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Chicken Creek Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The photo blind, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (bobcat)
Pacific willow (Salix lasiandra), Chicken Creek Loop (bobcat)
Road track through grand fir grove, Chicken Creek Loop (bobcat)
Red-winged blackbird, Chicken Creek Loop (bobcat)
Common camas (Camassia quamash), Chicken Creek Loop (bobcat)
Chicken Creek Loop shown in red (bobcat)
Poison Oak



This loop allows a more extensive tour of the Atfalat'i Unit of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, but it is open from late spring through the summer only. The walking is along service roads, but gives access to excellent birdwatching opportunities in the thickets along Chicken Creek and the ditch that leads back towards the refuge Wildlife Center. Brochures and bird check lists are usually available at the large map kiosk for the Atfalat'i Unit. See the Tualatin Refuge Nature Trail Hike for hiking between October 1st and April 30th.

Take the gravel service road down the hill from the parking lot past the outside restroom. There’s a cottonwood-rimmed pond on the right, while large oaks shade the roadway. You can see the nature trail to the right. The road curves to the left past a wooded copse, and then curves to the right following the shores of the large marsh. In late spring, killdeers may try to distract walkers away from their nests on the ground. The nature trail parallels the road on the right. On your left is a young plantation of ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir and maple. You can go over to a large viewing platform over the Tualatin River on the right. Fawn lilies and poison oak clothe the steep banks. You'll note a large, drying pond on the left, and then the road swings to the left with a wall of native woodland on the right. Douglas-fir, oaks and maples dominate here. The road bends to the right and at a junction, keep right (Going left cuts across the unit for a shorter loop). Pass the photo blind, and cross the blind trail (reservations only). You will see plantings of pine, maple and grand fir in this area, with the thickly wooded area to the right. Pass the large wetland observation deck under its spectacular oaks to your left and cross its access trail.

From here, head straight past seasonal marshes into a grove of mature grand fir. There are lots of plantings protected by mouse netting. The river is a few yards to the right behind a thicket of vegetation. The track bends left at a right angle and follows the course of Chicken Creek, rechanneled into a shrub-shaded ditch. Warblers are particularly active here in late spring. The grassy road track soon reaches another corner. Straight ahead is a vast and opulent country estate, while to the right is the Roy Rogers Road access point for the public.

Go left as the road follows the course of a ditch shaded by alders. Bird life is teeming here: in late spring, blackbirds, swallows, yellowthroats, yellow-rumped warblers and sparrows flit through the greenery. Lupine blooms along the center of the road. Walk between two expanses of water before the road rises and loops to the left. A trail leads off under large oaks and switchbacks up past the Centennial Viewpoint to the parking area and visitor center.

  • The refuge gates are open from dawn to dusk.
  • The Wildlife Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 - 4:00.
  • There are restrooms, picnic tables, a gift shop, and brochures available.
  • The Chicken Creek Loop is open May 1st through September 30th; the Nature Trail is open all year
  • The observation blind is free, but you need to make a reservation to use it: Call 503 625-5944.
  • A birding festival is held at the Atfalat'i Unit on several days around the middle of May

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • No pets allowed
  • Open May 1st through September 30th


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Best Hikes Near Portland by Fred Barstad
  • 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.