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Elk Rock Island

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View across the Willamette to Elk Rock Island from Bishop's Close (bobcat)


Most of the year, Elk Rock Island is not an island at all since it is connected to the mainland by a rocky channel that can be stepped across except at times of high water. In geological terms, this is the oldest surface rock in the Portland area, the island being the remnants of a 40 million year-old undersea volcano. Native oaks and madrones crown a forested remnant donated to the City of Portland by businessman Peter Kerr in 1940, and officially known as Peter Kerr Park. Before Kerr's donation, the island had been a riverside playground with a dance hall and other attractions, one perhaps being a brothel. The dance hall burned down in a great conflagration in 1916. Now you can walk through native woodland and see vernal pools rimmed by wildflowers with views west to Elk Rock itself, once a Native American hunting site where elk were herded over the cliff to their deaths as in a buffalo jump.

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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.

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