Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a city park of about 141acre in southeast Portland, in the U.S. state of Oregon. Located in a floodplain along the east bank of the Willamette River near Sellwood, the park is known for attracting a wide variety of birds. In 1988, the park was named Portland's first wildlife refuge, and in 2004, it was designated the city's first migratory bird park.Put Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Portland trip planner.
The elongated park, which parallels the river, includes a large shallow lake on the east side of the Springwater Corridor. The Corridor is a hiking and biking path that also runs parallel to the river between Sellwood and downtown Portland. Between the lake and the Corridor is a Portland Traction rail line on a berm. Slightly south of the refuge are Sellwood Park and Sellwood Riverfront Park, and Oaks Amusement Park is to the west, near the river. To the east, the top of a bluff above the lake is mainly residential, though one of the buildings is a mausoleum and crematorium with a huge great blue heron mural overlooking the wetlands. A 1mi hiking trail wraps around the east side of the lake beneath the bluff. A side trail connects the east trail with Sellwood Park. To the north are mixed woodlands, shrubs, and a few open fields, and a trail crossing the north section of the refuge links the Corridor to a parking lot at the top of the bluff. West of the north part of the refuge are two islands, East and Hardtack, that belong to the Ross Island group in the Willamette. Ross Island is the site of a heron rookery.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge Reviews
The refuge is one part of a handful of fun things to enjoy in the immediate area. Adjacent to Oaks Park Amusement park, a spacious dog park, a pebble strewn beach and pier, as well as a Rails to Trails bike trail that connects with the East Bank Esplanade. The wildlife refuge is the quiet centerpiece to all of this, but in a modest way. It's a lovely place to hike beneath the trees on a hot day. The path is about a mile long, tracing the eastern side of the lake/swamp. And although it is a lovely feeling to know the refuge is there doing its thing to preserve wildlife, in the summer the leaves shroud most of the view from it, even on the largest overlook. It may be best to wait for fall and winter if you want a wildlife experience. But it's still great for communing with nature and some relaxing exercise. Check your Google map for where the path connects with the bike path, and the parking areas on either end. Also for enjoying the other adjacent attractions while you're there.
This place has a lot of playground equipment for the kid's to play on. The equipment is good for almost all ages. There are some lovely Hiking trails to. On one of the Hiking trails you can see a building that has one of the largest paintings on the side of the building in the state. The trails can be Steep In a few places so if you have children or animals with you hiking make sure they're on the right side of the trail going down and on the left side going up.
Plan your trip to Portland
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
See all ›
Side trips from Portland
Parks in Portland
Hidden gems in Portland
See all ›
Nearby attractions in Portland
Plans to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge by other users
11 days in Pacific Northwest BY A USER FROM CYPRUS October, popular sights Preferences: October Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 17 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems Preferences: September Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Slow & easy 15 days in Seattle, Oregon & Palmdale BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular sights Preferences: August Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 8 days in Portland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, kids, popular sights Preferences: September, kids Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 27 days in United States, Tofino & Vancouver BY A USER FROM THE NETHERLANDS July, teens, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular sights Preferences: July, teens, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 20 days in San Francisco & Portland BY A USER FROM THE NETHERLANDS August, popular sights Preferences: August Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium