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La Center Bottoms Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

A typical view on the La Center Bottoms Trail (Steve Hart)
Carved eagle, Sternwheeler Park, La Center (bobcat)
Brezee Creek, La Center Bottoms (bobcat)
Waterfowl in the La Center Bottoms (Steve Hart)
Trails at La Center Bottoms (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps

Contents

Hike Description

The East Fork of the Lewis River flows past the town of La Center. Originally a natural wetland, the river lowlands were diked in the early years on the 20th century to create cropland. Today a portion of this land has been opened to the public and a trail has been built on top of the old dike. Part of the dike has failed and the winter water has returned, recreating a habitat for waterfowl.

Head down into Sternwheeler Park and make a left to traverse above a display of Indian carvings, a sheltered picnic area, and some restrooms. At a junction after crossing a small gulley, there’s a sign showing the history of sternwheelers on the river. Keep descending past carvings of a bald eagle and salmon. There’s a new gazebo on this hillside, too. Walk under an avenue of stately oaks and reach a paved trail. Here, go left at a wetland information sign and head into a reed canary-grass wetland dominated by ash trees. Cross Brezee Creek on a wide footbridge and reach a junction with a graveled track. You can go left here and head up the hill. There are views to the waterfowl dotting the large pond in the wetlands. An unofficial trail leads off to the right on an ivy-tangled slope. The main track leads up the hill to the school.

Head back to the "T" trail junction. Keep straight here and pause at the first bird viewing blind. This blind overlooks open water that's filled with birds during the winter. Look for Canada geese here, many varieties of ducks and the endangered Trumpeter Swan.

The path continues across a second metal bridge, this one spanning a gap where the old dike failed many years ago. The level path comes to a second blind and then continues to a second low spot in the dike. The gravel portion of the trail ends here, but hikers can usually continue beyond this low spot. From here, the trail is mowed grass and quite a bit more secluded. The trail comes right to the river's edge and follows it closely to the end of the trail. Signs and fences here clearly mark the end of the open parklands in the beginning of private property. Return the way you came.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Dogs permitted but must be 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 and M.J. Cody

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.