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Bryant Woods-Canal Acres Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Oswego Canal in Bryant Woods (bobcat)
Shining Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), Bryant Woods Nature Park (bobcat)
Oswego Canal headgate at the Tualatin River (bobcat)
Sessile trillium (Trillium parviflorum), Canal Acres Natural Area (bobcat)
Trails around Bryant Woods and Canal Acres Natural Area (bobcat)
  • Start point: Bryant Woods TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Oswego Canal Headgate
  • Hike Type: Double Loop
  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 40 feet
  • High Point: 120 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



Two Lake Oswego parks, Bryant Woods Nature Park and Canal Acres Natural Area, offer trails through forest, thickets, and meadow in the vicinity of the old Oswego Canal (not to be confused with the much larger waterway in New York). The latter was constructed between 1871 and 1873 using Chinese labor, and was meant as a passage for steamboats traveling between the Tualatin River, Oswego Lake, and the Willamette. The headgate at the Tualatin now serves to regulate water levels in the lake. Ironically, the route of the canal follows the former channel of the Tualatin River which became dammed by sediment during the Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age. This created Oswego Lake, and forced the Tualatin into a new channel on its course to meet the Willamette. While some trails in Bryant Woods can be under water at times, this is an excellent birdwatching spot, and there is an interesting array of spring wildflowers.

Canal Road extends from the parking area. Walk towards a shelter, but before reaching it, go left on a boardwalk and into a thicket of cottonwoods, hawthorn, big-leaf maple, salal, hazel, sword fern, Douglas-fir, and Indian plum. At a junction, go left on a rocky tread. The trail winds right to another junction and you go left across a creek that issues from nearby Indian Springs on a shaky, makeshift log crossing. The trail heads up a slope and then drops. Pass a spur and at a junction, go straight on a wide trail into Douglas-fir woods. You can see the grassy expanse in the center of the park on the right. Small clumps of camas bloom here in mid-spring. At a junction, head up to the left and then to the right along the rim of the park, with homes to the left. The trail drops down the slope. The main trail goes right and then left. Enter a clearing rimmed by rose bushes and keep left in the meadow. Finally, reach Canal Road and go straight. There’s a network of use trails in the narrow strip between the road and the abandoned canal. Douglas-firs shade this strip and one has fallen to bridge the canal. Soon, get an open view of the meadow to the right, with several oak trees shading its rim. A spur left leads down past a gaging station to the edge of the canal. To the right, the creek from Indian Springs flows through a culvert under the road to the canal.

Walk past the shelter, pass through the parking area, cross Childs Road and continue straight on Canal Road into Canal Acres Natural Area. One hundred yards down the road, a trail leads into the woods on the right between two posts. These are Douglas-fir woods with substantial ivy drapings. Indian plum is a principal understory shrub and two species of trillium bloom here in the spring. Take a spur to the right which leads to an ash/bulrush swale, soggy in the wet season. The main trail continues to drop to an ash, cottonwood, and bulrush bottomland and then heads up between two properties to West Road. You can go left here on West Road through a new development. West Road becomes gravel and reaches Canal Road. Turn right on Canal, pass around a gate and head straight past the canal headgate, rebuilt since the 1996 floods, to get a view of the Tualatin River. Head back along Canal Road and cross Childs Road to reach the Bryant Woods Trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Park hours 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine edited by Michael C. Houck and M.J. Cody
  • 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.