When Lewis and Clark’s Corp of Discovery came paddling down the Columbia River, searching for the fastest transcontinental trade route across the frontier, they passed by a stretch of land now called North Portland. The Corp probably couldn’t imagine the swampy lowland would one day be the largest deep-draft inland port in America. Today, it’s home to Kelley Point Park, where you can watch Oregon’s industrial strength sail peacefully by as you relax on a shaded beach.
Kelley Point Park marks the westernmost tip of Portland proper. From this vantage point you get a panoramic view of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Rainer to the north, the West Hills of Portland from the south, and Sauvie Island across the water to the west.
The park is filled with sunny and shady spots, with picnic tables facing scenic spots along the 40-Mile Loop, Portland’s partially completed greenway trail that winds through the city.
Fishing and Birding
Opportunities abound for nature enthusiasts. Fish for Oregon’s world famous salmon from Kelley’s Point sandy beaches, or grab your binoculars and look towards the sky for Bewick’s wrens, Caspian terns, osprey, and double-crested cormorants, just of a few of the birds living in the branches of the black cottonwood forest.
Hiking, Biking, Swimming, Canoeing
The paved and unpaved trails are flat, low-level paths (the park is only 39 feet above sea level), making it an easy route to traverse for all skill levels. The beaches are narrow but sandy and there’s a canoe launch near the entrance gate that was pretty active the day I visited.
A Day of Exploration
Kelley Point Park is a great place to explore the natural beauty of both the Columbia and the Willamette Rivers, and a scenic spot in which to watch the large international shipping activity that occurs throughout the day at the Port of Portland’s many marine terminals. It is a free park that’s open year-round from 6am to 9pm. Pets are welcome and on-site restrooms are located along the main trail.
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