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Burnt Bridge Creek Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Discovery Trail near Burnt Bridge Creek (Steve Hart)
One of the twin bridges near Alki Road (Steve Hart)
Mile marker (Steve Hart)
Ducks in November (Steve Hart)
Douglas-firs near Nicholson Road, Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway (bobcat)
Burnt Bridge Creek along the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway (bobcat)
East Pond, Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway (bobcat)
Route of the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway in Vancouver (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Stewart Glen TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Meadowbrook Marsh Trailhead
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and back or car shuttle
  • Distance: 8.1 miles one-way
  • High point: 310 feet
  • Elevation gain: 180 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

This is a pleasant hike, bike ride, wheelchair path, or dog run on a hard surface. The trail heads along grassy wetlands, some forested areas, and a few sections of sidewalk. There are continued surface improvements to the trail and street crossings as well as plans to extend it north of Meadowbrook Marsh.

A car shuttle or a long day's walk will allow you to take in the full length of the pathway across the central area of the City of Vancouver. However, there are numerous access points to the greenway, and it can be conveniently divided into three parts; distances given for each section are round-trip. Note that some street crossings and trail sections, e.g. in Leverich Park, are a little sketchy for wheelchairs.

1. Stewart Glen to Leverich Park


The trail starts at the Stewart Glen Trailhead on Fruit Valley Road. The parking here has been replaced with flowers, which has made the trailhead prettier, but more dangerous. People using wheels of any sort can travel on the sidewalk next to the road, heading westward. The sidewalk loops around just passed the highway intersection to the signed official start of the Discovery Trail. There's a shortcut consisting of a set of very steep cement stairs directly from the lot down to the trail for people on foot.

The highlight of the first part of the trail is the view to a backwater of Vancouver Lake. In the late fall and winter this area is filled with a variety of duck species, Canadian Geese and occasionally swans. It's common to see several hundred birds here. The paved trail heads up the valley to the east, through maples, oaks and firs. The surface has recently been redone and it's very smooth. There are a lot of dirt side paths, up the ridge to houses in the Lincoln neighborhood and others downhill to the grasslands near the creek. You'll pass a couple of great resting benches, as well. After about a mile, the trail drops slightly into a large grassy area. The grass here is mowed in the summer, although it still feels like a field. A few ancient apple trees survive here, in what was probably once an orchard or a homestead. The first bridge across the creek is located at mile 1.2, quickly followed by Alki Road. Soon after there's another, nearly identical bridge, followed by a new, as yet undeveloped city park and then tiny 2nd Avenue. This part of the trail passes near houses and is far from remote, although the creek is pretty, particularly in the fall when it's filled with fallen leaves.

When you reach Hazel Dell Avenue (a large unsigned road) at mile 1.5, you've seen most of the nearby scenery and you could turn around here. To continue go right on Hazel Dell and pass a Nursing and Rehabilitation Center before crossing over the street and picking up the Discovery Trail leading towards the freeway on the other side. The trail runs right below an exit ramp and then passes through a tunnel. Here, go left onto an overpass over I-5. At a junction, keep right (Straight leads to Highway 99) and make a 180-degree turn down to the Discovery-Ellen Davis Trail Junction. Bear right here to pass through a small parking area and cross NE Leverich Park Way to head up the left side of this street on the sidewalk. Go a couple of blocks to a Greenway access sign. Here the paved trail resumes at 2.5 miles and enters Leverich Park. It runs across the north part of Leverich Park, with its picnic tables, barbecue shelters and restrooms (locked in winter). The loop back through the middle of Leverich Park takes you under Douglas-firs to a deeply-shaded picnic area and one of three bridges over Burnt Bridge Creek to rejoin the main trail.

2. Leverich Park to Devine Road


From the left side of the parking lot in Leverich Park, bear right down a steep hill on a paved walkway. Make an immediate sharp right and head along a paved trail south of Burnt Bridge Creek, and then keep right to head up to 15th Avenue. Cross 15th and head down 41st Circle with a hedge of wax myrtles on your right. The road is blocked to cars at a Discovery Trail sign. Head down to the end of the road past a farm yard. The paved trail resumes in a bottomland along Burnt Bridge Creek. This is also a powerline corridor. Pass a hazel orchard on your right. Cross a bridge over the creek and then pass a small house converted from a barn on the left as the trail swings right. Cross another bridge and head up to St. John’s Boulevard. Go right up to the intersection with Highway 500 and cross St. John’s on the crosswalk.

From here the trail heads down under Highway 500. Cross a bridge over the creek and then rise to Nicholson Road, whence the trail goes right and down into a shady grove of tall Douglas-firs. A spur leads right to a viewpoint over the creek under a cedar. Ride below an apartment complex into an open vale with Armenian blackberry, teasel, and reed canary-grass. The powerlines are strung overhead again here. The trail heads up the bluff to an open field. Cross Linda Lane and then Fourth Plain Boulevard and head long the edge of soccer fields with a trailer park on your right. Pass little Meadow Homes Park, cross 18th Street and then pass over a bridge over the creek. The trail bears left here at the entrance to Island Park Condos. Follow the creek and its friendly mallards up to an oak grove and cross Devine Road to a parking area and some relatively new restrooms (Open April 1st to October 31st). There’s a map of the greenway here.

3. Devine Road to Meadowbrook Marsh


The trail continues on a newer paved tread here with wetlands to your left and copses of cottonwoods, willow, and red osier dogwood. At a junction, go left and cross the creek on the West Pond Loop. Tame mallards may approach to be fed. The trail veers right at a parking area off 65th Avenue and skirts the ponds and heads up to Andresen Road. Go left to cross Andresen at 18th Street, head right and resume the trail on the East Ponds Loop. Back at the main trail, go left and then left again at a junction under power lines to head along the creek valley. Bear right at the next junction on a spur to a willow-lined pond and a bench. Head back to the main trail and pass under 87th Avenue and then skirt a thicket of ash, young cottonwoods, alder and willow. At a junction, go left (The trail ends at 92nd Avenue if you go straight; this spur also gives access to the Meadowbrook Marsh Trailhead on 19th Circle) and pass Meadowbrook Marsh with a small park on the right shaded by oaks. See plantings of spiraea, willow, wild rose and red osier dogwood before you hit Burton Road and the turnaround point.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Parks open 7 a.m. to dusk
  • Restrooms open April 1st to October 31st
  • Dogs on leash

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine edited by Michael C. Houck & M.J. Cody
  • Nature Walks In and Around Portland by Karen & Terry Whitehill
  • Walk There! 50 Treks In and Around Portland and Vancouver edited by Laura O. Foster (Stewart Glen section)

More Links

Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.