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Happy Valley Park Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Boardwalk in Happy Valley Wetland Park (bobcat)
Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana) and honey bee, Happy Valley Wetland Park (bobcat)
Wetland pond, Happy Valley Wetland Park (bobcat)
Meadow checker mallow (Sidalcea campestris), Happy Valley Wetland Park (bobcat)
The loop around Happy Valley Park and the extension to Scouters Ridge (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Happy Valley Park TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Scouters Ridge
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Reverse lollipop
  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 290 feet
  • High Point: 720 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

This walk takes you along a boardwalk through thicketed wetlands and then on chip trails up the slopes of Scouters Mountain. There is no connection to the Metro property there (See the Scouters Mountain Loop Hike), but you can combine the two hikes with a short drive. Bring binoculars on this hike: there are waterfowl in the wetlands and foraging perching birds flitting through the thickets along the way.

Scouters Mountain forms a backdrop behind the playing fields here. Walk towards the restrooms and take the gravel track or the paved path heading south. These paths border the playing fields. You’ll reach a boardwalk leading left into the Happy Valley Wetland on Mount Scott Creek.

Take the boardwalk, which can be very slippery when wet, and enter a dense thicket of hawthorn, Oregon ash, willow, spiraea, and red alder. Veer left to a viewing platform at a fenced cattail swale where red-winged blackbirds warble in the spring and summer; then continue east to the North Observation Deck. There is usually a cluster of tame mallards here that will come scudding for handouts. Continue on the boardwalk through thickets of Nootka rose to a junction. Go left to reach a more open space at a cattail wetland and a fenced pasture where you'll see more red-winged blackbirds. The trail reaches 145th Avenue and the Happy Valley Wetland Trailhead. This wetland is the source of Mount Scott Creek.

Continue up 145th on the sidewalk, and cross it. Past Denali Drive, find a chip trail that leads along a wetland. Young alders shade the pathway, and chickadees and robins flit among the shrubs. Pass a play structure, and cross Denali to head up Lopez Avenue. Keep straight as you cross Spyglass Drive, and continue up an asphalt trail that veers right behind a fence. Now you’re on a narrow foot trail that switchbacks gently up in a native forest of Douglas-fir, big-leaf maple and sword fern. Look to your right as you ascend, and you’ll see the boundary markers for Metro’s Scouters Mountain Park (See the Scouters Mountain Loop Hike). The trail drops into a creek valley and heads up past clumps of hazel to exit at Nicholas Drive. Cross this street – you can follow the trail a little farther here: a new development on Scouters Ridge is under construction, and the trail may continue north along the ridge to Mitchell Creek in time.

Return to the Happy Valley Wetland Trailhead and then back to the first junction on the boardwalk. Make a left here and reach the South Observation Deck. No doubt you’ll be pestered by the mallards again. Look for sunning turtles on a warm day; in the spring, you may be greeted by the booming serenade of the resident bullfrogs. Go right at the next junction (The trail continues straight to the grounds of the Happy Valley Middle and Elementary Schools – there are paths here you can use as well if you wish). Continue south of Mount Scott Creek, and reach a junction with a paved trail. Go right, and come to the fenced enclosures at an off-leash area. Go left between enclosures, and then swing right over a bridge on Mount Scott Creek. From here, make your way back up through the developed section of Happy Valley Park to your vehicle.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Respect private property

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

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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.