Many runners and cyclists are familiar with Sauvie Island as a place to get in extensive flat mileage on pavement. Follow local elite runners on social media and you’ll see them post about long workouts on the roads of this bucolic river island north of Portland.
The Wapato Access Greenway on Sauvie Island’s west shore offers a very scenic and easy two-mile trail loop for those wishing to get off the blacktop. This spot is popular with local hikers and runners. Parking is free, and dogs are allowed, but must be leashed. There are no amenities, save a couple of picnic spots and a fishing dock on the Multnomah Channel.
The loop trail covers two miles around seasonal Virginia Lake. The access spur is about .2 miles. This gem of a trail takes you through several different types of habitats, from dense-ish forest to oak savannah. Wildlife is abundant.
You’re likely to encounter Pacific Chorus Frogs and harmless Garter Snakes on the trail; ospreys and other raptors soar overhead. Keep your eyes open for a Yellow Warbler or a Red-breasted Sapsucker. Even if you don’t see any novel creatures, you’re sure to hear them pecking, chirping, and skittering all around you.
Views over the Multnomah Channel take in forested hillsides and fishing-boat wakes lapping at weathered pilings.
To get there: Drive north from Portland on Highway 30 and turn right about four miles north of the St. John’s Bridge to cross the relatively new Sauvie Island Bridge. Head north on NW Sauvie Island Road for another 2.5 miles. The parking area and entrance to the Wapato Access Greenway are on your left.
Additional activities on Sauvie Island: Take a dip at one of the beaches accessible via NW Reeder Road (caution: one is clothing-optional). Pick fruits and vegetables at one of the many U-pick farms on Sauvie Island. Picnic at charming Howell Territorial Park.