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Marshall Park Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The stone bridge over Tryon Creek, Marshall Park (Martell)
The new play area in Marshall Park (bobcat)
Jewel weed (Impatiens capensis), along Tryon Creek below Marshall Park (bobcat)
The Marshall Cascades are just upstream from the picnic area (Martell)
The two loops in Marshall Park (trails in yellow, road walk in red) (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: MapBuilder Topo/Caltopo

Contents

Hike Description

Marshall Park was once the site of a quarry, but the land was restored by Frederick and Addie Marshall as a natural area and then donated to the City of Portland in 1951. The 26-acre park encloses an upper section of the Tryon Creek drainage, and it's possible to hike down the watercourse into the Tryon Creek State Natural Area and eventually hook up with the main trail system there. A short 0.8 mile loop in the northern section of the park is best for families with young children. This loop includes a new playground, installed in 2015, a stone bridge over Tryon Creek, a newer 2010 bridge, and views of the Marshall Cascades, a tumbling falls best seen in the wet season. A southern lollipop loop of 2.3 miles is for the more adventurous, and you'll need proper hiking boots in the winter and spring. You'll cross Maplecrest Drive and hike into an undeveloped section of the Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Loop back along Arnold Street and 11th Drive. Trails here can get extremely muddy in winter and spring, and you may have to ford Tryon Creek. The entire area is within a shady forested canyon with small creeks never far away. Walking directions are given from the trailhead on 12th Drive. Those taking public transport should access the trail system from the trailhead on 18th Place.

From 12th Drive, find the trail leading down under Douglas-firs and cedars towards the new play area. Make a left between the play structures and a picnic area to cross Tryon Creek on a small stone bridge. Make a right at a junction, and switchback up four times along a split-rail fence. The trail continues along the steep bluff above Tryon Creek next to a cyclone fence. Stay right at the first junction; at another junction, bear right, and switchback down three times to cross Tryon Creek on a wide wooden footbridge installed in 2010. Make a left after crossing. To your left are the Marshall Cascades, where Tryon Creek splashes attractively down a series of rock steps. The trail heads right up a set of steps and then switchbacks to traverse up on an old road bed. At a four-way junction, you can head out to the left to the trailhead on 18th Place, or go down to the right of a set of concrete bollards. The path descends to the closed Owl Creek Bridge, which is due for replacement in 2019. Cross the creek to the left of the bridge (The new trail realignment will also cross the creek upstream from the current bridge), and keep left at a junction. Hike up, and find yourself next to a gravel section of 13th Drive. Stay right, and drop to switchback twice to descend to the play area.

For the longer foray down Tryon Creek, cross over the stone bridge, and keep left in leafy woods of big-leaf maple, Douglas-fir, red-cedar, and western hemlock. Stay right at the next junction, and cross a small gully to reach SW Maplecrest Drive. The trail continues across Maplecrest along the slope above Tryon Creek. In late March and early April, this area is filled with blooming trillium. At a junction - you'll be returning here - stay left and drop through a grove of cedars. Next is a small creek crossing which essentially becomes an unavoidable quagmire of sucking mud in the winter. At some point, you'll enter a sliver of public land known as the 'Wilson Property'. Ivy proliferates here, and tall grand firs tower overhead. At another gully, there's a single plank bridge. Stay left at a junction, and descend steeply to reach the Tryon Creek Crossing at a large cottonwood.

You can cross the creek on rocks in the summer; when the water is higher you may have to ford or use a slippery log. The trail continues downstream on the opposite bank: You're now in the Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Pass under vine maples and alders below a slope of mixed forest. Cottonwoods and cedars shade the creek, and jewel weed and horsetail crowd the trail in summer. The tread is muddy when it's wet. Cross a log over a ditch below busy Boones Ferry Road. Keep right to scramble steeply up to quieter Arnold Street. If you wish to access the Tryon Creek State Natural Area's trail system, walk 200 yards up Boones Ferry to the North Creek Trailhead. The road is busy even on weekends, so be careful when you cross.

Otherwise, there's a 0.6 mile road walk to make a loop back into Marshall Park. Hike up Arnold Street, and go right at the junction with SW 11th Drive. This residential road rises to its junction with Kari Lane at a high point. Stay on 11th Drive to descend and then rise to the driveway for the last house. Where the road makes a sharp left, keep straight on a trail that enters the forest (This is the 'Wilson Property'). Cross a footbridge, and look up to see a rather large treehouse connected to its main house with a suspension walkway. Keep right at a junction to descend into Marshall Park through ivy and sword fern to a previously visited junction. Make a left here to recross SW Maplecrest Drive and continue back to the trailhead.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Open 5:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • Dogs on leash
  • Playground, picnic tables, port-a-potty

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Portland Hill Walks by Laura O. Foster
  • Nature Walks In and Around Portland by Karen & Tony Whitehill

Links


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.