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Jackson Bottom Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Kingfisher Marsh at Jackson Bottom (bobcat)
Northern pintails (Anas acuta), Jackson Bottom (bobcat)
Rose hips in the winter, Jackson Bottom (bobcat)
Nutria (Myocastor coypus) grazing in the frost, Jackson Bottom (bobcat)
Spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus), Jackson Bottom (bobcat)
The loop described at Jackson Bottom (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps



The Tualatin River forms the southern border of this suburban wildlife refuge managed by Hillsboro Parks and Recreation. The Wetlands Education Center has a store, some excellent exhibits (including a 1,600-pound bald eagle nest!), and classroom space. Trails lead around the the small upland area near the Center and Hillsboro Clean Water Services complex. A more extensive complex of trails investigates the riparian woodland along the river and the diked floodplain east of the center. Birdwatching is excellent here any time of year: in winter, look for buffleheads, pintails, gadwalls, blue-winged teals, redheads, ruddy ducks, shovelers, hooded mergansers, tundra swans, and dusky Canada geese as well as bald eagles and other raptors. Fall and spring see the passerine migrants, especially warblers and finches. Wood ducks, Canada geese, and mallards are common in the summer, when blackbirds, cowbirds, and swallows also take up residence. Look for non-native South American nutria and native muskrats. Beaver and mink are also present although not commonly seen. Note that at times of high water some of these lower trails may be inaccessible.

From the Center, head down the wooden staircase at the south end of the parking lot on the Riparian Forest Trail. This wood chip trail leads along above the Tualatin River. Interpretive signs explain the natural history of the place. This is an Oregon ash woodland with hawthorn, hazel, ninebark and big-leaf maple. There are tables along the way for outdoor exhibits. Soon, the trail heads away from the river. A spur right leads to a viewing platform. Then the trail runs parallel to the river again, separated from the water by a thicket. Enter Vic’s Grove. This in and out trail leads to a lookout spot above a bend in the river. Returning, exit Vic’s Grove and bear right along a row of wild roses to the Kingfisher Marsh Viewing Shelter on a little rise above the Kingfisher Marsh.

From here, pick up the Oregon Ash Trail, which goes east from the shelter on a footbridge over a ditch. After the bridge, go right on a grassy track through canary grass, passing a viewing blind to enter an Armenian blackberry thicket in an ash swale by the Tualatin River. The trail turns in to the Pintail Pond Viewing Shelter. In winter, this pond is alive with rafts of shovelers, along with geese, buffleheads, redheads and ruddy ducks. Leaving the Ash Trail, head up the dike along Pintail Pond for more views of birds. At the junction at the end of the pond, go right on the road track that is the Blue Heron Trail.

Pass the junction on the right with the Oregon Ash Trail, where a picnic area sits under tall oaks. The grassy track crosses a ditch and bears left at another junction. Entering an oak woodland, a spur left leads to the Dogwood Viewing Area over the shallow Experimental Wetlands. Here vast hordes of pintails reign in mid-winter. Keep left at a road junction and pass under oaks and ash to the Oak Viewing Area at the end of the trail. Returning back along the Blue Heron Trail, just past the junction with the Oregon Ash Trail, a spur leads right through reed canary-grass to the Gene Pool where, presumably, you can sift through the primordial muck for archaic strands of DNA. The trail continues as a muddy road below the Pintail Pond until it reaches a junction.

Bear right here on the Kingfisher Marsh Loop, passing the viewing blind over the Gene Pool. At a junction, go left (straight is to the restricted area of the Bobcat Marsh) along a road that is often flooded. If there’s too much water, take a track leading up to the Clean Water Services buildings and head past them back to the Center’s parking area.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Lower trails can be inaccessible at times of high water (especially in the spring)
  • Trails open dawn to dusk; Wetlands Education Center open Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
  • Restrooms, picnic tables and viewing blinds
  • Dogs not permitted
  • Bicycles not permitted


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Exploring the Tualatin River Basin by Tualatin Riverkeepers
  • Oregon Nature Weekends by Jim Yuskavitch
  • Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine edited by Michael C. Houck and M.J. Cody
  • Nature Walks In and Around Portland by Karen & Terry Whitehill

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.