Tryon Creek, kids also have lots of opportunities to observe insects, spiders, and snails and slugs hanging out.The park also has more than 50 bird species including barred owls and several woodpeckers. Numerous small and mid-sized mammals, including beavers and raccoons, make the canyon home. The park is also a good place to find newts and salamanders.
And here's a fun fact: the creek in the center of the park is one of the few streams in the metropolitan area with a population of steelhead trout.
The field guide in the Tryon Creek trail packet focuses on the abundant wildlife of the forest in this park. We also spend extra attention on the mighty and wondrous TREE itself (of course, how could we not?).
So if you are looking for a fun little getaway that's chocked full of nature fun, take a morning or afternoon break at Tryon Creek. Trust us, you'll have a blast!
Bryna R. Campbell