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Keizer Rapids Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Pond on the Beardsley Bar, Keizer Rapids Park (bobcat)
Trail through the woods, Keizer Rapids Park (bobcat)
On the Beardsley Bar, Keizer Rapids Park (bobcat)
Big cottonwood, Keizer Rapids Park (bobcat)
The loop around Keizer Rapids Park (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Chemawa Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Walsh's Landing Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 55 feet
  • High Point: 140 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: On sunny weekends
Poison Oak



In 1843, Thomas Dove Keizur and members of his family departed for Oregon as part of the Jesse Applegate wagon party. The Keizurs forged on ahead and looked to stake claims on the Willamette upon their arrival. The small rapids here marked a shallow spot in the river, and Thomas Keizur was able to haul his wagons across to the east bank. However, not finding suitable land, he returned to the west bank and staked a claim, as did his son, John B. Keizur. The plots that the Keizurs and others staked out were measured as part of the first cadastral survey in the entire Oregon Territory. The land remained underused, however, due to the frequent flooding of the river, and it wasn’t until much later that the actual town of Keizer (The family spelled its name many different ways) was established.

The park here includes land leased from the state as well as property purchased from local families. It is split into a northern, forested section and a more developed area with volleyball courts, picnic tables, an off-leash dog park, an amphitheater, and a playground. The hike as described begins in the woods, which also serve as a venue for a disc golf course.

Take the trail behind the sign at the parking pullout. The network of trails here serves the disc golf course, but keep to the right close to the park boundary. You may notice a couple of sternwheeler paddles sitting on the adjacent private property. These once belonged to the the sternwheeler Jean, which plied the Willamette from the mid-1930s to the mid-50s and now (2017) lies moored across from Sauvie Island in Burlington (See the Wapato Greenway Loop Hike). The Jean languished as a potential attraction in Lewiston, Idaho, for a while and was then sold and then resold. The paddles may become part of a play structure/exhibit in Keizer Rapids Park. Keep right where the trail splits and pass basket #10 to reach the tee pad for hole #11. Go right from this tee, and take a set of steps down to the grassy open expanse of the Beardsley Bar. Pass a pond on your left and another to the right. Keep straight on a rough cobbled track and note the private property signs on your right. Follow the track as it bends to the right and reach the shore of the Willamette. You can see the Keizer Rapids just down the river above Darrow Rock on the west bank.

At times of very high water, the bar will be completely flooded: you can see the huge snags stranded 100 yards from the river bank and the debris tangled in the tops of the willows. At very low water, it’s possible to walk upstream along the shore; otherwise, take the path behind the willow/blackberry thicket that backs the shoreline. At a definite trail, take a left and reach a four-way junction below a forested bluff. Go right here above a backwater, and stay right to hike below tall cottonwoods to reach a boat-in campsite. Walk up the bluff to a paved trail, where you go right (There’s a port-a-potty and picnic table to the left). The paved trail weaves through a Douglas-fir/grand fir woodland to reach the parking area and boat ramp at the Walsh’s Landing Trailhead.

There are several interpretive signs in the area that inform on the human and natural history of the place. Walk past the restrooms and begin a paved trail that loops around a field. You’ll pass a sign that details the settlement of the Keizur family here. The path parallels a suburban neighborhood and then turns past a filbert orchard to cross the entrance road to the park. Take a trail to the left side of a wooden fence to descend into native forest. The park’s amphitheater is to your right. Go right at a fork, passing some large cottonwoods as you stroll through a carpet of waterleaf. The trail proceeds close to a fence line and approaches the gated trailhead for the disc golf course. Reach the first tee pad and go right across an open area as you angle away from the river. You’ll pass the #2 basket and come to another parking pullout. Just before this, go left on a forest floor carpeted with sedge and reach your vehicle.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms, information kiosk, interpetive signs, picnic tables, playground
  • Open sunrise to sunset
  • Respect all private property signs


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Wild in the Willamette edited by Lorraine Anderson with Abby Phillips Metzger
  • The Willamette River Field Guide by Travis Williams

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.