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Camassia Natural Area Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Flower meadows in the Camassia Natural Area (Steve Hart)
Northwestern saxifrage, rosy plectritis, and camas buds, Camassia (bobcat)
Oregon Oak (Steve Hart)
Large-flowered blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora) (bobcat)
Poison Oak

Contents

Hike Description

The Camassia Natural Area was purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1962. It has been managed ever since as a natural preserve, open to the public, but with an emphasis in creating good habitat. English Ivy has been cleared and White Rock Larkspur has been planted.

From the trailhead, hike a few feet to a trail junction. Pick up a guide brochure from the supply there. Turn left and begin the loop. You'll walk the first of many moist areas on a boardwalk. Soon you'll come to a trail junction with a trail that leads uphill to Windsor Terrace. Follow the sign to the right, marked "Loop". Next, you'll come to the first meadow. This meadow is filled with Common Camas early in the year, along with Rosy Plectritis and Oregon Saxifrage. A few islands of poison oak dot the scene, but they're all a long ways from the boardwalks.

Just past the far end of the first meadow, there's another trail junction. This trail heads north to West Linn High School. The average hiker probably doesn't need to go all the way to the school, but a short side trip is worthwhile to a marshy area. This tiny wetland is one the best areas in the northwest to see Great Camas. Great Camas is a larger, less common sibling of Common Camas, that prefers boggy soils. After you check out the bog, head back up to the main trail and turn left to continue the loop.

The next meadow is similar to the first, but it's rockier. You'll see more Common Camas and another area of Great Camas, right next to a small boardwalk. There's a small patch of Madrona near the trail. Marker number "7" marks a view of a large cell tower that contains an Osprey nest. You'll see lot of Large Flowered Blue Eyed Mary and Western Buttercups in this area, along with the ubiquitous Common Camas. . A spur right leads to a steep scramble down a basalt rim into a grassy amphitheater. Leave the Conservancy area and enter a grove of cottonwoods and then cross a log bridge over a reed canary-grass swamp. Reach a gravel track and go right. This leads in a few yards to a pond and three-way fork. Take the left tread up through Scots broom to a bluff that has recently been burned. The madrones are blooming and you can look down on West Linn High School and across to Oregon City. Head back and take the middle fork. This leads around the foot of the bluff with dense plantings of honesty and to the high school. Finally, take the right fork past a sign saying it is a riparian area. Reach a running stream choked by Himalayan blackberry and head back to Camassia.

Follow the main trail back to the trail junction near the trailhead. Come back soon.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Dogs are not allowed in the natural area
  • Do NOT pick any flowers!
  • Stay on the trails!

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine edited by Michael C. Houck and M.J. Cody
  • Peaceful Places: Portland by Paul Gerald

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.