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Browns ferry hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The pond, Browns Ferry Park (bobcat)
Shaded walkway, Browns Ferry Park (bobcat)
Green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis) pair, Browns Ferry Pond (bobcat)
Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), Browns Ferry Park (bobcat)
Elevated boardwalk next to the Tualatin River, Browns Ferry Park (bobcat)
The walk described traced in red (bobcat)
  • Start point: Nyberg Lane TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Browns Ferry Pond
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Small loops
  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 25 feet
  • High Point: 120 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



Browns Ferry Park in Tualatin is on 28.3 acres of land acquired by Zenas Brown in 1850 under the Donation Land Act. Brown operated Tualatin’s first ferry upstream from here between 1850 and 1856. An old barn reminds visitors that this suburban area was once farmland. The centerpiece of the park is the Browns Ferry Pond, which is a hive of activity for various species of birds from fall through spring. The Tualatin River Greenway has short sections that stretch east and west from the park: eventually, the section running west will connect all the way through to Tigard. A private canoe/kayak rental service is also based in the park from Memorial Day to mid-September. An outdoor art camp here in the summer makes that season the park's busiest. You can connect from the west end of Browns Ferry Park to the Tualatin River Greenway Loop Hike by bypassing an unfinished section of the Tualatin River Greenway Trail.

Head east from the parking area over a footbridge on ash and willow shaded Nyberg Creek into a large grassy area Turn left on a trail that heads toward the river. Walk toward the confluence of the creek and the river. An interpretive post here also indicates the high water mark of the 1996 floods. A wide trail leads east on the south side of the line of Douglas-fir, big-leaf maple and grand fir that line the river, but pick up the narrow footpath that allows you to look down on the river and the homes across, most with their little boat/canoe landing. Nest boxes on the trees are for wood ducks. The Browns Ferry Pond is to the right. Cross the outlet creek for the pond on a footbridge and enter a woodland dominated by maple and Douglas-fir with Indian plum, salal, Oregon grape, ivy, and sword fern. A boardwalk leads left over a swampy area, but keep left over another bridge. The trail here becomes graveled and then veers to the right. A muddy track continues straight along the river bank to the community center, but instead go right to the sidewalk along Nyberg Lane and then head left (east) to the Browns Ferry Community Center, with its duck weed-surfaced pond and obligatory pair of mallards. There’s a roofed pavilion overlooking the Tualatin here.

A paved trail crosses a wide footbridge and leads east into the 8.5 acre addition to the park. Some grand fir and cedar mingle among the Douglas-firs on the slope to the right. Cottonwoods, red alders, English laurel, Pacific ninebark and maples also shade the trail. There are many plantings, especially of red osier dogwood, also. A road cutting leads down to the river with a fence built here to prevent boat launches. There’s a grassy field to the left with a footpath along the river bank. Come to a road leading up to the small Orchard Hills Pump Station and then turn around.

Head back, but from the Community Center, keep to the Nyberg Lane sidewalk and spend time observing birds on the pond. Red-winged blackbirds are especially active here in the spring. You might also see mallards, green-winged teals, shovelers, ring-necked ducks, Canada geese, and hooded mergansers. At the southwest end of the pond is a blind that now looks through the grown-up rose bushes, and a sign saying the pond was probably built by beavers.

Walk back towards the river, passing the restrooms, a shed-like building (flexible-use building) and an old barn with a wagon axle by an interpretive sign. A gangway leads down to a floating canoe dock. You can take a wide raised wooden walkway leading west above the river. As you scan the Tualatin for wildlife, pass apartments or condos to your left, and reach the site of an old RV park, soon to be developed into an apartment complex. The developer has agreed to extend the trail on the waterfront here to connect with the rest of the Tualatin River Greenway. For now, however, go left and loop back to Nyberg Lane behind the condos; then go left again to the parking area (or simply return along the wooden walkway).

If you wish to connect with the Tualatin River Greenway Loop Hike, go right when you reach Nyberg Lane and continue on Nyberg Street until you come to the new Nyberg Woods Shopping Center. Walk down the east side of the complex to find the spur trail leading down to a boardwalk that reconnects with the Greenway Trail.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Bring binoculars for birdwatching


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Exploring the Tualatin River Basin by Tualatin Riverkeepers

More Links

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.