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Fields Bridge Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Tualatin river at Fields Bridge Park (bobcat)
Reading an interpretive sign at Fields Bridge Park (bobcat)
Glacial erratics, Fields Bridge Park (bobcat)
Under the ash trees, Tualatin River Open Space (bobcat)
Trails near the Fields Bridge over the Tualatin River (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Fields Bridge TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Tualatin Open Space East End
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 195 feet
  • High Point: 200 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

Some time during the last Ice Age, a 15 1/2 ton iron/nickel meteorite found itself embedded in a thick ice sheet, somewhere in what is now southern British Columbia or far northern Idaho/Montana. Several thousand years later, a cycle of massive floods, known as the Missoula or Bretz Floods (after the geologist J. Harlen Bretz) hurtled at 60 mph down the course of the Columbia River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. These floods, perhaps up to 100 of them between 15,000 - 18,000 years ago, came as huge ice dams gave way at the end of the Ice Age and massive amounts of meltwater from the continental ice sheet were released. The floods deposited sediments all along their course, but also transported large icebergs, some of them rafting massive boulders, among them what is now known as the Willamette Meteorite. On a side eddy up the Tualatin River, the meteorites frigid caddy came to rest on a West Linn hillside. The famous rock, which is the largest North American meteorite, was venerated by the Clackamas Indians, who recognized its singularity, but only became known to settlers in 1902. It now resides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The walk described here takes you to a series of interpretive signs about the meteorite and continues through two West Linn parks, Fields Bridge and the Tualatin River Open Space, to offer views of the Tualatin River.

The Fields Bridge Park interpretive site is part of the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, designated as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.

Walk down the paved trail with the Tualatin River flowing to your left. Come to a trail junction at a backwater, and go left under Douglas-firs and alders. Keep left at the next junction, passing picnic tables and benches and getting views down the final stretch of the Tualatin before it meets the Willamette. At a stone wall, read the interpretive sings about the Willamette Meteorite's rafting journey with the Ice Age floods. Go right at the next junction to stop under leafy bowers and read about the meteorite's Native American connections and its transportation to New York. Walk back now towards the river and go right to find a third set of interpretive panels describing the meteorite's plunge from space and the origins of the floods that carried it to a slope near here. There's a fishing platform with a picnic table to your left as you walk out towards the children's play area and, to your right, find three glacial erratics that were discovered in the vicinity. Note how different they are from the dark native basalts. The main parking area for Fields Bridge Park is beyond these rocks, next to the baseball diamond.

Now continue around the play area. Take a gravel path between the Tualatin and the community garden. Pass a send and the site of a recently demolished farmhouse. After walking by another section of the community garden, walk under the road bridge over the Tualatin to Dollar Street. Walk up past the former River House Restaurant and nursery. Turn left onto Brandon Place and, at the end of the Douglas-fir grove on the nursery property, a paved access lane leads down past a gate and a gaging station in the Tualatin River Open Space. Here, pick up a gravel trail leading right along the river. The area is grassy, with big-leaf maples, hazel, Oregon ash and red osier dogwood overhanging the path. Modern homes rise to your right. Reach the end of this path on the river.

You can walk back the way you came, or for a little loop in suburbia, head steeply up along a wooden fence, with blackberry thickets on your left. Reach River Heights Circle and go right. Stroll down the sidewalk, join Dollar Street, and go right to stroll back to Fields Bridge Park the way you came.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash

Maps

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Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • PDXccentric by Scott Cook & Aimee Wade

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Page 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.